Monday, January 19, 2009

Dog Drama, Inauguration and other Goings On

Sanibonani, y’all! These past few weeks have been entirely uneventful for me. Seriously, I’ve done nothing except eat candy, study for the GRE, read last resort books (like the biography of Ronald Reagan and mystery novels written for young adults) and hunt for flies with a handkerchief (because Swaziland doesn’t believe in fly swatters) in my hut. It’s a pretty boring existence, but I’m getting really good with GRE vocab…

FIRST THINGS FIRST: I've been working on getting the whole sponsorship through Young Heroes worked out. I had to talk to the clerk who had to ask the bucopho about it who had to talk to the chief who said he needed the blessing of the indvuna first and blah blah blah. So the ball's in the indvuna's court now and as soon as he gives the "spiritual go-ahead" for contacting Young Heroes, I'll be able to arrange them coming out to the community to assess need and enroll families. This is why nothing ever gets done in Swaziland, but I assure you I'm annoying enough that it will EVENTUALLY happen. Hopefully in February, but I'll definitely keep you updated.

There has been some minor dog-related drama these past 2 weeks, though. After about a week of fighting off potential suitors (me, not her) and a frantic phone call to Grandma (“she’s bleeding!”), I learned what it means for a dog to be in heat. (Since our dogs have always been spayed, I’ve never witnessed this before, and my family here didn’t know what was going on because their dogs have always been so undernourished that they didn’t go through it.) After one particularly dog-fight-filled night, I decided she needed to be quarantined. For the next week, at sundown I had to hunt down the dog and kidnap her and carry her into an old chicken coop building and, using a big piece of corrugated metal and a rock (there is no door), shut her in for the night. She seemed fine with it, but the boy dogs all protested by barking and whining loudly all night right outside my window. Until I threw rocks at them. Peace Corps would be impressed with how Swazi I’ve become.

She’s gotten pretty fat, though. I don’t know if it’s pregnancy-related, but she definitely doesn’t fit through my burglar bars anymore. On Sunday she tried to squeeze through for what I HOPE will be the last time. I came back from my garden (I have SO MANY watermelons!) to find the dog completely wedged into the bars, her hips and both back feet stuck under her and her front half frantically trying to pull herself into my house. No luck. I swung the door open (with the dog in it) and tried to push her out from the inside. No luck. After five minutes of crying dog I decided to sacrifice the remains of my sunflower oil to get her free. While my Make watched me (shaking her head the whole time), I greased the dog up like a chicken and successfully dislodged her from the burglar door. My family doesn’t know what to think of my antics, but the dog seemed pretty happy to be unstuck and covered in delicious cooking oil. And now she’s all shiny and I have no way to make popcorn.

Luckily, there is a light at the end of my tunnel of boredom. Tuesday is Inauguration(!!!!!!!!) and I’m headed up to Mbabane to watch the festivities on the satellite TV at Sunset Backpackers while wearing my Obama t-shirt. I think it’s going to make me more homesick than anything, though, since if I was in DC right now I’d be one of those millions of people in the crowd (and it would be totally worth it). I suppose I can still be happy for Obama and Democrats and the world in general, even though I’m not a part of it. After all, I cast my completely inconsequential absentee ballot in the state of Kansas!

In other news, the schools will re-open on the 27th (it’s been pushed back a week for some reason). As an American, I falsely assumed that meant that the teachers would be coming back and spending time getting settled in and looking over their rosters (to see who is new and who is repeating the grade; it’s usually 50/50) and planning things for the year. These past few days I’ve even walked up to the school (45 minutes) to see if I could find anyone to talk to about teaching Life Skills. But no. Apparently, “school starts on the 27th” means that the teachers will return on the 27th and that students will show up and sit outside all day waiting for the teachers to get settled in and ready to start the school year, which usually takes about a week. So even though “school starts on the 27th”, no learning will actually take place until February. Hm. Add that to the list of things I don’t understand (along with “Why do you spend 100R on hair extensions when your children haven’t eaten anything but corn for 4 days?” and “Why, when you are unmarried and have advanced AIDS and TB, are you 3 months pregnant?”).

That’s all. Happy Inauguration and if you’ve just gotten your invitation for Group 7, find me on Facebook!

Love from the Swaz!

This is my "kitchen" area in my house. To the right of the photo is my table and chairs. That blue thing in front of the door (you can only see the top of it) is my "bathtub." Still want to come visit?

This is my bed (obviously), complete with mosquito net, my dresser and the lovely curtains my mother made me!

Me and the Bokhmeister hiding from the rain a few months ago when she was still kind of skinny.

1 comment:

Erin said...

we all know that you're annoying enough to make anything happen! swaziland laziness doesn't stand a chance against you. :)

your house is cute! do i seriously have to bathe in that tiny little tub? I might have to practice at home first. but that won't keep me from being sooooo excited to come visit. we're going to buy our tickets this week! woohoo!!!!!!!