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I want to start off saying, that flies waking you up gets really old, really fast. And for the longest time, I couldn't figure out where they were coming from. All I knew is they were driving me crazy. They'd wake me up around 5, and then it'd be impossible to go back to sleep with all the buzzing, and little tickling legs landing on you. Yum. But! I've hit on a solution. If I leave the windows closed during the day, and open at night, it seems to do the trick. It's so nice to wake up naturally at 6:30. For a PCV, that's pretty darn late. Seems like most of my peers are waking up anytime from 5-5:30. Which seems excessively early to me, considering we don't have to be at school until 7:45, and it's only about a 15 minute walk. Oh yeah, we go to school now because we're in practice teaching I guess I should mention. It's gone pretty well, the kids are all scared of me.1)We just had about a week of teaching, and then, on this coming tuesday we test them to see if they actually learned anything.2) And then that's that, and the rest of the week is other stuff - no idea - and then the week after we go to site!3) Training is rapidly coming to an end. It's had its ups and downs. One one hand, pretty great company, on the other, mostly terrible sessions. After this, it's three months where we're not supposed to leave site, for the first five or so weeks of which there's no schools, so that'll be just great.4) I'll read a lot, and build those pullup bars I want.5)
A few days later...
I'm sitting in the internet cafe, once again, but this time with AIR CONDITIONING. It's amazing. Ahhhhhh. It's blowing right on me. They just turned it on, around 1:00. It had really been heating up in here to, with all the bodies.6)Anyways, once again, a ton to say, but words are getting in the way.
Things really are winding up, we leave for site on Tuesday. But to begin a bit further back, I'm sure some of you are a bit curious about how teaching went.7) The teaching was anticlimactic. After teaching those little demons8) in Houston, this seems like a breeze. The students are all super respectful, they listen and participate. They do have trouble with math9), as reported by everybody. I mean that in a fairly literal sense, everybody I talk to has something to say about how Basotho aren't good at math. I'm sure that doesn't lead to any mental blocks or anything. Gotta love cultural hangups.10) They scored about a 60% average (offically, 40% is passing.)) On -what I thought- was an extremely simple test. Of course, the english doesn't help. Their offical federal tests are adapted from the cambridge exams, and it has some pretty complex english, so that's also a large hurdle. By law, all classes from primary onwards are in english, but not all follow the law, so there's a wide variation in english ability.I was just teaching two 40-minute classes a day, with language in the afternoon, so the two weeks passed quickly. On the last day (last Thursday) we had a closing ceremony, in which the students sang - amazingly well - and we Americans sang - amazing poorly. It's kind of shocking how well these kids, and really most Basotho sing, naturally harmonizing and on key. It makes morning assembly, with the songs and the day brighting over the spectacular landscape, something worth watching. I'll video it one of these days.
We had a little field trip to this national park, where we got to eat MEAT11), and hike around a bit. I'll label it in the pictures. The best part was the natural rock pool that had formed. Once I found that, I was in heaven. Others went hiking, I swam.12) It was absolutely deliciously refreshingly cold.
Slot Canyon Spa
A little closer to home, Kyle and Chelsea found a little natural bathtub-sized rock hole, where a mini-waterfall splashed in. Nothing on the scale of TS, but nice to go to on a hot day and soak ones feet. I also had an amazing run here yesterday evening, with the sunset on one side, and a storm on the other. It was sprinkling, not enough to bother me, indeed barely enough to be seen, if not for the sunset illuminating it from the other side of the canyon, making the rain look like liquid gold falling from the sky. A breathtakingly beautiful sight.13)
Cooking has taken off in the past few weeks, as Kyle and Chelsea and Julie and I make the most of our last few days together before pretty much never seeing each other for the next two years. We've been getting together most every night and playing cards and cooking. A short list of what we've made:
- Makuenyas - little fried bread-balls. Made sugar and chocolate topping.
- Funnel Cake
- Blooming Onion
- Cobblers - banana, apple, peach.
- Banana Breads - many.
- Pizza - pretty darn good.
- Quesadillas with guac - guac (and most things) is hard to come by, and therefore amazing.
- Pilchards things (pasta) - pilchards are fish in a can, not very appetizing to look at.
- Pilchards with tomatoes and onions and chutney rice - Spectacular. Chutney is this sweetish fruit sauce-thing. I dunno. It's good.
- Group muffin (first and greatest) - a giant muffin.
- Gingerbeer - actual beer. They sell a mix, you let it sit for a couple of weeks.
- Cornbread - courtesy of kyle and chelsea. Excellent.
- Banana pancakes (we have a lot of bananas)
- Butter popcorn
Not bad for no oven, electricity, or refrigeration, eh?14)
We've been preparing for the LPI - Language Proficiency Interview15), which is the last step before swearing in. Oh! That reminds me. Let me tell you about this morning.
Adventures of the Morning of the 13th of December
I woke up to a single fly buzzing around, not really enough to bother me, but enough to make it tricky to go back to sleep, around 6. I layed in bed for a bit, reading. Eventually, I flopped out, and ground some coffee to make myself a fresh cup. Delicous. Did some dishes, which were sitting in some pretty grungy water from a few days ago.16) Julie showed up for carpool, we start walking up the hill to language class. A couple of guys are plowing off to the right, and they call out to me to 'Make a maize!' I've just had coffee - I'm up for anything - I put my bag down and jump right to it. And you know what? Plowing by hand is really @#$!1!@# difficult. I mean, I couldn't do anything. The cows just kept on pulling, not even noticing me, as the plow went in and out of the dirt, carving the squiggliest line you can imagine. I sorely need to practice. A few minutes was enough to convince me (and them) of my complete and total incompetence, and I moved on. The rest of the walk to school continued uneventfully.
Upon arriving to school, Kyle and I remembered we had a pullup contest scheduled, so we took a 40 liter container (about 10 gallons), jammed it into a big backpack and started filling it with water. We wanted to see who could do 1 pullup with the most weight. It's not like this was on any fancy bar, this is just a crossbeam in front of the school. Pretty rough on the jam.17) We proceed, while continuously being fussed at to go to language class - but this is important. It took us a few iterations, but I won!18) I managed to lift about 30 liters - 66 lbs. Not bad.
After finally finishing, my Language instructor needed me to break into the classroom. It had been inadvertently locked. There's a window open about 6 feet off the ground, so I just hop up and in. It still won't open from the inside, however at this point she informs me she actually /does/ have the key, but she was told it needed to be
opened from the inside.19) So she tosses me the keys, and I unlock it - it still
doesn't open. The handle doesn't turn the latch. I pull harder, and harder, and the handle breaks off in my hand.
Oops. I say it won't open, and I jump back out the window. My hand is bleeding pretty badly. Luckily they had just
boiled some water, so I sterilized it and put on a bandaid that someone fortunately had. We had a lovely language class outside under a tree, a beautiful sunny day with a scattering of clouds. About halfway through class, I realized that I'd forgotten a book full of things to blog about, so I ran back to my hut (about a mile), got it, ran back, and just missed the taxi. I took advantage, found some shade, and lied down to read. Several groups of my peers passed me on the way to the bus stop, I was reluctant to move. Eventually a taxi came, and I hopped in (inadvertently kicking a guy out of the front seat in the process). Unfortunately for the others, the bus was full by the time it got to the actual stop. Ah well.
Next few days
Tomorrow is free, Kyle, chels, Julie, and I are planning one last hike. Monday is LPI. We're going to the capital for some permanent site shopping on Tuesday, luckily I'm taking over from somebody, so I don't really need anything. Wednesday is swearing in, and Thursday we go to site. Then we have about 5 weeks before school starts, we're supposed to integrate.20) We'll see how that goes. For 3 months, we're 'not supposed'21) to leave site, except they gave us a few days at Christmas. I might or might not attend a gathering. Cooking for 12 people in a hut, with limited water22) sounds…rough. I'll likely go though, not much else to do. Except for projects. Site (Tertiary) Projects23)
- Cirque du Lesatsi - Cirque du Solei (sp?) Lesotho ed.
- Build Pizza oven. This requires me to find/refine clay, so we'll see. Depends on the percentage of clay in the soil within easy reach.
- Plant grass at site
- Site pullup bar
- Selling hair to witch doctors for money
- 'Pimp my rondavel'
- Sandalcamp - accomplished.
- Record Basotho Singing
- Book Club
- Do not anger Ambassador
- Make clay throwing wheel
- Drain the national supply of PB (Well on my way, I bought 6.6lbs this weekend - stocking up for site, where they don't sell my preferred brand.)
- Create a dent in the wall at hub from frustration at stupid sessions - accomplished