Brought to you by KFC
I’ve had the opportunity to meet all kinds of people on this epic adventure. One of my dear friends is the owner of all the KFC’s in Swaziland. Yes, KFC, as in Kentucky Fried Chicken- random I know. He called Kelley and I up last week and invited us to the Swaziland Music Awards. KFC was sponsoring the event, and he had double VV IP tickets, would we like to go? OH YEAH!
Kelley and I sorted through our beaten and worn out collection of long skirts and hole strewn jeans, and decided we needed a wardrobe upgrade for this prestigious, formal event. We rounded up 100 rand each (this is about 30 bucks each), and hit Mr. Price, the only cheap store in SD that could compete with Forever 21. Gotta say, we did pretty well. Although all of my friends, and essentially everyone in Swaziland are under 5ft tall, I resembled Godzilla in my red pumps- the event was a success and it felt good to get dressed up.
The next day we went to my new favorite spot in Swaziland, the Montanga Falls. This place is beautiful, and not far from our friends houses. We go there nearly every time we are in town, to go for a swim upstream to the base of the water fall and when we feel extra adventurous, leap from nearby cliffs. Its pretty much an amazing way to spend an afternoon.
Sunday was Superbowl, and you better believe living on the other side of the globe can’t keep 60 American football fans from watching. Nearly every PCV in country took over Bombasos to watch the game on a small TV. I had arranged a deal with my friend KFC Rob to provide chicken for the event, and I wish terribly I had pictures of me carrying 4 LARGE shopping bags of fried chicken through town, and then stacking them into a small pick up truck cab. So much fried chicken I couldn’t see out any of the windows, and a week later I’m certain I can still smell it. The group was very happy, and nearly everyone stayed awake to see the Giants victory, which is impressive since the game started at 1am and went through 5:30am in SD. Go Giants!
The following day I started training for the Peer Support Network (PSN), which is the leadership position I was elected for a few months ago. It was a great training, and I feel in love with our group all over again. I am constantly amazed at how well 30 people can get along, especially when faced with such a, sometimes, challenging situation. G9 is an amazing group of volunteers, and I feel very lucky to be a part of it. The training week was the kick of motivation I needed. On our last day of training our PCMO (peace corps medical officer) invited us over to her house for dinner, which was a nice change of scenery too. When we crossed through her door it was like walking out of Swaziland and into an ordinary American house- it felt good. It may have been the boxed wine, or smell of home cooked food, or the rediscovered love for my fellow PCVs, but I gotta admit, I was a tad emotional. It was a good week.
I decided to stay one more night after training. My city friends were heading to the only night club in SD called House on Fire for a special event, and our friend was Djing- I had to go. It was another epic evening- dancing, signing out loud, even a few valentines day games (which my friend enthusiastically joined in on, and ended up with her picture spread across all the Swazi newspapers on Monday).
The next day I was heading home, with all my loot, I lug all across the country. My backpack was heavy and my purse was stuffed to the max. it was starting to thunder, and drizzling when I was half way to the bus rank. Then the sky opened up and it started pouring. The lightening was so close, I swear I was going to be struck down. Which actually, happens a lot here. EVERYONE in Swaziland can name at least 10 people they know personally that have been stuck by lightening- In fact… I can too! Lightening here is insane. As I was running for cover, my shoe broke. My only back up pair? My red pumps from the music awards… I decided that getting back to site was not worth me dying of a lightening strike or the embarrassment of wearing red pumps in my community– I turned around and with one shoe walked back to my friends house.
The next day, safe from the storm, I tried to venture home again. It was Sunday, but I left town by 3pm, so I thought I would be OK. I forgot to take into consideration the recent transport problems in Siteki. A few years back the government had built this multi-million rand, swanky, new bus rank. It has sat on the outskirts of town for literally years, unused because of its poor location. For some reason a couple weeks ago, someone, somewhere, decided it needed to be utilized… and right now. There were transport strikes, fines, tickets, a couple riots– and after about a week, the new bus rank was up and running. The commuters, drivers etc are not happy about this, and when I rolled up on sunday at 4pm it was evident. The rank was nearly empty. The last bus usually leaves at 6, so I thought I had time… but I waited and waited… and waited… and waited… it was not looking good. There were a few other people waiting for my khombi, so I had hope, but a few at a time they would run off to chase trucks filling up their buckies with passengers. Oh! I forgot to mention its murula season. Murula is a home brewed beer. This stuff is potent and everywhere. All the guys hanging around the rank were drunk, carrying around 2 liters of this stuff. Being the token white person, I was a target of their slurred conversations. At one point a particular drunken guy in a Cubs T-shirt grabbed my backpack and went running around the rank screaming “I’m a tourist!” I was not in the mood for this… I chased him down, and gave him a nice derby hip check as I grabbed my bag back. The rest of the drunken boys were impressed… and they stopped talking to me… god bless the roller derby.
A bus finally came around 7pm, and I made it home. I have never been so happy to see my bucket bath and my little hut. Its strange being back at site though, life is so much slower in Tikhuba, and it takes time to get use to the pace after 8 days away. There is also a lot of roadblocks getting in the way of my work here– so it makes “slow going”, even slower. I’m optimistic it will pick up soon. Hardest part about the peace corps experience so far, is that even when I’m busy, I’m not BUSY. This is something I am still getting use to.