Sunday, September 11, 2011

Sundays in Swaziland

OK. So, Make has been to church 3 days in a row now, they are doing some sort of marathon thing, and I am feeling like a total bum. Since it's Sunday and at my homestead everyone is allowed to worship as they like (and they all do, a lot) I have decided that to make myself feel better, both productive and thankful, that I will designate some time each Sunday while Make is at church to write a blog entry. It's hard not going to a Swazi church because one of the first questions people ask you when they meet you is, ‘Are you a Christian, where do you go to church?’. While I would qualify myself as a spiritual, and maybe a religious person, I am pretty uncomfortable with organized religion and even more so in this country. Now, in designating this time on each Sunday I can feel like I am having my own connection, and less guilty about telling people that I don’t go to church here.

Anyhow, I forgot to mention something in my last blog post, about our latrine.  I saw one of the mice/rats that lives in there before I scare it out every time I have to go out there (usually it flees before I even open the door). It has a very cute face, but still gives me the shivers. I also have named one of the many lizards that is in there practically every time, even after my efforts to scare everything out before I even open the door. It fits quite nicely between 2 cinder blocks. I decided that his name is Earl because the way he looks at me reminds me of the song by the Dixie Chicks – Goodbye Earl. Not that I would ever try to poison him with Black eyed peas. Do lizards even eat legumes? I found his brother’s tail in my kitchen this morning. That was disturbing especially since I think that something has to be threatening it when it loses its tail. Which means that something bigger and scarier than a lizard was in my hut last night. It’s possible that this thing was Lihle, the kitten that my Make got. For some reason she left Lihle outside last night and the little stinker managed to climb in through my window. I think that I put her out (she has fleas and she really needs to be Make’s cat) pretty soon after she got in though, not to mention the fact that she is way more interested in human attention than catching any lizards.

Yesterday evening we got to go to one of my neighbor’s (Matsebula) Umtsimba (traditional wedding). It was so fun!! We got there in our traditional wear (emahiya) and greeted a TON of people who were just so excited to see us. We met a lot of really nice, friendly people who are so supportive and happy that we are even trying to ‘be Swazi’ (integrate). However, one thing that comes with traditional weddings is alcohol and in this culture a bunch of drunk men and boys can be very intimidating and sometimes scary. Luckily Nelsi, Mia’s counterpart came with us to help us diffuse some of the situations. For example, a married man refusing to stop talking to Mia and I while we were trying to watch the awesome dancing and singing (I have pics and videos that I will post when I get a chance to go to an internet cafĂ©). By talking I mean repeatedly asking us why we won’t date/marry/go with him, all while being (very) in our personal space. We did answer his questions at first, you know the standard where are you from, what are you doing here, etc. but as drunk people anywhere will do, he forgot the answers and would just go through the cycle again. Oh well, it all turned out alright and I suppose things like this can really happen anywhere.
Another little, but thing that I loved, was all of the kids! One little girl and her brother(?) came and sat by me as we were waiting for the wedding to start. They both hung out with us all night. Near the middle of the wedding I picked the little boy up so that he could see and he fell asleep on my hip. They reminded me so much of all of my cousins (kids) and Layla and Angie’s kids and Greyson and Shelby. I miss you guys!!!! It was a nice reminder of what really matters here though. I think keeping that in mind will be easier for me once school starts. The kids here are all so great, amazingly well behaved, and love any kind of attention. Heart melting stuff, really.

Speaking of school- I am not sure when that is going to start. There has been some issues with everything that needs to happen between the schools and govt before schools can start. I hope that they start soon. I am realizing that I really am waiting to get started on a lot there. I have tried to do some things in the community, but it is SO big and I don’t want to start something that I won’t be able to finish once school starts. I’m not even sure that I could draw a map of Mkhuzweni before I would get too busy with school, it’s that big (roughly 600 homesteads). I have however discovered one really awesome project for me to pursue, something that is community wide- A community English club!! It will be open to anyone in the community who is interested in practicing or improving their English. The idea was brought to me by a Rural Health Motivator (RHM) that I met while hanging out with Mia and her counterpart, while they were doing productive things. She came to me and said that she wanted me to teach her English. It is also a great opportunity for young mothers, who maybe didn’t get to finish school. So, I am going to start with it being targeted at those groups. I will go with Mia and Nelsi to the RHM meetings and rural baby weighings and set up a schedule with those who are interested. I am SO excited!!

Next weekend we are taking a mini vacation. It will be a celebration of all of the PCVs with September birthdays. I am going to take off school (if it has started) on Friday and leave early in the morning so that I have time to stop by the PC office to pick up some mail and packages (and maybe shower). Then we are all going to Sondzela’s backpackers, which is near the Milwane Nature reserve (we had a trip here during training) and DJ Cleo will be at House on Fire that night!! Yay.

OK, Happy Sunday everyone. I miss you all and can’t wait to hear from/see you.


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