On the 28th, the day before my birthday, I headed out from PTA to my friend Oratile’s site, another PCV. We had planned back in September or October for me to visit her remote site for NYE. Now, my village is pretty remote and isolated, but here’s is 220km from our shopping town in Vryburg, on the border of Botswana. I’ll call her village Poshville, and you’ll understand why.
Her village is unique because there is a large population of white people. Her village is actually a pretty good glimpse into what Apartheid SA looked like: there’s a black section and a white section, and there’s certainly no mixing. There are restaurants, lodges, and a bakery, plus 2 schools (1 private/white, 1 public/black) and a 24 hour clinic. It has at least one really nice church, homes with running water, and shops selling plenty of food. There is a post office, ATMs, and even a border crossing. Compared to my village, it’s an amazing oasis. Thus, Poshville. That being said, Oratile has the smallest room amongst any PCV we’ve met and faces frequent water outages that have stretched on for weeks. Transport leaves 1 time a day, and only on weekdays. So not 100% Posh Corps, just maybe 95%. 🙂
The first morning in her village, Oratile and I woke up, had some coffee, I opened a package that had ended up at her house due to some strange PCV chain, and off we went to Riverside restaurant (sans river) for delicious ommelettes. Seriously delicious. We enjoyed some good food and coffee, put in our pizza order for later (yes, I did say pizza) and headed back to her place to change. Change into our swimsuits! We went to one of the lodges (yes, plural) to swim. Outside, on my birthday, in December. Oh yeah, the heat index was 115F, a new record for me. I held a few baby warthogs, which were absolutely adorable, and enjoyed swimming in the oppressive heat. Swimming in the desert….
The next day, we had planned to do some laundry, but the water was out. So we packed up and headed to the lodge early. We stayed there the nights of the 30th and NYE so we could enjoy a few final days of the First World. On the 30th, a nice Afrikaans lady invited us to have dinner with her family, which was a nice surprise. Braai? Yes, please! While the conversation eventually turned very disturbing, it was a nice evening. Her kids had even spent time on farms in the USA, which is apparently pretty common.
The following day, we were ready to celebrate the new year. The NYE 80’s Exercise theme party was held at the lodge. We had been planning costumes for months and were so excited to go 80s for the night. Sadly, they let the teens have control of the music, so instead of 80s music, we listened to Afrikaans pop and Cotton-Eyed Joe. Afrikaans pop is not that fantastic…..we survived and celebrated the new year with some fairly hilarious Afrikaners and a warthog named Dexter.
I stayed in Poshville until the 3rd, when I awoke early to catch the taxi at 6:30am. It was a long ride to Ganyesa, but I had a surprisingly quick ride home. The driver even dropped me off at my door, which was nice because I had a lot of luggage from a month of holiday.
Then back to the bucket baths, pee bucket, and oppressive heat. Hello, Third World Africa!