I helped out with a friend’s project last week and slipped out of my village for a few days. The arrival of the rains has left me relieved in more ways than one. If you recall, I planted a few dozen trees last week. Planting day at my support group’s plot was one of heavy lifting and manual labor. After the ladies of my group dug a dozen holes, my counterpart and a new friend helped me fill them. There has been a big problem with water shortages, so we took a pick-up truck to the river to fill 20L barrels. We made a couple trips as my partners insisted on giving each sapling a full drink. I think we all had a good feeling of accomplishment afterward, though the watering process is not sustainable. The skies had me covered – the rains arrived the very next afternoon and it has been raining virtually every day here. The temperature and greenery are both changing because of it. I took a bath that was too cold, which was a first since September. Green grass has been revived and I think my trees are going to make it. The rains have also given rise to more bugs (though being so close to the desert minimizes the mosquitoes for me).
I managed to celebrate and eat well at a great Thanksgiving with friends. There was no tofurky this year, but everything else was fitting to an American Thanksgiving: we had butternut squash (pumpkin) pie, roasted chickens, stuffing, rolls, potatoes, greens, and drinks. It was great company, and there was some cross-culture at play while we introduced some locals to our American traditions, and dispelling an assumption that we have none.
I came home this weekend to find my lights were installed – only shortly afterward my power went out. I think there was some poor workmanship involved, because the ceiling has caved in as well. It’s some consolation that my water returned after its 6-week hiatus; although I can’t cook and all my food spoiled, at least I have water. Last night I heated beans over a candle in personal protest of the cursed slow-moving power corporation. It’s always one thing or another, I guess.
On another note, I finished The Fate of Africa by Martin Meredith – a hefty book, but I highly recommend it, especially to my Peace Corps friends. It’s interesting to learn the history of this place, once being so naïve about it. I doubt many of the people in Botswana know the extent to which leaders (both foreign and native) have exploited virtually every surrounding nation. We’re lucky here to have a clean history of good governance and peace.
The calendar is quickly turning over to December and the holidays are in full swing here. It will be interesting to see just how much the productivity slows, though maybe it will be a welcome break for relaxation and festivities. I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving!