Friday, January 22, 2010

Failure and Success...

On Tuesday evening, after a miserable 6 hours of researching graduate schools in the hundred degree internet cafe in town, I boarded a kombi (mini-bus) to head back home just before dusk. I took the kombi's last available seat in the front row, wedged right between two bomake (women) with blankets and bathing dishes and bicycles (no joke) on their laps, and we started on our way. I took a few deep breaths to let go of the stress of the day, then decided to crack open the 2-liter of Aquelle-brand flavored fizzy water that I'd bought as my reward for all I'd accomplished that day. I twisted open the cap and, of course, it exploded. But I'm not talking about a normal "Haha, I'm so glad that's not me" sort of explosion, this was an EXPLOSION. Obviously, my first reaction was to put the cap back on the bottle, but the pressure of the sticky liquid spewing out of the bottle was so great that it actually knocked the cap out of my hand. And I was wedged into a moving vehicle, so it's not like I could move to get it out of the way. So I just sat there, trying to cover the top of the bottle with my hand while Aquelle water ran down my arm and onto the woman beside me, who was staring in awe. Finally, it stopped, but that wasn't the end of the problem. My lap was a PUDDLE of Aquelle water. Just sitting there, sparkling in defiance. My legs were pressed tightly together, making the reservoir water-tight, but I knew I couldn't keep it up for the whole hour-long trip. So I unclenched and let the water splash onto my feet and run down my legs and pool on the seat and the floor below me. Excellent. My papayas were wet, my transcript request papers got wet, my waterproof Timbuk2 bag was HOLDING water and, worst of all, I looked like I'd been in a waterballoon fight. Or peed myself. (If you recall the experience where Patrick peed on me on a kombi, this was 20 times worse.) It wasn't such a big deal until I got off the kombi at my bus stop and had to walk the 20 minutes home, since I looked like I'd had an accident and I felt compelled to explain to everyone staring at me that it was really just Aquelle water. And that's my failure of the week...

But, that aside, it's been a super successful, super productive week!

Most importantly, with the help of friends, family and all of you, I've raised a total of $1000 towards my community garden and water project! Yeah, that's right, in 2 weeks I've managed to collect about 1/8 of my total amount of $8591.69. I want to say THANKS to everyone who has contributed, and everyone who has passed my blog address, website ( or desperate begging emails on to friends, family, etc. I really really appreciate it, and I know my community will too! But I still have a long way to go, so keep passing on the word!

In other news, I'm crazy. For a while now, I've been looking in to graduate programs in public health for after my Peace Corps service, which I plan to start in 2011. I'd narrowed it down to a few schools, with Tulane being my top choice. Then, I learned that Tulane was accepting applications on a rolling basis for the Fall 2011 term, so I've decided to apply. More than a year ahead of the application deadline. Because I'm nuts. So I've spent the majority of this week working on the application and personal statement, which is actually really exciting for me. I'll be submitting the completed application by the end of next week (hopefully, I'm waiting on a transcript from Washburn University), and I SHOULD have a decision in the next couple of weeks. For a program that won't begin for more than a year.

That's all I've got going on for now. Schools start on Wednesday, supposedly, so I'm in town today buying school uniforms for my host family so they don't have to go barefoot or wear short-sleeved shirts in the winter like they did last year. Students get beaten if they wear anything not included in the school uniform, yet uniforms are super expensive and don't include ANY sort of warm clothes (jackets, coats, scarves, tights, etc.), which just seems ridiculous to me. But, then again, lots of things in Swaziland don't make sense to me.

Love from the Swaz!


Erin said...

Was it litchi flavored water? I need to find some of that here! We'll keep passing along your website, you'll have all the funds before you know it.

Yay for Tulane!

Justine said...

It was, in fact, litchi flavored water. You know me too well. And, let me tell you, being covered in it kind of ruined the refreshment for me.