September 11, 2013
Didn’t realize it was 9-11 till I wrote the date. Not something of note here.
Kids. There’s an ever-changing number of kids here, as they go off to visit relatives, or return from visits or just come over to play. Monday I think I was the only adult here with about 7 little ones ranging in age from 2-13. All played together. One of the games involved rolling tires around the big house, laughing loudly. Then races, 2 at a time, with the other kids first yelling, “on you mark, get ready, get set, GO!!!” then cheering wildly for one of the racers. The 13 year old often let the littler ones win. One youngster had bike tire rim that he raced with a stick. He was good, too! Later the littlest ones went off for some indecipherable game involving baskets and lots of giggles.
When the adults returned, it was time to go get water from the tap. The kids put 5 gallon buckets in a wheelbarrow and trekked off to the tap. I needed water, too, and went along with my own wheelbarrow. The kids took turns riding and pushing on the way. Lots of kids at the tap, with lots of laughter and mock-chases. I turned around to find the 2 year old had followed us. I loaded my water jugs and the kids loaded theirs, and we started off. I went faster, so when I headed back for my second trip, I found Beke, the 2 year old, had hitched a ride with the 80 pounds of water jugs on the kids’ wheelbarrow!
These kids are kind to each other, and everyone works, even the littlest ones, who carry washtubs of corncobs for the outdoor kitchen to be used as fuel.
Outside. There’s a cement drain under a huge jojo tank around the corner from my hut. I empty my wastewater there (except the thunder bucket, which of course goes to the latrine). Crumbs and compost go out the door and over the fence to the chickens and goats, unless it goes into a pan for the dogs. Most mornings Linda (that’s a he) sweeps the dirt with a broom made of branches and cleans up the detritus from the previous day. It’s becoming my new normal.
14 September 2013
Saturday. The whole family did laundry throughout the day. We started with Sibhamu and I doing a couple of water runs (one apiece, then 2 loads for her). At first it was just the two of us working next to each other. What is it about women working together? That kitchen closeness that draws us together and somehow evokes – what? trust? deeper conversations? Not sure, just enjoyed it. Make joined us, and more SiSwati entered the conversation. Babe joined us, and soon it was all SiSwati, and I was still there, but alone. What an amazing transformation! What makes us include/exclude others? What creates/dissipates that sense of closeness? Not at all sure..
The week was really busy. Can’t believe I’ve been here for 2 weeks. On Wednesday I was introduced to the community, and those who weren’t at the meeting come up and introduce themselves. I’m not hard to spot <grin>, and try to be available. People seem to want help (read hope?). If they are willing to follow through, I think together there is a lot we can accomplish. And as people begin talking of their dreams, there’s a kind of magic that happens. I am trying hard not to get in over my head – there are so many directions I could go. At the least, I can help get resources for those areas beyond my knowledge. Many people want to start small businesses, and I can help them access training about what that means, though I don’t know how to do it myself.
And I’ve started working with the guidance counselor at the high school. We’re brainstorming ways to motivate kids, to help them understand the importance of school, to find and encourage the ways they shine. Any input cheerfully accepted.
And it looks like I’ll be able to work with the school librarian to apply for a grant to get books for the library. All in all, lots going on!
Sunday. Woke to bird songs accompanying the roosters. The feedback I’ve received about these scattered glimpses has been positive, so I’ve decided to continue, rather than try to make them better and thus delay. Thanks for your patience with my scribbles, and for the comments and emails, which are always most welcome!
Sala kathle (stay well).