It's a new moon, a new home, a new regime!
Welcome to my new existance, and off to the real world, well, at least my new real world. Driving down to my new village of Mmathethe, there were open fields and rolling hills, and it felt like I was in a dream. When I woke and my eyes opened, I saw a rural village with dirt roads and many poorly structured homes. It startled me at first, yet I get to my house, which is nice, though with no stove, no frig, the wrong adapters, and my bed is a piece of foam. Welcome to the Peace Corps! As my counterpart leaves to find me a temporary stove and frig, I hear noises outside, and lo and behold, a herd of cows have come onto my property to greet me. Hey, thanks for coming over to see the new kid in town, I would offer you a cold beer, but the refrig hasn't gotten here yet. How about coming back on Sunday when things have settled and I'm lonely! It seems my destiny to be involved with cows! First lesson learned--lock the gate!
Everything is borrowed now, yet I can't cook because I have the wrong adapters to plug things in! But guess what, I have buckets to store water just in case and to do laundry, YAY! As things are settling, I look out the front of my house, which really should be the back of my house--they really messed this one up--but anyway, I see the sun setting into glorious colors of reds, oranges, and purple around some scattered clouds. My eyes are glued to this mesmerizing site, and now I could care less about not having what I need. It is unbelievable to me that I will get to see this on a nightly basis. Lesson two--take refuge in the beauty that surrounds you!
Night has fallen, a new moon is shining, and I eat an orange and a banana. It's so hot that hunger barely exists on this day. On Friday I went back to Kanye to get necessary things, such as locks for my doors, and adapters. I run into 3 other volunteers who either haven't left yet or came back because of non-livable conditions. I guess I shouldn't complain that I had the wrong adaptors. Went to see mom, who promptly put me to work, and told me that Kesego threw up all day when I left, and wouldn't eat. She was all over me for the few hours I was able to visit, and I gladly played and talked with her. Lesson three---never underestimate the power of attachment!
On Saturday, I ventured out into my community after chasing a bizillion ants out of my house. The village is made of dirt roads, paths, donkeys, cows, and goats, and I introduce myself to neighbors who are friendly and welcoming. All, especially the kids, have question after question for me, and I try to answer, but tell them we have 2 years to get to know each other. Some have started arguing about who is going to be my best friend. There is one small store near the school which is a 5 minute walk from my house. At least they carry some items there in case I get stuck. It's 1:30 now and I sit wondering about the rest of the day, not wanting to put all my stuff away, when 2 teachers, who couldn't wait until Monday, pop over to see me. At least it wasn't another set of cows coming over! We sat and talked, and like the little kids, they are filled with curiosity, as I am for them. I liked them, and when they leave, I am filled with the feeling that life is gonna be good here.
Darkness comes fast--there is a knock on my back door, which really should be my front door, I am scared and hide, then the knock goes to the front door, which really should be my back door--ok--enough already- I brave it out and ask who it is. It's my neighbor telling me she just came to check me and not to be scared. "How did you get in through all the locked fences?" "I jumped!" So much for feeling safe! Lesson 4--don't lock the gates--the cows, goats, donkeys, and kids will get in anyway!
As I lay down on my piece of foam, my mind wanders to the last few days and all it's activities. Finally I have time to meditate and take in the smells and ambiance of my new habitat. My eyes finally close to the sounds of animals, and two owls that inhabit my tree--all of whom are telling me that I am Welcome to Mmathethe!