Thursday, September 8, 2011
A Bit Scattered...
OMG! There is so much to say!
Umhlanga (Reed Dance) was so fun and beautiful. I even got to see some of the princesses and the king. Unfortunately, we had to leave pretty early since it started on Swazi time (which amazingly enough is pretty darn close to the Kunkel time that I have been adapting to my whole life :) and the Peace Corps has a one night away during the first 3 months of integration rule. Still, it was nice to spend some time figuring out how to move around this country, and tiring. We had to rush to make the last khumbi home and then do an in transit swap with a khumbi that was going to continue in our direction. I got back after dark, and it is scary walking here when you can’t see five feet in front of your face. Luckily I was able to ask the khumbi driver to let me off at the road to my house that is more populated and therefore a little wider, meaning that there is more space between the scary tall grass and me, that anything could pop out of. Also, all of the families that live along the bigger road know me. So if something were to happen I would ask them for help and they would not hesitate at all. This makes me realize the real importance of integration.
Then the next day back we went to meet the Inkhundla, which is a gathering (place) of bucopho (Headmen/chiefs) for the surrounding 5 chiefdoms including Mkhuzweni. It was very nice to meet all of them. They are seem very supportive of Mia and me, and are willing to work with us on anything. The Inkhundla is like the local court house, it is where any local issues are solved. Afterwards we went into town to see if my chair was ready and to get a few groceries. Chair was not ready….still chairless.
However, I did get enough groceries to make dinner for/with Make and Bhuti (Derek/Mfanafuthi). It is actually a pretty exciting point that bhuti has been home for the past couple of weeks. He is awesome!! I am a little sad that he went back to the University of Swaziland today.
This dinner Make and I made was unreal- it was so good. We made a veggie stir fry with chicken and then combined it with fried rice. YUM! After this night Make got a cat (Lihle) from Mia’s counterpart. So, as a thank you for the cat I invited her to family dinner that Saturday night (which now we have decided to make an every week thing) along with Mia. We all cooked together and it was again, amazingly delicious! I have to give a shout out to the Pilates Innovations crew in Columbus for sending me 2 wonderful packages with the spices that made all of this great cooking possible- Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!! There is a letter in the mail to you all as soon as I get to town to mail it J The second dinner was pasta with a homemade sausage gravy. We sautéed the sausage with onions, garlic, and green peppers then added a ton of fresh tomatoes and spices/herbs. We made garlic rolls to go with it all and finished the meal with freshly sliced pineapple and sweet bananas. Yum!
Ok, I must apologize. I have been writing this same blog post forever. Hopefully I can finish it up today. School starts (or is supposed to start**) next Tuesday so, I have been trying to make my way around this gigantic community while avoiding the heat of the day to draw a map for my community report due at the end of integration. Seriously, this community is huge. I don’t think that one could walk around the village if they walked all day. I am supposed to be walking now but my phone is charging and Make doesn’t really want me to walk alone, so the least that I can do is take a charged phone with me.
** It turns out that school will not start on Tuesday.
A few days ago I discovered this AWESOME spot. It is perfect for just sitting and thinking. It feels kind of wild because there are no houses near by, even though it’s got paths running through it, and it sits opposite another hill/mountain so the view is great. It turns out that after further investigation there is another area of Mkhuzweni (imagine that, this place is HUGE) on the opposite hill from my homestead that feels the same way.
I saw my first snake a few days ago. It was dead lucky for me, not so much for the snake. It was a light mocha brown. I think it had been trampled by cattle. Hopefully that takes care of my snake quota for Africa.
Sorry that this has been so scattered. I guess that creating a post over a few days is a bad idea for coherence.. next time I'll be sure that I have plenty of time to write a whole update in one sitting.