Friday, April 20, 2012

Sean T's Rock Hard Abs

If I knew as many curse words as Artie Goldstein on Entourage, I would insert them here.

I've been cranky lately. And on top of it, working hard. After tireless photo sessions, countless walks back and forth to the school, and many many phone calls, I managed to procure the oh, 20 documents I needed to make a claim on the damaged computers. Except I made one fatal error--

"After having relayed the matter to Insurers & assessing the merits of the claim, it is noted that the incident is covered by Insurance Certificate 120000000038. However, the claim amount falls below the agreed deductible (Excess); therefore we are unfortunately unable to assist you in this particular instance."

I'm afraid that I'm losing myself. Recently my attitude has suddenly changed from the all-obliging volunteer to the cranky indignant American. People come over and I'm immediately pissed because people here don't inform you beforehand that they're coming, and even if you did there's a 1 in 2 chance they won't come at all and a 1 in 4 chance they'll come late or the next day or send someone else in their stead to charge their phone or pick up meat or ask you to do them a favor. If you don't answer the door immediately, they knock incessantly and ask "were you sleeping??" and regardless of whether or not you were indeed sleeping, they walk right in (even if you're physically blocking the doorway, or you're eating dinner, or you're standing there in a towel about to take a shower, or a dump for that matter); they sit down, and look through every bag, book, box, and binder that's within arm's reach as if your house is a child's museum. Welcome to the exploratorium! Go ahead, touch everything I own and ask me if you can have it. I resist the urge to snatch whatever item is of interest and say "That's not for you," every time. 

On top of it all, I'm also suddenly super sensitive to the attitude certain people take with me, expectant, lording, indignant, supervising. It's as if suddenly my eyes have been opened to the different way people treat me here, especially when you compare the way they treat white men. When a white man walks into the room, everyone almost literally cowers. People are afraid to speak, everything the man says is right! But when I'm alone with them, the attitude suddenly becomes superior and at times bullying and I have no choice but to get defensive or submissive. 

I.e. it takes me 2 years to get the attention of my supervisors to fix my pipe, a man from PC calls and suddenly, they're on it! And I look completely inept, because it's assumed that I just wasn't aggressive enough with them. Another example? A motswana visits MY village and then scolds me for not accepting a chair (apparently a cultural faux pas) by literally pushing her finger into my chest. "You have to adapt to OUR culture" she tells me. But as soon as a white man walks in to discuss work matters, she grows as silent as a mouse, then gets up to fetch the men tea. I wanted to bite her. 

AND this proves to be particularly difficult if you're trying to work with both a white man and a local woman, because they won't directly and clearly communicate with each other! The white man walks away and you're left with the local womansuddenly asking you all these questions that should be directed to the white man. When you ask the white man for clarification he looks at you and says, I'm confused didn't we clear that up? And when the white man is supposed to get a lift from a local truck, and the local truck somehow can't manage to give that person a lift because he's too afraid to communicate what the problem is, you get a phone call 30 minutes before you're supposed to meet saying "hey so and so never called me and I'm stuck here... 108km away, where is he?" and you have to be the person to find out what happened and say "hey, sorry, so and so left already."

I am a bearer of grants here to provide people with freebies and make pizza and boil tea. Please, oh dear country, walk alllll over me, because I am a woman and it is my honor in life to serve YOU, dear man. And, Oh you're griping to me that you have to clean your own house because you don't have a WIFE? I'm soooo sorry for you!!! POOOR BABY!!

*It wouldn't be fair though, dear readers, if I just left you with this impression of Botswana though. There are plenty of people who are great, intelligent, kind, generous people who understand that I'm not just here to give them stuff. And to them, I am eternally grateful for making my life here as enjoyable as possible.

I used to work out to blow off steam, but lately, I have been pushing the limits of my body and still can't do what I want to do. So in addition to being mad at the whole world, I want to punch Sean Friggin T in his rock hard abs for making me do push up abs

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