Skip to main content

A week off

I thought I'd give everyone a real update now that I've got the computer properly tethered to the phone and sweet shining internet running in at a brisk trot. First, I've added a few people to the list, so if you don't want my spam, give a shout.

Down to business. Things are progressing relatively well here in my village. We're still on a week-and-a-half break from school, so I've been walking around a lot and listening to audiobooks. Yesterday I was in Kuruman again and met up with some volunteers--with all the down time some of us were a bit stir crazy and needed to see some other makgowa (white people). One of these days I really must break out my camera and take some pictures.

I now own a small bar fridge, which cost me 3/4 of my monthly stipend, but due to electrical problems I can't yet plug it in. Wiring standards here are a bit lax--there's a five amp breaker which serves as a light switch in my room that is just hanging from the live wire. Money management is going to be a trial here--most things are slightly cheaper than they are in the states (except for electronics--much more expensive), and we are paid about $300/month. I suspect I'll be eating a lot of rice and beans.

There's a dry riverbed that runs right through my village, and I've been exploring that up and down, as well as walking down the road. This is strange behavior, even more than running--about every third car going my direction stops and offers a ride. At some point I plan to buy a bicycle, which would put me within striking distance of five or six other volunteers (within 30km or so on gravel). One of those volunteers is allegedly going to visit me today, as he already has a bike (it was left there by the previous volunteer, who also left a fridge, a stove, a nice bed, and various other items).

I've been plowing through a lot of books as well, I've even made it most of the way through Gravity's Rainbow. I might be putting up some reviews on the blog, who knows.

School starts again on Monday, so hopefully by that time I'll have my electricity woes figured out. Next I want to buy a small two-burner stove with a small oven--a slick little rig I never saw in the states, perfect for a broke bachelor like myself. I figure at some point I should become capable of feeding myself and this seems like a good a time as any. Maybe even someday I can muddle through a pretentious conversation about spices and mushrooms. I've already been thoroughly shamed by another volunteer who was not impressed with my choice of favorite food (which shall remain nameless).

Other than that, it's been fairly slow around here. With luck, I should have some pictures for next time.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Why Did Reality Winner Leak to the Intercept?

So Reality Winner, former NSA contractor, is in federal prison for leaking classified information — for five years and three months, the longest sentence of any whistleblower in history. She gave documents on how Russia had attempted to hack vendors of election machinery and software to The Intercept , which completely bungled basic security procedures (according to a recent New York Times piece from Ben Smith, the main fault lay with Matthew Cole and Richard Esposito ), leading to her capture within hours. Winner recently contracted COVID-19 in prison, and is reportedly suffering some lingering aftereffects. Glenn Greenwald has been furiously denying that he had anything at all to do with the Winner clusterfuck, and I recently got in an argument with him about it on Twitter. I read a New York story about Winner, which clearly implies that she was listening to the Intercepted podcast of March 22, 2017 , where Greenwald and Jeremy Scahill expressed skepticism about Russia actually b

Varanus albigularis albigularis

That is the Latin name for the white-throated monitor lizard , a large reptile native to southern Africa that can grow up to two meters long (see pictures of one at the Oakland Zoo here ). In Setswana, it's called a "gopane." I saw one of these in my village yesterday on the way back from my run. Some kids from school found it in the riverbed and tortured it to death, stabbing out its eyes, cutting off its tail, and gutting it which finally killed it. It seemed to be a female as there were a bunch of round white things I can only imagine were eggs amongst the guts. I only arrived after it was already dead, but they described what had happened with much hilarity and re-enactment. When I asked why they killed it, they said it was because it would eat their chickens and eggs, which is probably true, and because it sucks blood from people, which is completely ridiculous. It might bite a person, but not unless threatened. It seems roughly the same as killing wolves tha

The Conversational Downsides of Twitter's Structure

Over the past couple years, as I've had a steady writing job and ascended from "utter nobody" to "D-list pundit," I find it harder and harder to have discussions online. Twitter is the only social network I like and where I talk to people the most, but as your number of followers increases, the user experience becomes steadily more hostile to conversation. Here's my theory as to why this happens. First is Twitter's powerful tendency to create cliques and groupthink. Back in forum and blog comment section days, people would more often hang out in places where a certain interest or baseline understanding could be assumed. (Now, there were often epic fights, cliques, and gratuitous cruelty on forums too, particularly the joke or insult variety, but in my experience it was also much easier to just have a reasonable conversation.) On Twitter, people rather naturally form those same communities of like interest, but are trapped in the same space with differe