Week in Photos (05/08-11/08)

It’s been windy. Can you tell by my photos?
-Jen

This is how I dress to keep warm...inside my house.

This is how I dress to keep warm…inside my house.

The sun through the “window” in my pit latrine.

Windy days means I get a lot of sand outside my door...or under my door and into my room.

Windy days means I get a lot of sand outside my door…or under my door and into my room.

A cold, windswept sunrise!

A cold, windswept sunrise!

Windswept sand outside my room.

Windswept sand outside my room.

3 ingredient peanut butter cookies-so yummy and so easy!

3 ingredient peanut butter cookies-so yummy and so easy!

Oh Baby, It’s Cold Outside!

I knew a cold front was coming. For once, the weather app on my phone was fairly accurate. A week and a half ago, I saw that the temperatures were going to plunge below zero (celsius) again this week. I was just hoping the forecast would change. The forecast is never right, so why would I count on it this time. Denial, I know.

However, during the day Monday, the winds picked up. Sand was flying and the bitter wind pierced through my Colombia fleece like it was a cotton tshirt. I saw on an SA news website that they were promising a country-wide, end-of-winter cold snap, with highs of 10C or lower. Most days in the winter, it would warm up to the mid-teens or twenties, so when I saw the 9C high predicted for Tuesday, I gulped and accepted that it would be a horrible day.

Monday night it started getting cold. I setup my heater on a chair, so that it would blow directly on me while in bed. I gulped tea and burrowed under the blankets, fearing the next day and wondering if I could call in sick. I slipped into a pair of long johns, snuggled down into my sleeping bag+liner combo that has been a lifesaver, and threw a comforter on top of that, knowing I would wake up cold if I didn’t.

Despite all that, I woke up several times, COLD, in the middle of the night. I had a thick blanket underneath me that I could have thrown over me, but I would have had to get out of the sleeping bag cocoon, which I did NOT want to do. So I kept burrowing deeper into my sleeping bag, and tried to sleep.

I woke up around 6am, and the air inside my room was frigid, colder than it had been for several weeks. It felt like the inside of a walk-in fridge. Heck, it was a walk-in fridge. I stuck my arm out of my sleeping bag, turned on the heater, and pointed it directly at my face, and laid there for about half an hour, wondering if coffee and breakfast were really necessary today.

At about half past, I bravely unzipped my bag and scurried across my room, doing my “cold dance” and grabbing a fleece blanket to tie around me, my hat, scarf, and coat before making coffee. I made my coffee and French toast (fancy for a school morning), then rushed back to perch in front of the heater while reading my Bible.

A little while later, I grabbed my nicest set of long johns, shirt, jeans, knee socks, hat, scarf, gloves, and 2 coats, thinking about the awful-cold walk to school. I kept noticing that I could see my breath-inside my room. That’s just awful. It would be like living in a garage in winter in America. Not quite, because the garage probably has better insulation.

Anyways, I took a deep breath and headed out the door for the half-mile walk to school. About a second later I realized that even with all the layers and two coats, I was already freezing. But I also realized there’s not a whole lot I could do about it. So I hurried off to school, keeping my head down to avoid getting a faceful of sand.

Winter is harsh here because there’s really no escape from the cold. Yeah, I can dress in many layers, and I’ve got a good blanket-heater-hot water bottle set up at home. But it’s a lot of work to keep warm, and one step outside or a gap in the blankets, and the cold rushes in. I’m well-off by village standards, because I have a study house, good clothes, a heater, and many blankets. Most people in my village don’t, and I can only imagine how cold they were this morning.
-Jen

Correction: Spring is NOT in the Air

Me before I left this morning.

Me before I left this morning.

Me after a horribly cold and windy walk home!

Me after a horribly cold and windy walk home!

I was apparently wrong when I posted yesterday about Spring being in the air. The weather’s turned and insane winds have come, which means it is unbearably cold again. Sigh…

But in good news-my hair is now long enough to pin back! An exciting change after months of the same hairstyle. Of course, the wind decided to wreak havoc on my hair!
-Jen

The sand outside my door...looks like water!

The sand outside my door…looks like water!

Readjusting

Since spending a few week in Pretoria and in the USA, I obviously got out of the routine of village life. I had a nice routine going, and with that routine, life here seemed normal and not too difficult. It was nice, and I was enjoying the slow African life.

Then I went to America, where every other comment was one of the following:
“I couldn’t live without running water!”
“You eat what?! Eww!!”
“What about the spiders? And snakes!”
“You are so brave.”
“I could never do that.”
“Pee bucket? Gross!”

I got used to the cushy, first world life again, and reality hit me when I got back to my village and had to bathe in a bucket in my freezing room. Winter bucket baths are the WORST, by the way. Could be a form of torture.

So, of course, I’ve had to readjust a little. My routine has been flushed down the toilet…errr…dumped in the pit latrine, that is. I’ve forgotten how I did some things, and have had to figure it all out again. It’s a little sad. But now I’ve been back for about a week, and my routine is getting set again. Life is quickly readjusting, and overall I am VERY happy to be back.

I would be MUCH happier to be back if it wasn’t winter. I truly, truly forgot what the Kalahari winter was like. Eish.
-Jen

Go Tsididi Thata…

…le ga ke rate!

(I wrote this last week. I’ll post an updated COLD blog soon…things change, sometimes for the worse)

This morning I woke up freezing. Actually, I spent most of the night waking up and shivering, and now I admit defeat. I need to dig out my other blanket, and move my bed away from the drafty window, which was so nice in the summer.

It is cold. No other way to describe it! I saw my breath today, which tells me winter is here without a doubt. My feet are in a constant state of chilled-ness, and I really need to pop out the R50 for slippers. Scarves, fleeces, and long-johns are my new best friends, as in my sock monkey hat. I’ve kinda been in denial about winter here, but I can’t ignore the truth any longer. I even used my heater this morning, and it was wonderful.

I came to SA last winter, and in the dead of winter at that. But, I was in a more…civilized, urban, not God-forsaken place. Now I’m on the edge of the Kalahari, where there is absolutely nothing to stop the wind. Not even my concrete walls. Apparently it is common for stone/concrete houses to collapse in the winter because they are built too poorly for the wind. Don’t worry, I actually live in a nicely built home, and though drafty, it won’t collapse. A lot of houses here are built from mud, gathered stones, maybe a bit of cement, or simply pieces of corregated metal stuck together. Those “houses” cannot withstand the winter winds. And eish, these winds are too strong! Phefo ya foka thata mo motse wa me!

It does still warm up some during the day, but not always a whole lot. The sun is the key. Yesterday was an overcast day, so it never got truly warm outside. Today is much sunnier, so it has warmed up a fair amount. But still, nighttime is awful!

-Jen