A few weeks ago, I went to Gaborone City to celebrate the Peace Corps' 50th Anniversary with a bunch of volunteers and Peace Corps friends. The celebration involved lots of inspirational videos, an open bar, and a craft shop. I brought a bunch of stuff from artisans that I'm friends with, sold a lot of it, then had a drink, and promptly felt woozy and dizzy from the heat and dehydration. I spent the activity lying in the shade of a very nice American home in Gabs.
The next day, I traveled to Kanye, a large village nearby, to hang out with the new group of peace corps trainees. I answered questions about living in the bush, being a volunteer, and other things (activities, technology, the San, food and travel options...) and then back to Gabs for a day of medical appointments (Good news, my teeth are not going to fall out but apparently I clench my teeth so hard that I popped out a filling. I have to continue wearing a mouth guard for the foreseeable future.)
Finally, finally, when all this was over, I boarded an early morning bus to Johannesburg, South Africa for a nice long vacation. From Jo'burg, my friends and I argued over taxi fare with a taxi driver who drove us to the airport where we caught a flight to Durban. At Durban, we rented a car and spent a week relaxing on the beachfront (thanks to Amanda and Todd's family for the timeshare!).
From there, we drove to the Addo Elephant sanctuary where we stayed in a converted (haunted) castle-tower B&B in an orange orchard, picked citrus, and drove through the animal reserve watching elephants spray each other with water and warthogs run. We even got to see lions...
From Addo, we drove to Franchoek, a wine making french inspired village situated in the valley of 2 gorgeous mountains. We tasted wine, ate good food, and walked around the neatly trimmed streets admiring the local crafts. It was at Franchoek that one of us noticed just how clear and gorgeous the tap water was, and we cheered over glasses of it during our fancy seafood dinner.
From Franchoek, we wine-tasted our way to Stellenbosch, another wine making community that was also home to a SA university. It had a very university campus feel. Coffee shops, art stores, gelato, clothing, fashion, bikers and runners, liquor stores, and the occasional street-man asking for change.
Then from Stellenbosch we drove to Capetown where we hiked table mountain, met the penguin colony on boulder beach, and said goodbye to civilization. A flight, bus drive, overnight, early morning taxi, and bus drive away, I arrived exhausted in Ghanzi only to be met by the harassing street kids, a man who shoved his penis in my face, and an old man who begged away half of my lunch. Back in Ghanzi.
My stomach has been completely spoiled the past 2 weeks and I couldn't bring myself to buy anything other than the basics for food which is fine cause I still dont have a fridge and it is so f*ing hot here that I don't want to eat anyway. I waited 6 hours for a hitch, crammed in the back of a truck with my souveniers of wine and olives, and arrived at home at 9PM exhausted and gross after the long truck ride (with at least 3 pairs of dirty feet shoved into my new linen shorts the whole way). Sunny can't have nice things. Sipping on tap water here, my first reaction was to wretch. It tasted like sewage. Since when did I get so picky?
Back at site today, a lot has happened while I was gone. For 1, 3 teachers have transferred out. Our boarding master is being replaced by another man and a matron, and my friend Thato received a transfer notice for Ghanzi. The electricians are also making quick work of our solar panels to make way for proper electricity. Which means that they're taking away my precious electricity and replacing it who knows when. I'm devastated. I'm planning on hiding from these guys until the very very last minute.
A rumor has reached the ears of New Xade residents. An herb trader in Maun has been turned into a snake via witchcraft. I am assured that the lady-victim has not COMPLETELY turned into a snake, rather, just her body from neck down (and phew, I was worried).