As I was traveling from Tumi’s village to PTA, I had a slight cold that rendered me voiceless. Now, traveling in SA involves asking for directions, prices, clarifications, and being able to yell over the kombi music to tell the driver where you want to stop. Luckily I was traveling with Mpho, a guy PCV who handled most of the conversations and we made it to the backpackers with only a few setbacks.
One of the best parts about gathering with other PCVs is telling stories, venting, and asking endless questions. It’s pretty therapeutic after being the only America/foreigner/native English speaker in your village. I had to sit back and listen for the most part, as I couldn’t talk, but it was still fun. It was hard to meet new PCVs and squeak out my name, but I managed.
Sunday there is always a market in the Hatfield mall in PTA, and I was super excited to go. I didn’t think that through much, and realized how important being able to talk and bargain was at a market, until the vendors started coming at me offering deals. Also, greetings are a huge part of SA culture, and I felt like a prissy Afrikaner when I couldn’t greet these primarily black vendors. I tried to indicate that I had lost my voice, but some didn’t seem to understand. I did manage to buy some things, but didn’t haggle much. Oh well.
I am hoping that I will have command of my voice again tomorrow, when training starts. But I may go see the PCMO regardless because I feel pretty terrible. I hate being sick, but at least I can take a nice, hot, steamy shower to clear out my sinuses!! Such a luxury! 🙂