MIA

4.3.12 its been a LONG week- not even sure where to start. So i’ll just do this by short stories…

DROP DEAD GEORGEOUS HEELS

A few weeks ago, I was preparing for my weekend in town with my friends at the man cave. I started my thursday ritual of cleaning my hut, washing clothes and dishes in preparation for my weekend absence. I dragged out my large basin for laundry, and pulled out one of the US Postal boxes I use for storage, from under my kitchen “counter”. As I found the soap inside, and returned it to its dusty perch, I noticed something moving behind the box next to it. It didn’t register at first (as I was on my fist cup of coffee), so I just carried on soaping the water and soaking a few items of clothing. Then it hit me… that wasn’t a spider, no- it was much bigger. It wasn’t a mouse, it was too slow. I should take another look. I slowly pulled out the box and a long, sleek, black streak dashed to the space between the cinder block and the wall. “oh crap- thats a black mamba”, I said out loud to myself. My knees immediately started to shake, and I jumped back on my bed. I sent a text to my friend Kelley, hoping that by telling someone what I had just seen, it would sound more real to my brain. I considered screaming for help, but I was alone on my homestead. I pondered running outside, but it was hiding rather close to the door, and I didn’t want it to find another hiding spot.

I must take care of this myself. I was amazingly calm as I pulled the bottom cinder block from the wall, and searched the back wall for the black coil that had invaded my house. It jumped at me once, but I was wearing my heeled boots, which give me a extra power boost of confidence when deadly critters are in my presence. I snatched my mop, which was leaning on a nearby wall, and pinned it against the wall. The handle wasn’t very long, and only allowed me to search a small diameter of the floor around me for something to deliver a deadly blow. My fingers dragged along the cold cement floor, eager to find something sharp, or heavy– they arrived on my 5 inch red pumps. I weighted the shoe in one hand, while still pinning the snake with the mop in the other. This will have to do. I could see the head sticking up through the ragged ropes of the mop, so I aimed with the pointed end of the heel. BAAA! BAAAA! BAAA! The snake wavered a bit, like a cartoon character that was seeing a halo of stars circling its head, but managed to escape the grasp of my mop. It was flopping, and flipping all over my floor, jumping clumsily towards the door. It probably would have gone outside eventually, but I had pissed it off now, and I didn’t want it coming back for revenge, so I was going to finish the job. I flipped over the mop and used the handle to fling the nearly dead snake outside my door. It was stunned as it hit the warm, red dirt and I took the opportunity to whack it a few more times with the handle of the mop. It laid there, motionless except for a slight quiver in its tail. With my boots, mop in one hand and pump in the other, I approached to check for signs of life. I lunged weakly at my toes, and I lunged forward with my high heel delivering blows one after another, until it nearly broke in half.

I was jubilant! It wasn’t until I sat on my stoop staring at the dead pile of snake laying in the dirt, that I realized. HOLY CRAP I just killed a BLACK MAMBA!! I broke out my camera phone, and texted all my friends, bragged on facebook. I felt like a real african warrior! I proudly moved my kill to the ledge of my house, so I could show any visitor that happened to stop by. No one in my community could believe it. Even my swazi friend said they wouldn’t have the guts to kill a mamba. It was only about a foot long, but apparently this little guy has enough venom to kill an adult in a few seconds. My friend Mandla was probably right, this day was the closest I will ever be to death in my life. Despite all that, I am still quite prod of myself, and have since completely laid to rest my fear of snakes. If I can take on the most deadly snake in the world with a high heel…. I can do anything.

THIS LITTLE PIGGY SNAPPED IN HALF

Kelley and I were hanging out at the man cave on a friday night when it happened. She missed a step going up to the veranda, and fell straight on her face (sorry sisi). It was only a few seconds before her toe and the arch of her foot swelled up to twice it’s size. We thought maybe it was dislocated at first, and took turns feeling around the swollen area. It was late, so we wrapped it up, elevated it and let it rest on a bag of ice.

The next day we were leaving to Wysdale, my favorite place in Swaziland (you may remember the london bus camp from previous blogs). Kelley was feeling better in the morning and the swelling had gone down some so we figured it was just a sprain and loaded up the 4x4s. By the time we got to the campsite, her foot looked like a purple balloon. We kept her hostage, with her foot up. Kieren, Matthew and I took turns tending to her and showing off our first aid training.

Despite the injury, we had an amazing night camping in the mountains. We ate like kings on the stone brii, fell asleep staring at the brightly lite night sky and woke up to a lazy morning enjoying the last warm rays of summer peaking over the mountains surrounding us.

When we returned home Kelley went to see the PC Medical Officer. A few x-rays confirmed she had broken her second biggest toe, and chipped a bone in her big toe. She spent the week in the “Med Hut”, hobbling around with a cane, and resting. What a trooper.

PINKY PAIN

When we returned from camping we were all so exhausted. We were like zombies, dropping all over the house, and wandering through doorways aimlessly. George and I were on dinner duty, but there wasn’t a clean dish in the house- as usual. I stacked the dishes up by the sink until they were towering over me and began the tedious job. After about an hour I was down to the cups- the end was in sight.

I pulled a small cup out of a larger one, where it was stuck, and began to was the inside. With the first soapy plunge into the glass, the sides gave way and shattered. My pinky was caught in the debris, with a large shard sticking straight out of the tip of my finger, right above the joint. Boy, did I scream! Blood was pulsing out of my finger, and I was already becoming light headed. George, who isn’t one for blood, left me at the sink, as I tried to hold it above my head, and under the cold water at the same time. He came running back a minute later with gauze and tape. It took 3 bandages to get the bleeding under control.

The next day I headed (with Kelley and her toe) into the Peace Corps medical office. Stitches were needed, so they sent me to the Mbabane Medical Clinic. It was a really nice building, with floor to ceiling windows, a view of the mountains, new furniture in the waiting area- I was impressed. When it was my turn, they led me into the “minor operating theatre”. This room was a little less impressive, and more like a torture room out of a SAW horror movie. The room was bare, and FREEZING cold. The floor was worn, and the rusty metal cabinets didn’t add any charm to the room. I sat on the operating table as the nurse assembled all of the sharp, sterile tools the doctor would need for my stitches.

The doctor was very nice, and did a good job. Although on more than one occasion he had to ask me to sit back because I was watching the procedure too closely. In just a few minutes I was heading out the door with 5 stitches in my pinky finger, and a huge bandage wrapped over it. Its been over a week now, and my stitches have been removed (although that was WAY more traumatizing- that nurse did not know what she was doing…).

My finger will survive and I will have a nice battle wound to remember why I’m exempt from doing dishes at the man cave.

STRANDED

while my life has been eventful in the last couple weeks, so has life in Manzini. Manzini is the largest city in Swaziland, and the major transportation hub. Basically, if your going somewhere in SD, your going through Manzini. Because there is so much traffic, the city had planned to move all eastbound transportation to a satellite bus rank a few blocks away from the main rank. This plan has been in the works for years, but for some reason or another it was never officially put into action. In the last couple weeks, they have been trying to implement this plan.

Public transport operators are not happy, nor are the surrounding markets that make their money from the travelers… or the travelers that now have to use a secondary bus rank in the same city. Because I am included in this eastbound deboccole, I have been stuck in Mbabane for the last (almost) week. The protests haven’t been violent or threatening in any way to my safety- but transport has basically stopped going east towards my house in Siteki.

A few volunteers have tried to get around Manzini to get home, and spent their day aimlessly traveling around the country and eventually ending up back in Mbabane. I am lucky that I have such amazing friends that have adopted me, fed me, and let me use their washing machine (yes! WASHING MACHINE!). I am a lucky girl 🙂

I have been busy, while being stranded. I’m working on a couple new projects, and helping do design work for a couple NGO initiatives. I spent 12 hours in front of my computer just yesterday, listening to Lil Wayne and reuniting with my design skills that I haven’t used in years. It feels good 🙂

this past weekend, a proper summer day even graced our presence long enough for a trip to the dam. I spent the day soaking in the sun, swimming, and even spent a few hours tubbing behind a speed boat! Jealous? In summary, sorry I have been MIA, I am alive and well in Swaziland. 🙂

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