Friday, December 30, 2011

A Gardeners Soul

“To dig one's spade into one's own earth—has life anything better to offer than this.” B. Nichols

“I wake up every morning, go outside to touch my garden—to feel it's leaves—to smell it's flower's-- to water and nurture—this is what makes me happy.” These are the words of my good friend Leah!

The day I walked past her house and garden, my mouth dropped in awe. Have I seen more beautiful, lush gardens before, absolutely, but there was something uniquely special in this land—something spiritual from someone's soul that grabbed me into stillness. Moments later, the most beautiful woman came to open the gate saying, “you are welcome.” She somehow got that I saw “her being” through her garden. Taking a good look into her eyes, and without words, we began walking her land. Green beer bottles were used for borders, old tires were painted which graced the entrance way, and used for decoration around plants and trees, sticks and limbs of trees were carefully placed for seating or for dramatic backdrops for other greenery, and stones, both large and small, were situated in a fen-shui manner—some were painted, others not—but there in her garden was a poetic and mysterious feeling of serenity and joy. The entire ambiance, and the nature of this woman was pleasing to the eye, and pleasing to the soul—It was, indeed, a piece of heaven! Thanking her, I left as quietly and as in awe as I came in.

Her name is Leah—biblical and beautiful! In the weeks to come, we slowly became friends. My admiration for what she has created made her laugh at times, but as our friendship grew, she invited me into her humble home, where again, I was stopped by the magic in her creation of bringing nature into one single room. Baskets and weavings from Zimbabwe, sticks that she made into works of art, skeleton parts from animals—all fit into an assembly that a museum would be proud to display. It was on this day that Leah put her hands to her heart and said, “I have very little, but I have my art, and my garden—nobody can take that away, so I guess I have a lot!” Not yet knowing her story, I knew that all her hurts were healed through her creation here.

Leah grew up in a family of 5 children with loving parents. She did not attend a University, nor was she encouraged to do something with her life. She did, however, receive love from her family which has given her the inner fortitude to combat whatever came her way. As a child, Leah would create things with rocks or painting—saying that she knew then that she had God given talent. At 26 years of age, Leah married, having 4 children of her own, though it was a brutal marriage, and a rough divorce. She came back to Mmathethe with nothing, and told me that her garden used to be more beautiful, but having left for several years due to the divorce, things fell apart. Now she is rebuilding her garden and her soul. Looking at her, she seems to know who she is, what her relation to the world is, and what to expect of it. Most others would have damaged psyche's from the stress, but not Leah—she had her talent, and her garden, to pull her through the rough times!

Willingly, Leah tells me that Africa is in her soul, and that she's proud to be an African. I ask her why that was, and looking up, she points and says, “there's art in our skies,” “people come from all over the world to see our nature, and our animals—yes indeed, I am very proud to be an African.” I then asked her if she were to pick anywhere in the world to visit, where would that be—Paris. Of course an artists' mind would pick Paris, even though she had never even heard of the Louvre, but with that, Leah put her arm through mine, and we pretend to be walking the narrow cobblestone streets of the left bank, sitting at a cafe having an espresso and croissant, beeming at the sight of the Mona Lisa, watching people as we sit on the steps of Notre Dame, and walking along the Sienne—admiring the lined statues, and in the distance, admiring the strength of the Eifle Tower. I was her eyes for our stroll through Paris, and her own eyes were filled with wonder for a moment in time. “But Tshepo, I will always come back to Africa!” “And you should Leah---to your own museum!”

After our trip to Paris, I took many photos of Leah's 3 daughters and 3 grandchildren who have been visiting for the holidays. Showing the photos to them on the computer was a thrill in itself. Somehow Africans go crazy for seeing photos! Later that afternoon, Leah called me, “Tshepo, look outside at the clouds—can you take a picture of them?” “Sure Leah, I'd be glad to photograph any art you see.” I looked outside to see huge cumulous clouds with bursts of sunshine in the vast skies, and through my lens, I sought to capture what Leah saw.

                    “Kiss of the sun for pardon,
                           Song of the birds for mirth.
                                 You're closer to God's heart in a garden
                                         Than anyplace else on earth.” D.F. Gurney

I Slept With WHO!

Relationships are a funny thing—some take the time to get to know the person—some don't care if they know 'em or not—some don't even do relationships. The Peace Corps warns us about relationships because of the HIV, as well as many other diseases and problems. Yet people fall in love, marry, or just have an experience that they'll probably regret later on. Me, well, I am in the “pause” of menopause, yet I think I just had an “experience” in a relationship. You know, when it's New Years Eve, and it's stormy outside, your in a foreign country, a rural village with more cows than people, things just get stirred. I've only known him for a week---Ok---don't jump out of your skin---don't put me on the gossip circuit---don't start calling me names---just let me explain!  My porch is covered by an awning, and last week it was windy and pouring, and the porch was flooded. At the time I didn't have my wild beast Keoki so I didn't care. So on this stormy night, I kept opening my door to see if Keoki was getting wet. Why I should even care is beyond me—people in Africa don't bring in Lion and Cows when it's raining, or their dogs for that matter. It's around 9pm and I've been up and down 3 times checking on him. He looked so cold---so lonely--actually, he was sound asleep for the first time all day on the nice cardboard boxes I made for him. But I woke him up and asked if he wanted to come in to share a glass of some nice South African wine with me, to keep us warm, and to celebrate the New Year coming in.  His ears perked! Hey sure, I've already told all my friends about the meat and chicken your giving me, their sure to be envious of South African wine. In he comes, tale a waggin---let's make a toast Keoki since it's almost the New Year---here's to a nice 2 year relationship and then we'll call it quits. Sounds good to me! He's so happy, and I bring him into my room not knowing what to expect. A little leary about this, I set down some card board for him and close the door because he'll rip up everything I have, which is virtually nothing—but still—it's all the nothing I have. He's ever so curious and through my mosquito net, he starts biting my toes. How romantic boy! Somehow he weasles his long nose under the net and climbs up on my bed, biting my arms, legs, blanket, whatever he can get a hold of. Hey, Keoki, your a little aggressive here—after all it's our first night together, can't you be a little gentle? He finally settles and plops right at the foot of my bed acting like he's king tut! An African dog sleeping with a Lekgoa! Wow! 10,9,8,...2,1—the ball has dropped, confetti is flying, people are kissing---and I'm sleeping with a dog in Africa! This is the weirdest New Years of my whole life!

At first it was comforting having a dog on my bed, then I looked at him and thought—what if he has to pee—what if he wakes up in a strange bed, with a strange women and decides to attack—what if he has a disease---what if he has a girlfriend---he's not even my type—he's so ugly! Yikes, what a BIG mistake I've made! Every move I make, he pops up---clearly, this is gonna be one of those long, regretful nights. I'm cracking though because I don't know what to do—his royal hyness looks so happy. The God's though are on my side, the rain stops, and I tell the dog I'm putting him back outside, but I'm now scared to open the door because there are always people lurking around and it's late. Getting him out of bed was not easy—I tell him that it's been great, but my parents are coming home soon and he's got to get out fast, so 1,2,3, I open the door, and guess who won't budge. Finally I shove him out, he turns back to look at me through the barred door...wondering if all white women are so fickle. See ya Keoki, I'll call ya sometime!

It's funny the things a Peace Corps Volunteer will do under such lonely and strange circumstances! My New Years resolution: I resolve not to sleep with strangers!

Happy 2012 to everyone!

P.S. The South African wine was delicious!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Whole Foods

When you're first starting out as a Peace Corps Volunteer, there's not much to do but integrate, read, and think--especially when your primary job is in the schools which have been out for 6 weeks on summer vacation.  Oh sure, we have this community assessment to do, but guess what--anybody whose anybody in this small village is also away having good holiday cheer with their cows at the cattlepost, or at their lands plowing and praying for rain.  So, which brings me to thinking about Whole Foods, affectionately known in the good old days as Mrs. Gooches.  I wish they would have kept that name, it's so catchy!  Anyway, going to Whole Foods was one of my favorite things to do, other than going to Asia of course, which tells ya how exciting my mid life was going!  I went nearly everyday, knew everyone there, sometimes I would just go to look at the beautiful and delicious array of fruits and veggies, or chat with friends who frequent there.  Fortunately, or unfortunately right now, in this current incarnation, I'm an organic health freak now living in a country that has the world's worst diet.  They put margarine, colorings, preservatives in everything and anything, even freshly made bread.  It makes me so sick that I can't even have a piece of bread, which is why I'm sitting here daydreaming about Whole Foods.

Going to the supermarket here--we'll call it Choppies--couldn't be more opposite from my Whole Foods experience---it's my least favorite thing to do.  There is no market in my village, so I have to take the dreaded kombie ride to either one of two towns.  No joke, the other day people were clammering and shoving me away to get on the kombie--you'd think they were running into Shea Stadium to see the Beatles.  It was awful, so in an act of desperation, I put the hook of my umbrella around someone's neck so I can get in.  Funny, the person could have cared less that I was trying to kill her for a dreaded kombie ride to the dreaded supermarket.  Finally, I'm here, in my least favorite place in the world, and Whoa, people are shoving me around, sticking their hands and bodies over me, around me, through me, just to get freakin' can of preserverative ladened whatever.  Come on people, how can you be so nice when talking in the villages, and you get in a kombie, or in a store in this case, and you turn into animals?  I just don't get it!  Onward to make my way to the veggie section, I close my eyes and pray that when I open them I'll be back in Whole Foods, where people are sane--they even say excuse me if bumped, they ask what you're making for dinner, they say hello, they are sooooo normal!  My eyes open and reality hits--I'm still in this god foresaken Choppies---maybe if I click my heals 3 times, Santa Clause (if there was one here) will zap me to Whole Foods.  Please Santa, it doesn't have to be as far as California, London will do just fine!

Groceries in hand, it is now time to check out, but this can be worse than actually getting your groceries.  I compare this to the kombie rides because today, I'm in line and someone puts their groceries in my basket--just like handing over a kid to ya on the bus.  Hey lady, whatta ya doing?  She looks at me snarling at her, and says, "hold this, I'll be back later."  Sure lady, whatever you say!  I see that people just take things out they really don't want and put them on the check out stand to sit there probably til closing, so I think I'll put her stuff there too.  It's finally my turn to check out, and I'm trying to get my stuff out as the checker is just staring at me--no hello, or how are you like they do at Whole Foods...just, let's get this over with!  I forget to weigh an onion, so it's 10 minutes til someone comes back to tell us how much the onion is--you would think she's start ringing up the other items while we wait, but no, the common sense factor is turned off today---next item, the checker yells out "does anyone know how much this costs?"  Of course nobody answers, and it's another 10 minutes finding the price of this. I look back at the people in the now longer line, and they all have the same expression on their faces as the checker---BLANK!  Ok, this is really fun...I wish someone would start yelling or something---how can they be so crazy in the isles, and on the check out line, so, well, so nothing!  Now the lady who put her groceries in my basket returns and shoves her way behind me, smiles at how neatly I threw her stuff on the counter.  "Where'd ya go lady, Tokyo?"  "Huh!" "Never mind."

It's finally over, but going outside of Choppies is also a fiasco with the so called Black Market selling potatoes and cabbage.  Yum!  I stop to take this all in and ask myself why on earth the PC didn't send me to Thailand with it's coconuts, vibrant markets, and gentle people I'll never know, but here I am resorting to fantasizing about Whole Foods coming to Botswana!

I wonder what my fellow PCV's have been thinking about this holiday season!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Keoki the Dog

"If your dog thinks your the greatest person on earth, don't seek another opinion."  J. Fiebig

They say that dog is man's best friend, and that statement couldn't be more true---feed it, love it, and wammo you have instant unconditional love!  I have had dogs growing up, though my adult life has been filled with cats, who always have had the last word, and were nice enough to let me live in their house.  When I came to Botswana, there was no way I wanted an animal to tie me down, besides, how fair would it be to keep and love for 2 years, then adios amigo!  The other day I went to visit the family in Kanye, who were just given 2 new pups from a neighbor.  Immediately, besides falling in love with the little devils, I grew a disdain at the lack of caring for animals, other than cows and goats, in this country.  The poor creatures are starved for affection, someone to talk to, rub their ears, and feed them.  These new pups live in a little fort outside, and mom gives it her yummy porridge.  I come in play with them, talk to them, and when mom turns her back, I pour them milk, and find anything I can that doesn't look like porridge.  Believe me pups, I ate the stuff for 2 months--now you're stuck with it the rest of your life, UGH!  The pups are so happy at this moment, but I cannot take them.  It would be unfair to domesticate them, besides this other crazy puppy, who was just left by someone around my neighborhood, has been hanging with a neighbor, though the dog has decided that he likes me better, and wisely has adopted me.  The neighbor asks if I want her kid thanks lady!  Yeah I once threw it a steak bone once, yeah I talked to it, yeah I pet it, yeah, why wouldn't it want to adopt me.  Now it was screaming at my gate, so the sucker I am, opened it and whalla...a pup is adopted.  I really didn't think it would stay, but the next morning the dog is peering it's head through the barred gated door asking, "mom, what's for breakfast?"  "Nothing, get out!"  The tail wags more--"ok, do you want your eggs scrambled or sunny side up?"  "Uh, how about soft boiled mom."  "Sure doggie, soft boiled it is, and maybe I'll join you!"  As we dine together, I realize that this pup needs a name, so I call him a good Hawaiin-Asian name, Keoki, that's good for an African dog don't ya think?  I like it!  He's skinny and scrawny, but has personality!  But the neighbors are a bit confused!  It's ok everyone, you'll get used to it!

So, I have a dog now---the God's obviously thought I needed one to guard me from my nightly intruders, so I'll love it in a detached way.  Here is what detachment looks like---I hitch to Lobatse, about a 35 minutes drive in the back of a pickup truck, scrunched over, and holding on for dear life so I don't blow away.  I run into another Volunteer who adopted two cats, and was shopping for cat food, so off we go to the store chatting about our new detachments.

Getting home was easier than going, and Keoki gets his first taste of real dog food, and the tail is whipping so hard out of happiness that it's giving me bruises on my legs.  I make a bed out of cardboard boxes for him on the porch, and he is smiling away!  Wow, a bed too!  This is the life!  It's dark now and the sky is almost white from the amount of sparkling stars.  I lay in my bed hearing Keoki growling at someone---the someone's feet run away, and I peaked out the window thanking my new best friend.  Tonight I slept like a puppy!


"Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love!"

The holiday season is a time of gatherings, reflection, and hopefully a remembrance of others.  It's a time to look back on the year and be thankful for what was received.  This was a year of big change for me, and now being in Africa this season as a Peace Corps Volunteer, it definitely conjures up different images than I'm used to.  I remember moving to California and it never feeling like the holidays because of the weather, though I always held onto the images of the falling leaves and the first snow fall.  My aunt Eileen always made a point to call me when the snow fell because she knew the joy it brought to me.  Since XMAS falls in summer here in Botswana, it's not the snowy dark wintry night, but sunshine and blooming flowers that grace the holiday season.  Traditional customs differ than those I'm used to, and there won't be the smell of our baking cookies, nor our homemade mushroom and barley soup for all to share.  The sight of brights lights around town, and sound of presents being open are only in my minds eye this season.  Instead, African harmonies will be heard throughout the village a few days before XMAS, and reality will be about the poverty that surrounds me, the lack of visual decorations, as well as the love that's all around.  It's a good time of year to become acquainted with new traditions, with that comes a realization that Africans hold an abundance of old wisdom, some of which I plan on soaking up.  People use branches of trees for home decorations, and their customs include the slaughtering of cows and goats for their big holiday feast.  How wonderful to be so connected to the natural resources in our backyards!  Neighbors in the village all want to share their tradition of going to hear choirs sing and compete, and as we share stories, I can only hope that the cultural gaps keep adding richness to both our lives.  So with a different set of eyes this year, I'll embrace the new world I'm living in.

The day after XMAS is known as Boxing Day, and it is celebrated as the day to relax---how great--give the men who killed the meat, and women who cooked it, a long day to kick back and digest the entire cow.  Boxing day is actually a holiday!  We should do this in the USA---just leave the leftovers out, watch a little football, and leave the wrappings from presents all over the living room because it's really the sweetest site!  AAh, that sounds so good, but let's get back to Africa--I can't resort to sentiment right now or else I'll cry.  Yup, the real reason to cry is not being able to watch football!  How's that for sentiment!  Ok Africa, I'm back---oh yeah, some of the kids around have asked about the holidays in America.  Maybe I shouldn't tell them the truth, yet they are as starved for information, as much as I am starved for Chinese food. They say they wish they could be in the States so they too can get presents, but they may be better off not having the abundance we have. Yesterday a friend came over to tell me she is applying to Harvard and Yale next year so she can get a good education and come back to help people in Botswana.  How awesome is that, and what a gift it was to hear it!

This year in Africa I have much to be grateful for and I hope that we all remember to give in some ways.  I reflect on those I have lost this year, especially my soulful Sasha, my colleague Irwin, and those who are struggling with illness like my good buddy Jacques.  I look to the star filled sky, to the red earth in the village, taking in all in, and I hold it that much more precious because they no longer can. This year I am ever so grateful to my family, Marilyn and the boys, my neighbors and friends for supporting my life altering decision.  I am especially thankful for the love, humor, and acceptance of my host family, and for my new friends and students.  

Happy Holidays to All!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Shirts off!

School's out for the summer, which really should be holiday break, nonetheless, I'm enjoying doing what I want, and trying to lounge around on my piece of foam in the mornings.  But mornings are when things happen in village life because it's so bloody hot during the day time that you can't even breathe.  It's 8am and I hear donkey honks, and "Tshepo, wake up."  I didn't know that donkeys can speak too!  With my morning hair and PJ's, out I go to see that indeed, the garbage donkey's have finally got it down.  The garbage is collected, and the two women driving the cart on this beautiful, suffocating day, asks if I remember them from the wedding attended last week.  Sure, your what's his faces cousin--it's always a safe answer--everyone is a cousin to somebody here.  The next thing I know the women are walking in my house telling me to make them a cup of tea.  Hmm, I don't recall inviting you in, but I see I have no choice here.  Do the donkeys want to come in for some tea too!  I've never been anywhere before where people just do, and don't ask.  "Hey Tshep--don't ya have any better tea than this?"  "Nope, the Peace Corps doesn't give us tea, and by george, your not gonna get my good tea from China."  As I turn to pour the tea, the two women remove their shirts and are sitting here in their bras, pouring half the bag of sugar in their tea.  I don't even know your names and you're removing your clothes--gee how things go around here.  Sitting here, it's hard not to be laughing my butt off, but no, I have to sit and chat about garbage collection with two shirtless, no-named women, for the next 20 minutes, and with donkeys peering through my door.  Tea is finished, they put their shirts back on, and abruptly leave as they came.  My day is off to a great start!

Nature walk
Hanging around the house the rest of the morning was fun, but someone named Wiseman was supposed to come and fix things around here.  Of course he doesn't show, so I leave in this heat to go and find some people to talk to for this Community Assessment that's due soon.  Taking the 20 minute walk to the clinic takes over an hour, but this time it's because I stop to admire some nature and talk to some with beautiful gardens.  I tell them I once had a beautiful garden and they laugh in disbelief because my yard currently looks like the Munsters place.  While walking around, I point out that the woman has a green thumb---well, you would've thought I was Jay Leno.  She had never heard the expression before, called out her family and neighbors to come over so I can say it all over again.  These people were in hysterics, and it's ten minutes of explaining what the term "green thumb" means.  I'm glad to bring such laughter to these beautiful people, but then one of the women just takes off her shirt.  Ok, nice to meet ya!

Talking to nurses at the clinic and police was most interesting, but not as interesting as running into the local Vet who tells me that the biggest problem in the community is lumpy skin disease.  After some inquiry, he is talking about the precious cows, but his "community" are the cows and goats.  He shows me the only medicine in the clinic that they give to the animals with this disease, and I ask what happens when a dog comes in with something other than this lumpy thing--oh, we give all animals this medicine no matter what.  No wonder why all the dogs look the same around here.  Remind me not to go to him if I get sick!  "So, Mr. Vet, where do the cows sit when they come to see you?"  "Uh, they just stay outside."  "Very good, I think I'll go outside too, see ya!"  By the way, Mr. Vet has no shirt on!

Leaving the center of the village, an older woman stops me to ask what I'm doing.  I tell her, and she insists I come in and talk with her and her grand daughter as well.  Ok, as long as you don't take off your shirts.  In a few minutes time, we discover that her and mom are good friends, and with that we are off to the races, chatting away about old times like I've been in the picture all these years.  Got any good gossip for me?  As we talk, she is chopping veggies into tiny pieces just like mom taught me, and then a streak of fear runs through me because she says something to the grand daughter in Setswana, and I just know it's about getting me something to eat.  Please no, I can't take it--she comes out with a piece of fruit that is round, green, and hard.  I look, I smile, I smell, with hopes she says to take it home so I can give it to the donkeys!  Mmm, this looks delicious, what is it?  An orange--oh, I should have guessed that myself, and at that she hands me a knife to carve it.  Maybe we should pray before I eat so I don't break my teeth and have to see the Vet, who seems to be the only doc around here.  He'll give me cow medicine when he sees the lump I just ate!  The next thing I know, Mpho is inviting me for lunch tomorrow.  No thanks,  I have cows to talk to, but I'll be sure to stop by soon!  Turning to wave as I leave the property, no bull, the grand daughter is taking off her shirt--at least she waited til I was gone!

Four hours later, my sweaty body is home, and I rip off my shirt just as I learned today.  It really does feel good, but I'll put it back on as I'm not as free when a left over teacher comes to check me, and then 2 students come to play cards with me.  Finally, some peace and quiet, and as I get ready to fall asleep under my mosquito net, I am comforted by the deep silence, when all of a sudden I hear the loudest MOOOOO I've ever heard---ah, just another passerby in the village coming to check me!   Goodnight!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


My mind and my senses are in overdrive since coming here, that I don't even know where to begin organizing my thoughts.  My private journal is almost filled and all I ever feel like doing is writing.  In a year from now things may not be so new, and I just imagine that these blog posts will be consumed with projects, along with the complexities, and layers of relationships formed with my students and village folks.  For now though, everything is a story, take for example riding on a Kombie.  A Kombie is a van of sorts, with torn, broken seats, and they are the primary means of transport in and out of the village.  Kombies are like flying coffins, as they have few safety codes covering their condition.  Some have doors held by wires, some have seats that fly out the door with you when you get off. Every time I get on one, I brace myself because they won't leave until it is full or overfull--meaning, it is 100+degrees and people are breathing or sneezing in your ear.  The people here also have a superstition of wind, so if you open a window to breath, stares come in all forms.  But in the right frame of mind, they are charming! Lucky me got to spend the night in Gabs last week, our Capital, and where the Peace Corps office is.  Besides getting a few great meals, my biggest thrill was being able to take a real shower, with real hot water, with real strong water pressure.  It's funny how after only 3 months, a shower becomes a luxury!  I'm clean for the first time in weeks, and now I have to go back to my dirt paths and cold water bucket baths. 

Off to the kombie--I get in, in one minute I get handed someone's huge bag, her phone, her wallet as she gets situated.  They never ask if you would mind holding something, it's just given, and thank you afterwards is unheard of.  One time I said God Bless You to someone who sneezed, and it started a conversation of the bible.  I'll never say that again!  I wouldn't mind holding things for others, but on this particularly hot and muggy day, I just want to enjoy being clean for about an hour or two.  Woman gets situated, takes her stuff back, gives me a smile.  They are piling on now, and someone hands me a kid--doesn't ask--in a split second I'm a mother--cootchy coo little one!  Maybe I should just pass the kid around because in a second, I'm done with being a mom.  The kid is looking at me like "do I know you?"  Nope, but it looks like we better get to know each fast because mom is taking her sweet little time here, and probably likes not schlepping you around at the moment.  Finally, mom takes kid back---adios buddy.  Funny thing, she didn't even ask for the kid back, just took him, and plopped on the other side of me.  We're finally off, packed in like sardines, and the combie driver is stopping every five minutes to let yet another on.  I close my eyes to pretend I'm sleeping, but still more stuff is thrown on me--I definately have picked the right seat today!  The kombie stops yet again, the driver gets off to schmooze with a buddy, gets back on, stops in 3 minutes, gets out to pee--why he didn't pee 3 minutes ago is beyond me, gets back on, stops again for something, and finally we are on the open road!  YAY!  I go to open a window, but oops, there is no handle on the window...I am sufficating and sweating my shower is but a sweet memory!  All of a sudden, I hear my name being called from the back, but my head is stuck between three people and I can't turn it to see who on earth knows me here. Then the poking begins, yes I know someone wants me, but what to do!  Finally, my head gets to turn a bit, "Hey Tshepo, remember me!"  Politely I say sure, even though I have the slightest idea who this person is, so with a half turned head I strike a conversation about the holidays, asking how to say holiday things in Setswana, and this makes Miss Whoever very happy!  She gets off the kombie in nowheresville, leaving me to wonder where on earth she is walking to and where on earth she knew me from.  I enjoy the last 40 minutes of my kombie ride in complete sweat and with coils from the seat stabbing my butt!

One day I'll take photos of a kombie, but for now it would cause so much commotion.  Thank god I made it back to my sweet village of Mmathethe where I am greeted warmly.  They all ask where I've been, like I've been gone for a month, and I tell them I was just having fun on a kombie ride!