Friday, May 20, 2011

Cats Funerals Elections and Work

We have recently started to possess a cat. We do not own this cat and do not feed it, but it likes us quite a lot. It started about two months ago when I had the great urge to pet our next door neighbor's cats. No such thing was possible as they would not come within twenty feet of me so we bought two cans of tuna fish and started leaving out a tuna/lentil combo every night which was gone by morning. After a few days of this, we put it out earlier in the evening and then sat patiently inside until the cats showed up at which point we snuck outside and watched while they finished their meal. The next step was to sit outside the whole time they were eating. Finally, we tried to pet them. One of them, the dominant one of the two, allowed petting, but the other still won't come near us. At that point the feeding stopped (we had also just run out of tuna fish). We have not fed the cats in almost two months but the dominant cat comes to our door every day. She will walk with me to and from the bathroom or wherever I may be going as long as I stay inside the yard. She loves being petted, and it seems that that is her only incentive for hanging outside our door all day long as it never results in food. It's kind of the perfect relationship as I like her but not enough that I will be sad to leave her behind.

Last weekend, we attended the funeral of our host mother's nephew in law. It was a sad funeral because he had died in a car accident, but it was a wonderful time to be with our extended family here. We had to spend the night because it was in a nearby village and funerals start so early in the morning that you can't really get there on a taxi at that hour. Spending the night in an unfamiliar place is always a bit nerve-wracking because you never know how much time will be spent just sitting around with no one to talk to since Mma was of course busy taking care of the immediate family. That was not the case at all though as we arrived just when our sister and her kids arrived as well as our cousin. It was great to spend time with all of them. In some ways, even though this was a funeral for a person I didn't really know, I felt like I was getting a chance to attend my grandma's funeral. I know that's a silly thought, but it was the first time I got to be in a family oriented setting since she died and it was really nice.

This week was the municipal elections in South Africa. As Peace Corps volunteers we are not allowed to have political opinions, so I will just say that the election for ward counselor in our village was quite interesting and quite different from in nearby wards. We had 3 candidates, an ANC candidate, a DA (democratic alliance) candidate, and an independent candidate. The ANC candidate won with 57% while the DA candidate got 18% and the independent got 22%. In most other wards around us, the ANC had 80% or more of the votes so it was a relatively close election.

We've been really busy wrapping things up at our schools lately. If our early COS gets approved, we have only 5 more weeks of school and there's lots to do. It's been great finally getting to do things I've wanted to for the past two years. I have done some workshops for teachers and have been helping the English teacher a lot at one school. We're also getting the books organized at each school which is a bit of a task since they all have different levels of shelving situations. The community service club has been sponsoring after-school activities for the younger kids which has been crazy but fun. I'm also doing a leadership retreat for one school's prefects next week which I'm excited about. All in all things are going quite well, but it's crazy to think about how soon we'll be leaving.

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