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!

1 comment:

  1. I was just hysterical laughing reading this post! HYSTERICAL! Oh life in Botswana... happy to hear you're making such close friends! :)