Saturday, September 29, 2007

And so now I have a problem ...

On account of the aforementioned gigantic, bird-like insects requiring mass amounts of DOOM to die, I have a great conundrum:
Should I open my door to allow the deathly fumes to leave my room and thus allow more gigantic, bird-like insects to enter? Or risk suffering the same fate that not long ago I put those abominable creatures through?
I pose this question to you, the reader, as a sort of practice in Peace-Corps-South-Africa-Survival-Decision-Making.

A Day in the Life of Lerato's Ears

First off, you may have noticed that I spelled my name differently this time around. I think that this might be the proper way of spelling my name ... but I can't know these things for sure.

Moving on.

My ears hear stories day in and day out, and I feel that it is high time for my ears to tell their story.

I will start from right now and move backwards throughout the week.

Right now, there is music playing from a house nearby. This is not unusual. In fact, it is far more unusual for there not to be any music playing. It is pretty nice, to tell you the truth. I only really hear the bass line and it is nice to have a rhythm to set your daily activities to. Sometimes I even know the song. The other day Beyonce was on the speakers and I couldn't help but feel a little bit like I was at home- of course, that was until a goat ran across my path (a new reality check that I have grown quite fond of.)

Last night there was also music, but it wasn't from the speakers. I believe there is a ZCC (Zionist Christian Church) that meets at neighboring house. Friday nights are a night to stay up all hours of the night and sing the whole way through.
I like my personal Friday night soundtrack. It is a nice break from the usual chorus of dogs quarreling and donkeys dramatically hee-hawing. Though, I must admit, they're charming in their own right.

Wednesday night there was a storm. Oh, by the way, I have a tin roof. If you've never experienced an electrical storm while staying in a room with a tin roof, let me tell you: you're missing out. Boy, is it LOUD. Especially considering the fact that the thunder here is way louder than in America! I swear! I don't know how or even if this is possible, but I'm willing to put 1 rand 50 on it that it is true. And just so you know, that is enough to buy a scrumptious pineapple popsicle. So I hope you can tell that this is no light matter to me.

More on tin roofs: doves may be the symbol of peace, but after living in a room with a tin roof, that idea has just become ridiculous to me. 12+ times a day, I first hear the landing and scratching of the doves' claws on my roof, followed by a bickering of sorts. Why are they fighting on my roof? I have my theories.
I sometimes like to think of my roof as the "flag post" on the playground at lunchtime. One bully dove will say to another, smaller, vulnerable dove, "yo, I'll meet you on Megan's tin roof at every single hour of the day, every single day, especially in the wee-hours of the morn, and YOU'RE GONNA GET IT!" And of course the other dove, not wanting to appear a coward, obliges. And alas there is a dove-beat down. Right there, on top of my tin roof, where every detail is amplified for my listening pleasure.

A new noise has introduced itself to my ears just now. It is the noise of a gigantic, bird-like insect, stuck in between my curtains and the open window. No, no. Make that two gigantic, bird-like insects. And no Dad, there is no Clark here. This ordeal must be solved the old fashioned way- with a big ol' can of "DOOM." And so I will conclude this entry as I have pressing matters to attend to.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

What is going on here

I just went outside to use the pit toilet just now, and as soon as I opened the door, I saw a donkey on my front step. I said to the donkey, "Donkey, what are you doing on my front step?" He did not answer, he only chewed. What he was chewing, I could only imagine (there is not a lot to chew around here.)
We exchanged glances, and he troddled off. That was the end of that adventure.

Still, I needed to go to the toilet.
Let me show you my pit toilet: Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

After using the toilet and then navigating my way back through the herd of cows, I made a brief stop in the main house of my host family to visit for a little bit.

I entered the living room and found a gathering of family/friends. Upon the sight of an apparently terrifying white devil-esque woman (me,) a small girl screamed and started crying. She continued to cry and hide in her mother's breast for the five minutes I was there. I am not going to lie, it made me laugh.
I left the room earlier than I anticipated- I didn't want to stress the poor girl out. Plus, it gave me an excuse to go back to being the recluse I so desperately have to be every once in a while.

I hope that one day, she will come to recognize that I am not actually evil, but instead a lovable, cuddly little creature- much like a fluffy bunny.

Saturday, September 22, 2007


Dumelang! (Greetings, in Setswana.) I'm all up in this piece! (That means "I am here, doing this thing," in kind-of English.)
My computer's hooked up to dial-up now via my cellphone, I have a mini-fridge (OMG!), kitchen area, LIGHT(!!!) and I am just waiting for my bed and wardrobe. I feel like I am at home now! I am not sure if I am living what might be called "Peace Corps Lite," but I have a feeling that I am going to have more than enough other challenges facing me that will make up for my awesome living situation. Heh. :/

I really love my new host family, but I have not spent a whole lot of time with them just yet. I want to establish myself as a bit of a hermit. Okay, that is not intentional, it is just happening this way. I JUST LIKE TO BE ALONE SOMETIMES, OKAY. I haven't gotten to be alone for a day in forever. I love being alone. I just hope that my need to be alone doesn't interfere with my integration into the community.

Oh, by the way ... I am no longer "Tshegofatso" which means "gift" or "grace." I am now "Lorato," which means "love." My principals decided that they wanted to give me a new African name, which is fine. I am hoping that I will lose a little bit of the weight I gained that came along with having the nickname "Fatso." Although, I'm not going to lie, the nickname Fatso is really still very funny to me. Hehe, Fatso.

Friday, September 21, 2007

officially a PCV

so it is official. I swore in yesterday and then drove 8 hours to my permanent site: setlagole. i love it here. I have a really good feeling about my host family and the community. I am entering this in with my new super high tech phone. Best phone i will ever own ... And i had to come to africa to get it. Oh, Africa.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

The Advantage of the Bucket Bath

So. The bucket bath. Let me tell you about it. First, you fill your basin up with about 2 inches of water. You wash your face. Then, with a cup of water set aside to rinse, you stick your head in and wash your hair (this can be very tricky.) If you're lucky, you have a basin big enough to sit in- and by sitting in it, I don't mean fitting your entire body in it, you probably hang your feet outside of it, which is fine because you want to wash those last. Scrub-a-dub-dub away, and then you can towel off and step in and wash your feet. The details change, but that is more or less the typical procedure for the bucket bath.

Let me tell you the coolest part of the bucket bath: it's the filthy water at the end. Yeah, it's kind of gross that you are using progressively nastier water as you go, but at the end ... at the end you see just exactly how much dirt has come off of your body. You sure don't get that satisfaction after you shower! So to all you suckers out there, taking showers: I pity you.

In other news: I got my first "you're getting too fat!" comment from my host mother yesterday. I believe that 90% of the female trainees have received a comment of the sort since arriving- for a while I was feeling a little left out. I mean, I am not so sure that I am really gaining so much weight! But it is definitely plausible ... I do eat about a loaf of bread every day (not an exaggeration. ) And it is not intended as an insult- it is supposed to be a compliment. "Oh you're enjoying Motswedi so much! You're eating so well!" Etc.

People are quick here to comment on weight. It can be pretty uncomfortable for an American broad to hear it, but keeping in mind how differently shape is perceived here can be also pretty relieving- there is a ridiculous pressure to be thin put on us in the States, and that is simply not the case here. Still though- shut up, okay.