December 13, 2008

20 minutes to summarize another week

We received site announcements today. I am going to Qacha's Nek. "Qacha" is pronounced with a click noise in the beginning, otherwise it's exactly how you'd think it would be pronounced.
I HAVE A PHONE: (to call from the us) 011+266+59167839
you can purchase 15 minute phone cards from 711 for about $10, feel free to call me (I don't really have regular hours as of now that I can tell you I can pick up, but in a few weeks I will). I will try my best to pick up, but there are tons of situations here where I can't (but it shouldn't eat up the phone card).
Back to Qacha's Neck: I will have a rondavel, and to get to it from one of the two highways in the country (the only paved roads outside of the capital) I have to take a boat across a river and then hike up a mountain. I WILL HAVE A BIKE (at some point, it's currently nonoperational from what I hear). The site sounds really good and I'm excited to meet my family (I think 3 more weeks?)

Now to try to summarize the week:
Apparently the words in Sesotho for "little boy's penis" and "rainbow" are very similar, replace an o for an a, and you can really confuse people when you talk about how much you love rainbows.
I received my first letters since I've been here (and no packages yet). They were letters 2, 4, and 5 from my mother (thanks mom)... so realize that stuff always ends up getting to me, but it may be delayed etc.
I've been here a month. That still kind of blows my mind.
My pit latrine has a spider in it. Apparently it's a Brown Button Spider, South Africa's second deadliest (which makes it not at all deadly), but does mean that I can't even poop in peace here. I also saw a wasp fly down the hole right after I opened the door to my latrine. Needless to say I waited half an hour before coming back.
I finished my practice teaching at school. I taught my kids about metaphors and similes, and they really grasped the concept, which made me feel terrific (a lot of other teachers had a hard time getting concepts by, for a lot of different reasons). The last question on the test required the students to write a new metaphor about themselves. The most interesting was, "I am a fat dog". Americans might assume that this was self depreciating, however being fat (especially for women) is a very desirable trait here, so she was actually being self appreciative.
Also, students don't "cheat" in Lesotho, they "confer with collegues". The kids have tried to pull all sorts of things with the teachers, but don't really get away with anything, as we're pretty good at not falling for their ruses. This will be a lot easier at site, as we'll be able to establish ourselves as people who aren't going to fall for lame deceipts. They do love their check marks (they will actually do extra work and try to do real well if you promise them a sticker/red check mark on their papers).
I found ants in both my sugar and peanut butter. This IS Africa (and I am a volunteer without a lot of money), so I just mixed them in.
I walked in to my current house the other day and the thermometer on my travel clock was so nice as to inform me that it was 105 degrees Fahrenheit. It doesn't feel like Christmas.

Ok, so I gotta jet. I realize a lot of people have been asking me what kinds of things I'd like, so I compiled a small, cheap list of little stuff that I would appreciate:
New Yorker magazine
News magazines (just about any, used ones are very acceptable)
Notecards (I can't find them anywhere, and they'd definitely help me with my language training)
A book of chess puzzles/any xword puzzle books
A french/english dictionary.
A good knife that I can use for cooking
Mix cds, I'm hurting for music (my computer and ipod crashed days before I left). Specifically I would love any Johnny Cash and any Q and Not U.

Love all yall, my next update will probably be after Xmas, in which case, PEACE AND MERRY CHRISTMAS



K said...

Phone cards are great! They are very easy to use and so helpful.

Anonymous said...

Hey Brett-- I sent you the New yorker, some notecards and crossword puzzles. I also sent some things from Delicious Orchards- let me know if you get them.
We have snow here in New Jersey. I will be thinking of you on Christmas. Maura just got back from her hike in the Himalayas- she has some adventures to talk about as well.
I love you and I miss you. Mom