Tuesday, December 6, 2011

An ode to duct tape:

Often called the all purpose tool,
Whoever said that was no fool.
You aided me as can be seen,
By helping me attach window screen.
You truly are my new best friend,
Yet I am sad that you are at your end.

Message from all this: send duct tape, I ran out.

A strange way to start a blog post I suppose, but I needed to express my new love of duct tape.  It has helped me control the heat in this village.  So I managed to get to site just less than two weeks ago, so it seemed a good time to do a quick update on some of the new things in my life.  First of all driving into the village I got to see two wild ostriches.  Still no lions yet, but I am hoping sooner or later. 

Moving in was…well a huge pain to say the least.  I had the keys to my house for days, and when I finally got there the place was just filthy.  The keys I had were the ONLY keys, so that meant no one had cleaned the place since the old volunteer left.  So after storing my stuff at another teacher’s house (where I was going to sleep originally) I made a huge effort of cleaning that place so that I could move in that night.  And I was successful.  It still took almost the entire weekend to get everything unpacked and arranged how I liked it, but it is finally a place I am proud to call home, despite all of the ghetto rigging I have done.  I have shoved a couple puzzle books that I finished under my front door since the gap is big enough for mice to crawl in.  I also have cut up an old mosquito net and used my new best friend to affix it to the walls to make screens.  This allows me to keep my windows open without fear of bugs so I can regulate the temp a bit. 

I can also say we have officially entered the rainy season.  As I am writing this I am currently trying to out noise the rain on my tin roof by blasting music.  This is the third storm in Kaudwane in a week, which kinda sucks since I have to leave the village tomorrow to a Youth Forum (although by the time I post this that tomorrow will be meaningless). 

I can’t say too much on my day to day yet, still trying to remember names of people and meet and talk to everyone.  So I don’t really have a routine yet, and the school closes in two days from now, so I will probably be pretty bored very soon.  So instead of giving boring details of these past two weeks here are two interesting cultural things I have encountered here.  I should note that these are not typical to ALL Botswana, but my location in a Khoisan settlement gives me some more culture stuff. 

First one:  The kids have some of the strangest nervous tendencies I have ever seen.  By far the best of these though was the hand thing.  I can’t think of a better name for it yet, but I will work on it, after I get over trying to laugh when they do it.  I saw it the first time the other day.  A kid didn’t know what to do and in his nervousness he put his hand up towards his face (not touching).  Next he stuck his tongue out and ran his hand down in front of it.  Once again, not touching, but still just strange.  Then he walked away without saying a word like it was the most normal thing. 

The other one was explained to me by one of the other teachers.  Two students were wrapped up in blankets that their parents rushed over from home during the first of the big storms.  This is when I found out that it is part of the celebration of becoming a women.  First of all a girl will be in the house for seven days when it is her first menstruation and people will come and sing songs to celebrate her becoming an adult.  Then, during the first storm following she needs to be wrapped up because it is an old cultural belief that unless she is she will be a target for lightning strikes. 

Well that is my bit for now on attempting to impart some Botswana culture on America.  And expressing my love of duct tape.  Seriously, send tape.  Any kind too, I am almost out of scotch tape for putting stuff on the walls.

P.S.  I wrote this two weeks ago, but was at a ten day youth forum, the blog post on that will be ridiculously long and full of great stories, so be ready for that in a few days./weeks

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