|Made it to the stesh in time for the 6:30 bus. That's my homestead, and another beautiful sunrise.|
|Addy and Ryan's Great Pumpkin|
|Group 9 merriment|
|Philile teaching me to grind nuts properly (my form is terrible, I have learned since)|
I have been warned about winter coming for months. After spending last winter in the coldest region of the country for training, I was anticipating the same 40-degree days in uninsulated buildings and bone-chilling nights. After 9 months of summer, this sounded great. Hell, I remember watching Titanic and even a swim in the fatally cold Atlantic sounded great. But now its July and technically the middle of winter, but the only discernable difference between summer and winter in Lubombo is the sharp decrease in heat-induced mania and the boundless energy a non-dehydrated person feels. I love winter! It can be chilly, the high veld sees temperatures in the 40's at night sometimes, but generally its gorgeous, breezy and in the 70's. The tricky thing is the days are still hot and the sun still burns. This makes dressing extremely difficult. In late June, the new batch of volunteers arrived and are training in an area of the country known to have moderate to warm temperatures. Thus, by the time I leave my house, 6:15 AM in the dark I am bundled up in long johns and boots, only to be roasting by the time I reach my destination at 11. I would say I have developed pretty epic layering and backpack-packing skills though, while completely disregarding every fashion norm I have ever heard. Black, navy and brown? Sounds like they'd go great together. Hiking shoes and a dress? Absolutely. Now I can trek some mountains and still look like a lady. Added bonus.
June was a nice breather and reminded me of both the good and bad of Peace Corps. As the One Year mark passed, I had little moments of gratitude for my circumstances and surroundings. I sat outside around the fire with my family singing Zahara (she is a Xhosa singer from South Africa who's first CD is awesome and allllll the rage) under the Milky Way. Another time, a group of school children walking home was picking on one little girl who was crying and walking by herself, I let her wear my wayfarers to hide the tears and she instantly perked up (while I felt slightly guilty for possibly spreading Hipsterism to my community) and then all the children seemed to accept her newfound confidence. Even workwise, people began asking me to come to events and help out with my ambiguous volunteer skills. (My nurse friend: "So you went to college for 4 years to become a volunteer?" Uhhhh....) I taught my first class to the RHM's (rural health motivators) on First Aid and easy remedies for common illnesses (how to treat a cold without Aspirin for a pregnant lady). It felt great for everything to be running smoothly. But the negative aspects also creep up unavoidably.
|An average night in the hut|