Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Network and Pictures, oh My!


And technically it's not summer yet. I set my laundry out this morning, and 15 minutes later, everything was dry. As I write this, a bead of sweat very cliche-ly slips down my face and my feet swell. Chloe, the PCV from Ghanzi, has come for the weekend and we made a sight-seeing journey through and around my village. It's been a few weeks since I last made that walk and everything already looks different. The grass quite literally is greener. It's the last month of spring and the purple flowers have turned into bright green leaves, making the once bare trees look thicker and fuller and about 5 feet taller. We stood at the edge of the village next to the cattle watering hole and I felt like I was in the middle of a Dr Seuss novel. Small rolling "hills," weirdly bent purple trees, bony angular cows, I could almost see the speech bubbles suspended like balloons from their large wet noses in bubbly orange lettering "mooOooOOoooooooooOoo!"

Yesterday, I dumped all responsibility and ventured to town to get a gas refill for my fridge. 4-5 hours later I was still looking for signatures; the system here is treacherous to navigate if you want to procure anything with government funds. I was going to wait until a "better" time if there ever is one, but I was at my wits end when it came to feeling good about myself and decided, if the fridge would give me a fighting chance of enjoying time outside my bed, it was worth the trip (and the shirked responsibilities-- sorry guys-who-I-was-supposed-to-meet!!). Chloe and I rolled the 48kg gas cylinder (48kg of gas, the cylinder itself is heavy as hell and about 5' tall) across my yard and maneuvered it in place, successfully relighted my fridge, and have enjoyed ice cold water and fresh fruits/vegetables all day (Ok that last one was a bit of a lie, we had banana pancakes this morning). Regardless of the extra-carb intake that inevitably accompanies friendly company, it's good to have someone here. Her presence alone motivated me to finally clean my house and organize my kitchen. No lying in bed moaning all day for me today!

Oh and by the way, Chloe is also a shaven PCV. (sounds like some kind of specialty breed of dog doesn't it? "Oh, Chloe? Yeah she's a purebread Shaven PCV, very rare. We got her from this breeder in Queens.")

Oh and sorry I didn't get a chance to post pictures. Working internet is a rare occurence for me and I just had enough time to get the post up. Hopefully this time I'll have the bandwidth to put some pictures of my balded head up. I'm planning a trip next week to Ghanzi/D'kar to get support for some of my projects/ get my work finances in place/ meet PCV's and invested NGO's/ liase with a group who wants to come here for TB outreach, you know, same old same old. Wow, my life sounds so glamorous when I list everything I have to do with slashes inbetween and throw in some acronyms and big words. PCP, PCPP, APCD, CDC, CCB, DAC, NGO, CBO, OVC, TB, HIV, PACA, RADP, S&CD, RAC, LPO, DMSAC, TAC, VMSAC, VDC, WOH, etc etc etc. Surprisingly... all things I'm going to be attending to next week...

OMG! And I almost forgot the some important news. I came home last night as the sun was setting and from a distance you know what I saw? A light at the top of our finished cell phone tower glowing red. All day today 3 dark figures were seen climbing up and down the tower adjusting the satellite dish-- they told us we would get network yesterday, then this weekend, so maybe tomorrow, or the day after, or the week after, or the month after, I'll have cell phone service! Unfortunately, the network isn't the one I'm currently using, so I'll have a new phone number. And I won't be able to text back and forth to the states, but at least I'll be able to receive and send phone calls! 73667973

To be completely honest, or in the world of acronym, TBcH, the glowing red tower looks really ugly against the night sky when it isn't providing the sweet nectar of communication.

Can you imagine what things will be like on 12-12-2012? It will be the last time any of us alive today will ever be able to celebrate a #-#-# day! Who knows, maybe the Mayans are right and it'll be the end of the world. I just got chills-- the end of the world... what a scary thought.

Ok I just creeped myself out. It's 8:30 PM and I just walked home in the dark. It is Batswana culture to walk people "half way" home after they visit you. I should have been walking my own friends home at night-- next time I'll do that. Darn it all, the teacher I just visited taught me the Setswana word for "walking someone halfway home" and I forgot it already. I was so tired that I just went straight to the shower and then wandered around in the dark before falling into bed. Aaand now I just creeped myself out... and chloe's not here to diffuse my wild imagination... I guess that means its 30 Rock time.

Project Status: 1/2 day week-long "live well" alcohol-abuse and healthy living camp coming together slowly? details to be figured out. Won't be perfect at all, but one has to start somewhere... n'est pas? Hoping that the next 20 months will go by fast and I'll be able to see you all again soon. Missing home.


Nothing has to be Perfect. What does Perfect mean anyway?

Today was pretty good. Went to work, talked to people, got a lot of things written at home, came out after lunch, talked to people, looked at the art exhibit at school, got stood up by the girl I was supposed to tutor, spent the rest of the afternoon writing more things at home, watched 30 Rock, and now in bed at 7:30 again deciding what to watch before I fall asleep. Life in the Peace Corps. Not Perfect, but what does Perfect mean anyway?

The neighbors have been dancing for hours on end every day this past week. By Dancing I mean the traditional singing and dancing. A girl in the village got her first period so they will be dancing every day until it is over.

Still Dancing

I woke up this morning at 6am after a hot restless sleep to the voice of Thato in her nightgown. "Sunny," she's the only one who calls me Sunny, "Sunny!" She called at me. I threw on a skirt while yelling "Thato!" and showed up at the door squinting because I absolutely refuse to be seen as a short, fat, bald, glasses-person. I found her at my front door with 2 cell phones and a charger. "Good morning," I muttered, doing my best to smile and look like I've been up for hours. I knew this ritual well and reached for her phone, before I could grab it, she told me, "There is network."

I paused. "Network? Really?" I asked. I wasn't sure how to respond to that. "Are you joking?"

"Yes" she said. I yelled and did a little I'm-going-to-kill-you-how-could-you-do-that-to-me-dance.

Thato did her familiar you're-so-weird-Sunny laugh and then said "Really!" She came in and handed me her phone. I looked at it... a full fabulous five bars.

There was a moment of silence as the impact hit me. Then i looked back at the phone and with eyes wide and full of wonder, I exclaimed in soft tones, "It even says New Xade under it..."

October 12, 2010, a day to go down in Peace Corps Botswana History. New Xade receives Cell Phone Network.

All morning, my buddies and co workers and I were walking around with our phones in our hands. Ringtones kept going off during meetings. Ding ding ding went off in bags. Peoples heads dissapeared as they reached for their pockets, stared down at their hands, clicked clicked clicked away on their number pads. Laughs and smiles could be heard from every department as people tried to change their sim cards and swap new phone numbers. Mosodi and Thato came at me at the same time, simultaneously asking, "Wame, what's my phone number?" People interrupted each other, phone calls interrupted conversations, sons called mothers, mothers called friends, kids called each other, and anticipation was written all over teachers faces during classes. By 9AM there was not one bit of airtime left unused in the village, and yet we still clung to our phones like life lines.

The irony of it all, is that life actually kept going on as usual. There was no big hurrah, no huge celebration, no mention of it officially, life just got a little more... normal for me... and at lunch, walking between new working fridge and my new working phone, I felt like myself again, reached towards my head and thought, "my God, what did I do to my hair?"

At 7AM this morning, after Thato left, I sent 2 texts, called home, and then put the phone away and enjoyed my last few moments of absolute silence. Life will never be the same again.

And of course the moment you've all been waiting for, PICTURES!

This is my friend caitlin and i doing jumps on the nata pans

This is me half-shaven

and full shaven

1 comment:

  1. WOWOWOWOW. I know it's impossible to pinpoint the exact reason(s) that drove you to such a move, but this seems like there's been something building up inside and driving you now that's about to reach its culmination...a question of individual control? A rejection of social/sexual standards? And that, I like!!!

    Love you and miss you my brave, beautiful Sunny!!