Oct 2, 2009

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.

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