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!

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!

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

Cluster Sports Day

A big wind storm blowing through

A big wind storm blowing through

Last week I posted about our “Interhouse” Sport Day at KPS, when we had races that determined which learners would move on to the cluster competition. I was told earlier in the week that the area races would be held in Tlakgameng today, and I wanted to go check it out. Also, I knew that if I was left at school, I would be forced into a crazy classroom for the whole day, with not prep time or guidance on activities, which I was NOT wanting to do. So as soon as I got to KPS today, I asked the principal if I could go, and he gave me the green light-yay!

After a bit of a wait-I was told we were leaving “just now” not “now now”, so I should have expected the wait-and some crazy-last-minute-prep work for the competition, I hopped in the front of a bakke with the driver, a teacher, and her grandson. I kid you not, 20 learners were in the back of the bakke. Insanity! We bumped our way to a secondary school in Tlakgameng where the event was being held.

At first I attempted to help the teachers in organizing the learners, but as nearly all of the conversations were in rapid-fire Setswana, I soon gave up and grabbed a chair. My principal came a bit later with a big tent that was set up. It was a lifesaver-instant shade.

The competition was for ages 7-18, and had many different races. I tried to keep up with what was happening at my schools, but all I know is that some of them have moved on to the district races-yay! So on Saturday I’ll be headed to the “desert” village of Mma Dinonyane (Ma-dee-no-NYAH-nee), which translates directly into Mother Birds. I kinda wish I lived there.

Anywho, the day was kind of like a huge festival. There were probably a dozen or so schools represented, all in their respective uniforms. A bunch of people from the community came and sold fruit, crisps/chips, cookies/biscuits, and amazing icee things made out of guava nectar. My new absolutely favorite thing to buy at shops and on a kombi. So good! I ended up eating two and contemplated having more.

I was mostly confused about what was happening all day long, as it did not seem to be well-organized. No surprise. The kids had an awesome time though, running and cheering each other on, and being a part of something “bigger”. Bigger than school and the village, etc. That doesn’t happen often, so I was happy to be a part of it.

By the end of the day a crazy windstorm blew through, eventually blowing in lightning, thunder, ominous clouds, and rain right as I was in a bakke on the way home. A teacher drove me home in her bakke. She doesn’t have a nice cover of the back, like most that make it possible to pick up people on the side of the road and make some spare change as an informal taxi driver. She essentially has a big tarp that straps over her bed. So, imagine my surprise when we arrive at my home, she tells me to tell the guy in the back to come up front. I was like “There’s someone in the back?!”, completely flummoxed. And sure enough, when I pulled back the tarp, a young man was laying down in the bed. Oh Africa.

I’m sure I’ll have another post after the trip to Mma Dinonyane-this really is a tongue twister-so keep an eye out. I found out tonight from my host mom that my host brother Keletso made it to the district races. Woot! Go lelapa la me!

-Jen

A kid sitting under a desk, attempting to keep out of the hot sun

A kid sitting under a desk, attempting to keep out of the hot sun

Kids from one of my schools waiting to compete

Kids from one of my schools waiting to compete

20+ kids shoved into the back of a bakke-official school transport!

20+ kids shoved into the back of a bakke-official school transport!

Phefo Le Pula

Janoong, pula e a na, fela phefo ya foka THATA!

The rains are starting….but the wind is also blowing like crazy. So it’s time for a word on weather, nee?

The weather here on the edge of the Kalahari is a LOT different than the weather in Iowa. I thought it was windy on Central’s campus, but the winds of Iowa don’t even compare to the winds down in Africa. The winds almost never stop blowing, and for the past few weeks the winds have been exceedingly strong. 75kmp gusts? No big deal. Thus, the phrase phefo ya foka thata (the wind is blowing hard) is an important part of my vocabulary janoong. The winds have a benefit-a breeze (or mini-tornado) keeps it cooler and makes the heat bearable. However, the amount of dust that has been in my eyeballs in the past few weeks is insane…and I’ve never walked through a dust devil in my life prior to coming to SA, but now it happens way too often.

The rain is a whole other deal. Imagine-water falling from the sky onto a metal roof…yeah, it’s loud. I took a video of it and hope to post it sometime, but it wasn’t loading today. Even a light sprinkle sounds like downpour, and if it is a true downpour, hope you have earplugs or your eats may begin bleeding from the noise!

The seasonal rains were supposed to start in September, but they haven’t yet started officially. Although I think they are beginning. It’s been sprinkling and even raining a bit the past week, which is nice. Though the rains bring stronger winds, which like to blow the rocks around on my roof (rocks which I assume are there to hold my roof down). I’ve been told that when the rains start, it will rain for weeks at a time. And that it will make quicksand, which I will know well by January. Oh boy!!! But I still want the rains to come. Cue Toto’s “Rains Down in Africa” song….which is the status, tweet, and mumbled song of every PCV when it starts to rain. 🙂

-Jen