Sunday, October 30, 2011

The New Day is Often Ridiculous

The Dali Lama, along with a few other people in the world, wake up each day with a sense that it is a new beginning.  I was not always one of those people, yet being in the Peace Corps is showing me that indeed, everyday is a new day.  Only parts of days feel normal here, and that's usually when I am in the training center with my fellow Americans.  Outside of that, anything can happen! Take today for instance.  The PC gave us Saturday off, and all were thrilled because we have our final oral test next week, and we're still trying to soak in the realities of our site placements.  My sister Joy is home from her studies in China for a few weeks, and asked if I wanted to go to a wedding with her.  Well, I haven't received my invitation, so no thank you!  It's ok Tshep, anyone could go to any wedding they want here, nobody gets an invite.  Nah, that would mean I would have to try and find water for a bucket bath, so forget it!  Instead, how's about dropping me off in town so I can do some errands?  Here I go thinking I'm doing normal everyday things, but the unusual and ridiculous is right down the street.  I go to the Post Office for the first time to mail a letter.  The line is long, people are coughing and sneezing on me, it smells, like all the stores here do, of toxic cleaning stuff, and all I want to do is hold my breath.  Forty-five minutes go by and this line is moving like a turtle.  What on earth are they doing with each person?  It's now 10:15, I'm two people away from the front, and with a line out the door, all the tellers go on their coffee break.  Why not let two go at a time, this would be a logical thing to do, but no, there is little logic here in Botswana.  Fifteen more minutes go by, the tellers come back with the same expression on their faces, and 5 people cut in front of me.  What is this, you can't just barge in front of me when I have been here well over an hour.  Who do they think they are, the Chinese?  At the door, a goat is peering in, and I am hoping the goat doesn't need a stamp too!  Another half  hour passes, I am hot and mad, so I literally yell out that I just want to buy a stamp!  This caused quite a commotion, but it worked--when the next teller opened, I had 20 Batswana's escort this crazy lady to the teller to get my one stamp for 6 pula. Whew, it's over, but now I have 3 goats staring me down as I try to meander to the bank which I have been avoiding also.  I wonder what the goats thought of what occurred in there?  Another hour in the bank, then I want to go the grocery store, but some cows are in my way, so I have to wait for the cows to decide if they are going to the Post, Bank, clothes shopping, or the grocery store!  I wish I had my camera with me!  Finally I get there, and wait another 40 minutes in line just to buy bottled water and 2 bananas.  Maybe I should have started yelling there too!  I run into 2 other Volunteers and ask if they want to do lunch at the only Cafe in town, but they declined stating they didn't want to wait hours to get food---hmmm I can certainly relate to that one!  Now I find myself sitting on a curb, next to my new cow friend, when sister Joy passes me asking me why I'm sitting on the curb next to a cow.  Well, he's my only friend today, and actually he's quite handsome, don't ya think?  Joy wants to take me home because she thinks I have totally lost it, but really, I just want to stay with the cow because this feels like the only normal thing to do at the moment.  Doesn't she know that not a shred of evidence exists in favor of the idea that life is serious!  So I sit here with the cow, laughing at the fact that I vaguely remember the ease of going into Whole Foods and being greeted by everyone, 10 minutes in the bank, or in and out of the Post Office with no animals disturbing me.  I took all that for granted, and now I have a cow sitting next to me, a goat across the way, and donkey carts intermingling with cars.  These interchanges with my host family and on the streets are novel and funny, but will eventually and unfortunately become a part of the norm.  Yet for now, I'm enjoying that everyday is a new beginning!

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