Friday, October 19, 2007

Hello blog world

I know, I know, it’s been awhile (as usual) since I updated you on my Peace Corps (hereafter PC) adventure. I suppose that’s mostly because of the old adage: “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.” And you are all probably internet savvy enough to know that maintaining a blog involves a good deal of self-censorship. There are things that could be written here that could easily be misinterpreted or just involve airing things far more publicly than they should be. But for anyone who thinks that PC volunteers have it easy: guess again. This ‘work’ is filled with frustration and a lot of wondering as to whether you made the right choices along the way. It makes you wonder if your being here makes any difference and if external events will ever allow you to be effective.

But, I’m going to try to keep the rest of this light.

I’ve been gradually increasing my cooking repertoire, which has been a lot of fun. My work’s got internet and I have COPIOUS amounts of time to surf it, so I’ve been able to do a fair amount of recipe hunting. So far, I’ve managed a lovely aloo gobi (even tasted the way I meant it to, amazingly enough!) and two kinds of muffins (banana and chocolate/oatmeal/raisin). Two nights ago I used the soya mince that they sell in the stores to make a nice sauce by grating in four tomatoes. It strikes me as odd that this vegetarian meat product should be so readily available in SA, but I think it’s supposed to be used when you can’t afford to buy any meat. I’m not a vegetarian, never fear, but I don’t really enjoy or practice the cooking of meat. Call me lazy. Also lacking a refrigerator. Oh, and I bought 2% milk yesterday (I’ve only ever seen whole milk before) and it was such a treat!

I was having a chat with my host siblings last weekend, as we sat and I read my new Sepedi book (for 1st graders). (On a side note: the kids are all in either grade 1 or 2 and none of them could read it. They either pretended or simply repeated what I read out loud to them.) Jumpo (the girl) was peering around me (I was sitting on the stoop) and asked where my baby was. She was utterly shocked when I told her that I didn’t have one. I suspect it was because of a combination of my age and gender. I’m not knocking anyone who chooses to have children at an early age (and that’s certainly the norm here), but I was really sad that she simply expected all young women to have a baby and couldn’t seem to fathom someone NOT having a child. Young unmarried women with children are a very high risk group for AIDS, if only by virtue of the fact that they’re obviously practicing unsafe sex. I don’t want my little sister to assume that there aren’t alternatives.

And we had a TORRENTIAL downpour earlier in the week. I’ve got some photos that I can upload at some point, but it was insane! The usually dry river beds were absolutely full and moving SO fast. Anything that could be a channel for the water was and there was blueberry sized hail. My taxi had to turn around in Mamone and take the tar road to Marishane because the road had been washed out. I now completely understand the idea of flash floods. And one think that I enjoy is that there are always rainbows afterwards, because the sun is out as soon as the clouds clear away. Many nights I can see the lighting in the distance, enveloped in clouds, and that’s also beautiful.

And finally, we’re having an at-site party at another volunteer’s house tomorrow night for the rugby match. I don’t know how many of the others are coming, but I’m looking forward to hanging out and not watching it by myself! The Boy has been nervous from yesterday and I’m worried about the state of his stomach. Oh, and Mandela recorded a very nice message to the Springboks that they replayed on the radio. But, I'm still not cheering for them.