what a week it has been! This week was exam week, were we had a round robin of tests (9 total) in one day. It was mentally exhausting, and I spent most of the week in a semi-freakout state of mind. When the big day finally arrived it was in a whirlwind. I had my language test first, and struggled most of the way through in a mix of broken siswati and the english I really wanted to say. I did mange to learn some pretty cool words and slang, so at least I still have my wit and charm 🙂 My favorite words are: Babe (Bobbi (that one is CAKE))meaning father. Ngibuya (knee-boo-yah (which I say more like BOOO-YA!)) meaning I am from. Ngiyacabanga (knee-ya-ka-bang-a) meaning I’m thinking (it reminds me of kabinga- the made up word my family likes to say when they are freezing their ____ off) I have also mastered the phrase: “ngidziniwe” which means I’m tired and can get you out of most conversations as well as “uhlekani” which means why are you laughing at me- which only makes people laugh harder, but it will usually change the subject. As you can see, I will be calling siswati my second language in no time (cough…cough), but at least I’m entertaining…
at any rate I’m happy that I got through test week, and at least had something to say. We also got to talk about our permanent sites and what we preferred to do for work, what area we’d like and what luxuries were most important to us (ie: water, electricity, miles from work). This info is not a guarantee of what we will get, but it gives them a base to work from. I have requested to keep my city slick’n ways and be as urban as they can get me. This will not mean I will be living above a Starbucks in a bustling city, but will more likely be similar to where I am now- a 1-2 hour walk to “town” which makes Vicksburg MI look like NYC (although there IS a “chinese food restaurant AND a KFC in my town now). I prefer the city, and more so, the city mentality of this culture. Swaziland is very conservative, especially in regards to womens rights- and I have found that people that are from cities here are the most accepting of new/different people and western ideas. I have also requested my own hut on a homestead. I am currently living in a small room (Kristen, its not much bigger than the closet I had with you) that is situated off the main house, so we share a wall. It hasn’t been too horrible, but gogo snores, and thanks to the vent at the top of the wall, they also know exactly when I go to sleep from the glow of my laptop- not my favorite. So in a few weeks I may have to hike a mountain to get buckets of water, or rely on candle-light after dark- but I will have 4 of my own walls, and be near a city. Its a lottery, so we’ll see what I end up with!
Can I just take a second to say I just made apple sauce… with real apples, and cinnamon and Mott’s has nothing on this stuff! Amazing….
the coming week should be exciting, we get a Peace Corps style vacation!! sunday we are heading to a game park to see some animals- which will be the first wild life I have seen in swaziland (outside of the packs of cows I dodge on the way to school, or the starving family dog). The rest of the week we will be doing random exploring with a Sagoma (traditional healer), then learning how to plant a garden (wish me luck on that one, not one of my fingers is slightly green in color), and then we stop in the biggest city of swaziland, and I hear there is a McDonald’s there- HELLO big mac! It will be nice to spend a little time outside of our bubble, even if it still has peace corps logos all over it.
I’ve received a few emails asking if there is anything I need, and I’m generally OK. If you want to send snacks that would be welcome. Bobbi, I really miss my coffee cup, so a travel mug would make me so happy I could cry- I will also add in this statement that a case of camel pack water bottles (with a straw) would be awesome. I came with 3 different water bottles and one cracked in my suitcase, one shattered when I tried putting coffee in it (whoops) and my last remaining one leaks, so it constantly looks like I’m drooling on myself. Not a good look when your trying to make friends 🙂 other than that feel free to send me letters. If you ever wanted a pen pal, now is your chance! I have literally wasted time at night staring at the wall so I could say I went to bed after 7:30pm. WRITE ME! Much love from eKhiza!