Monday, November 22, 2010


I decided to leave school a few minutes early today because of some omninous thunder and clouds. When I got home, James was already there and we thought we'd have time to run to the shop for some bread. When we left the house, lightning struck less than a mile away. When we got to the shop, we felt a few drops of rain, and as we began to come home, it started pouring. We ran home but did not succeed in staying dry.

It rained so hard that our yard became just three or four giant puddles. A non essential part of our roof blew off (like this wooden thing around the side, not the roof itself). A door frame stored on the roof almost blew off, and various pieces of tin from next door ended up in our garden. Branches ended up on the other side of the yard. For the first time, we experienced three leaks in our roof.

Amazingly the power stayed mostly on and is still on now. The mess even made it's way into the house as dirt from the rafters is now all over the place and there was quite a lot of water to mop off the floor. The door mat is dripping on the line.

But the municipality probably still won't turn on the water. It's been 3 weeks for us, 9 months for others in our village.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

last day of the week!

I'm writing this early on the assumption that nothing crazy will happen for the rest of the day. I hope that people enjoyed reading these, but I'm glad to be done writing them so it will probably be a while before we update the blog again.

7:00 - good morning, electricity is on (it went out late last night during a storm) and we're ready to start the day.
8:45 - we leave too late for church. james is convinced that the confirmation started at 8, but I think it was 9. either way we can't be there until 9:15
9:15 - before sneaking in the back, ask someone and find out they started at 8, oops. sneak into the back row. the sermon is already starting. count the number of people sleeping in church (a lot) and watch these kids rocking out to some music in their headphones. more people come in late including a teacher and her daughter who sit next to us. they normally make people give offering based on section of the village, but since it's confirmation, we give it based on the person who we are the guest of. offering is fun because you get to dance up to the front and back to your seat.
11:30 - the teacher whose son is getting confirmed who invited us to their party (not the one who sat next to us) asks if we want to leave early and head over to her house. we say yes since we don't know where she lives and she has a car.
11:40 - meet some of her family and sit in the living room watching music videos waiting for everyone else to get back from church. a teacher from another school shows up and is excited to see us.
12:30 - people show up and we dance into the house with them. a few short speeches and grace and it's time to eat. sit with the important ladies and eat. accidently get this salad with liver in it and feed it to our host's really cute great nephew. after food (beets, butternut squash, rice, pap, chakalaka (bean salad), and salad), cold drink (soda), and custard full to the brim.
2:10 - the former principal of one of our schools announces she has to go to a neighboring village so we ask her for a ride home. right as we are leaving the host father of the old volunteers finds out where we live (we did not tell him he was wrong when he thought we lived at the catholic church).
2:30 - make it home right before it starts raining. enjoy the rain and look forward to relaxing the rest of the day...talking to our parents, checking fantasy football stats, watching the biggest loser australia and getting ready for another week to start tomorrow.

Saturday, November 6, 2010


only one more day of this after today, yay! (I am really only continuing because I am stubborn, it's nowhere near as fun as I thought it would be)

5:45 - funerals start early so we get up early. quickly get dressed and eat and notice how incredibly messy the house is.
6:10 - off to the funeral, on the way see a lot of cars going the other direction (to another funeral) and wonder if they could possibly be on their way to the cemetary already.
6:40 - arrive to find out that the funeral hasn't even started yet (shocking) because of an issue with the funeral parlor and it's not going to start til 9. great, we have to be at the talent show at 9:30.
7:30 - the funeral starts (I guess 9 was just a guess). we are actually sitting where you can see (rare because we normally stand in the back) and it's a pretty difficult funeral. we did not know the guy, he was the cousin of one of my co-workers, but his friends are in tears talking about him.
8:40 - we sneak out because we have to stop back home before going to the talent show. too bad we stick out so just about everyone saw us leave early. there are lots of people there by this point, a few hundred and at least 50 cars. get a ride part of the way back from people who were anxious to go to the cemetary early. on the walk the rest of the way, see an old lady who is scared poopless of us. she crosses the street to get away from us and then stands there staring at us for 5 minutes as we continue walking.
9:00 - change clothes and get what we need for the talent show.
9:15 - walk to the talent show
9:40 - show up and help clean the hall.
10:00 - the show is supposed to start but the girl in charge has disappeared to get some stuff from her house. so we begin waiting
11:00 - get some fat cakes (beignets/friend dough) across the street. keep waiting.
11:30 - the teacher helping shows up. we think things will start. keep waiting.
11:45 - the teacher and girl in charge go away somewhere. keep waiting. play with some kids.
12:15 - they have a microphone. can we start? james falls asleep.
12:40 - actually start. james takes pictures, i judge the acts.
3:30 - it's over and we head home, getting a ride part of the way from one of the other judges and her NGO.
3:45 - our house is dirty. start cleaning.
5:45 - finally time to relax. there will be dinner, leftover cake, and tv. how long can we stay awake tonight?

Friday, November 5, 2010


7:00 - get up go
7:50 - stop by the school by our house and make sure the kids take the magazines to sell over the weekend and that the camp application forms will get passed out today. get serenaded happy birthday by the principal and 5 kids in the computer lab. there was dancing too.
8:30 - walk to the middle school to meet James. say hi to people along the way including an ethiopian salesman and contemplate all the different kinds of people I see in the village.
9:00 - help James finish up the recreation centre business plan and make the programme for the talent show tomorrow. get asked to be a judge for the talent show. distribute the camp applications to the middle school kids. they are freaking out excited.
11:30 - stop by the area office to say hi to people working there and then go look for a taxi to brits.
12:30 - get to brits starving. head over to the mall (now the old mall because there's a new mall but it's a far walk and we didn't want to take a taxi), afraid that the italian restaurant has moved to the new mall but really just moved across the corridor. pasta and salad makes for a delicious birthday lunch. other errands bring us to some clothing stores, stationary store, electronics stores and the hardware store. we run into some teachers and a principal and stop and chat. dying of thirst we stop for some iced tea before going back to get a taxi.
4:30 - the taxi rank is super crowded. get on the second taxi to come even though it won't take us very close to our house. when we get back to the village, we find out it rained a lot and the power is out.
5:30 - clean up and listen to some NPR on the satellite radio now that we have speakers for it.
7:00 - james is making me dinner. now I plan to eat food and cake, watch tv, and go to bed. we'll be up early for a funeral in the morning.

Thursday, November 4, 2010


7:00 – Up and do a bit of internet before tackling morning chores.
8:10 – Leave for school, on the walk discuss my birthday tomorrow, Mma wants James to do something for me, so we’re going to go to Brits and I’ll have to figure out something to buy.
8:40 – Check the mail, it’s pension day so there are about 50 old people camped in front of the post office. Collect camp applications from kids, remind a teacher I’m willing to help her with teaching math. Head into the computer lab and put the finishing touches on the rainwater grant and enter in the accepted kids into the computer.
9:30 – Make James check it over (and get told I need to bake cookies for the teachers at his school tomorrow for my birthday), then the principal, then go take pictures of people who are going to help with the garden to submit with the grant. Chit chat with the principal.
10:30 – Library time. Clean up a bit and then read the 2004 Kids Guinness Book of World Records while the young librarians read to the grade 2s. The grade 6 appears to actually be busy in class so we scrap them for today.
12:15 – Print some donation request letters for the camp to bring to businesses in Brits tomorrow and procrastinate a bit on the computer. Listen to the noise of the little kids who have been mysteriously let out of school more than an hour early.
1:45 - Let's go home. It looks like it's about to rain, mma calls to tell us to bring a bottle of her homemade wine to a neighbor to bring to this display tomorrow for small businesses (they are starting a jam, preserves, etc business) and stop at the shop to get a bottle of coke. the guy asks me if I want red or white coke (they think there is a difference but it's just reusable bottles made in a different year).
2:40 - Bake myself a birthday cake and cook some beets. We don't like beets that much but needed to cook them since mma gave them to us the other day. Amazingly the power stays on while I'm cooking though we get treated to nice rain and a rainbow.
6:45 - Beautiful sunset. Power goes out soon after.
8 something - It comes back on.
10:00 - After dealing with internet difficulties, submit the rainwater grant and contemplate going to bed.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


7:15 – Get up, the regular morning routine, check election results, especially sad about Arizona, Grijalva race hasn't been decided yet and just about everyone else I voted for lost. Maybe with Tom Horne as attorney general, his successor won't be as horrible to the education system, haha yeah right now he'll just stop lawsuits against his previously created unconstitutional policies and his replacement is about the same anyway. At least they didn't kill First Things First...
8:35 – Finally make my way to school.
8:40 – Gate is locked. Oops I shouldn't come late. Call someone to let me in.
8:45 – Take the kids who need to finish their articles to the computer lab. The principal, admin asst and volunteer are busy getting something ready to report to the area office. Everyone is going crazy. Working on the magazine layout, I am constantly interrupted by things like stuck shift keys and randomly appearing footnotes. What are they clicking that makes these things appear?
9:55 – I kick the kids out whether they are finished or not. Finally things are moving until
10:27 – Power goes out for a minute. Luckily it had autosaved and I only lost 5 minutes or so of work. James at his school with a ridiculous security policy wasn't so lucky.
11:30 – Eat some lunch. Samp and beans. Delicious. I don't know why I bring my lunch because they always make me eat the school lunch. And I scored two bananas.
12:15 – Magazine finally done. Start the copying process. First I copy the applications for the camp and an argument ensues about who has to pass them out since the person who volunteered said she is too busy now. It should take about 5 minutes. I tell them to do it tomorrow.
My copying keeps getting interrupted. I am joined by this boy who seems to find every excuse not to stay in class. At least he's practicing his English talking to me. I also keep getting called over to help my best computer student (one of the teachers) with something she is typing. Though she seems to have forgotten everything I taught her (bold, centering, font size, borders, etc), at least she's not afraid to type what she needs on her own.
2:05 – Done copying, I show the magazine to the teachers and principal. They are quite excited.
2:15 – Return to the computer lab to find out I've been kicked out because the volunteer wants to get a ride home. Ask nicely if I can go back in to get my water bottle cap.
2:20 – Cold drink (aka soda with the school management team...principal and head teachers) while watching boys clean the classroom.
2:40 – Head home. On the way, get called a lekgowa (white person) by a little boy. His parents also try to educate him that my name is Lebogang but it doesn't work. Also see some goats who have snuck into someone's yard and are lapping away at their water supply.
2:45 – Time to veg out for a while.
5:00 - I have been meaning to polish the floor for a while, Mma being out of town is a great excuse because it will surprise her when she gets back. Floor polishing is very popular here, but this is the first time we've attempted it. It takes a while since I have to sweep and wash the floor first. Plus I'm interrupted at least 4 times by kids wanting water. One gives me a kiss and when he comes back, another kid asks if it's true he gave me a kiss.
6:30 - Floor is sparkling. Let's make dinner, oops we forgot to buy bread, off to the shop before it's dark.
7:20 - I love bathing everyday again.
7:30 - Dinner and tv. And more TV till bed time.

Is this starting to get repetitive and boring yet??

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


5:45 – Again the sun wakes me up
6:30 – Get up, dishes, Morvite, make lunch because we've got bread, and ready to go to school
7:30 – Walk to school
8:00 – Arrive at school (this one is a bit farther away than the other) and talk to the principal about plans to apply for a grant to do some rainwater collection
8:05 – Attempt to do computer class with the one teacher who still wants to but attempt is thwarted because the principal didn't bring the USB modem today and the teacher wants to learn how to use the internet.
8:15 – Copy and distribute applications for our spring camp to all the kids in 4-6th grade. They get very excited when they hear there is going to be a sleepover, campfire, braai (bbq), AND talent show. I wish more could come.
9:30 – Stop by James' school across the street and we head over to the youth centre to talk to the manager about her plan to start feeding orphans and vulnerable children after school, promise to do more research on funders.
10:30 – Back at school, head into the library and start eating my lunch
10:45 – Young librarians (library assistants in grade 5 and 6) show up and we get the grade R (kindergarten) kids. They read to them, then the grade 1 kids. 30 minutes a class. Then grade 5 comes and I try to encourage them to read things that are not intended for grade R. An argument ensues over the extremely difficult 12 piece jigsaw puzzle that 8 boys are trying to put together at once. I make them put it away.
12:15 – Finally some time in the computer lab to work on proposals for the rainwater and borehole (well) projects.
1:05 – Leave early with James and one of the camp organizers to go ask the owner of a local bottle store (selling liquor, beer, and soda) for a donation. She's going to get back to us.
2:30 – Make it home. Snack time. Read for a while. Get talked into watching a movie (Mma is gone so it means we can watch whatever we want on the satellite tv.)
5:45 – Feel like I've been lazy so time for some gardening and laundry.
6:00 – Men show up to talk to James about the sports ground project. We have to help them fix their business plan by Friday, that will be fun. I continue pulling weeds. A neighbor shows up with an invitation for a tombstone unveiling in December. Our social calendar is getting too full.
7:15 – Super itchy from gardening (I find a nice bite from who knows what) so it's bath time.
7:30 – Sit down to watch last night's Monday night football but I'm already falling asleep so I come back to our house and end up watching a creepy documentary about a boy who murdered his classmate because he owed him 5 rand (less than $1).

Monday, November 1, 2010

a week in the life

One of our PCV friends did a series of posts last week about how she spent each day for the week so I thought, why not try it too. Hopefully, if anyone actually still reads our blog, it will be exciting for you to see more regular updates. If it's boring, sorry. Let's see if I can keep this up :)

5:45 – Woke up because it is already light outside at this time. Luckily I'm good at falling back asleep.
6:45 – Got up, washed dishes, had some Morvite (instant sorghum porridge), checked fantasy football scores (I had a good week, James not so much), cleaned the house a little, lamented that we had no bread to make sandwiches since we ate it all last night since the power was out and we couldn't cook dinner.
8:00 – Left for school.
8:05 – Arrived at school in the midst of assembly where I'm pretty sure the teachers were telling the children to check themselves for head lice. Hopefully I don't have head lice. Said hi to some of the teachers and headed to the computer lab to work on the layout for our second issue of the magazine. The kids asked if they could come in the computer lab to finish typing their articles so spent the morning alternating between helping them and trying to work on putting it all together. Finally kicked the kids out because they were on Encarta and not typing their articles and said they couldn't come back after lunch.
11:45 – Ate some split peas and mealie rice. Happy that the school lunch wasn't fish today so I could actually eat something.
12:00 – More magazine. Worked on the agenda for camp meeting and application form. A lot quiter now. Helped the AA with expenditure tracking for school lunch purchases.
1:30 – Headed towards the camp meeting. Hot and sweaty outside.
2:00 – Printed out stuff for the camp meeting at the middle school since we were out of ink at the primary school.
2:30 – Meeting started on time miraculously, but not until we had finished discussing why people would break up after dating for 7 years.
3:30 – Headed home, not quite as hot as before, bought some bread.
4:00 – Hung out reading and doing crosswords.
6:30 – Realized it was late and started making dinner.
7:30 – Dinner and TV time until I get too sleepy.