In elementary school, reaching the 100th day of the year was always a very big deal. Just last week I reached 100 days of living in South Africa, a milestone I was unaware of until reminded by a fellow PCV. As South Africa is quickly about to surpass Chile as the country I have lived in the longest (outside the states), I am realizing that my life, though largely unimaginable to many of you back home, is normalizing to me.
- Running water? Forget about it! A 25 liter bucket for hauling water from the tap in the yard (praying that the municipality hasn’t shut off the water), a large bucket for bathing in (heat up the water in my electric tea kettle), a bucket for laundry, one for dishes, and one for filling up my water filter. Bucket bathing and laundry, in particular, require refined techniques that I am continuing to master.
- Nighttime jog? Ugh, I wish. Soon as the sun goes down it’s time to head inside for the day.
- Privacy? While my home is my own space, anything and everything I do outside of it is noticed by someone. My workouts are often joined by kids, trips to the pit latrine require greeting neighbors, and filling my buckets means waving at cars (and donkeys) cruising by.
- Access to my own car? For someone who loves to drive and be on their own schedule, this one can be very frustrating. Luckily, the staff at my school are friendly and offer to drive me places, and a 14 rand (very frequent) taxi ride can take me to my nearby shopping town.
While these adjustments may sound challenging or unrealistic to you, I ask you to realize that many of my learners lead much more difficult lives than these small obstacles I face. That said, here are a few things that have made me smile recently!
- A grade 7 learner telling me that her favorite sport is yoga, and always asking if I can teach her more.
- Reading books with local kids on my front porch.
- Eating Brussels sprouts, grapes, green apples (and pretty much anything fresh I can get my hands on)
- Dunking my whole body underwater while swimming during Grade 7 farewell
- Going to Kimberley and finding Food Lovers Market and Woolworths Foods
- Surprising my learners with my Setswana
- Grade 6 asking me to come teach maths
- Pouring rain on a tin roof