Skip to main content

Things I won't miss about South Africa, part I

The end of my Peace Corps service is about two and a half months away, and now seems like as good a time as any to crank up some serious navel gazing.  Why have a blog if you can't be narcissistic with it?  So I've got some posts planned looking at things I'll be missing and things I won't.  Up first, some items I'll be glad to leave behind.

1) Poorly designed houses.  This one is particularly pressing sitting in my tin shack where it is colder than outside during the winter and hotter in the summer.  I can't blame people for lack of central heat—that stuff is expensive—but things could be done way, way better, even with the simple building materials used around here.  No insulation, no screen doors, no north glass, bare tin roofs, etc.  Using the same materials I could build a house that would stay cool in summer and warm in winter that would cost maybe ten percent more and last three times as long.

2) Crime.  Compared to the US, crime is apocalyptically bad here, and though I haven't had any attacks since near the beginning of my service, the tension of being in certain parts of Kuruman or other cities definitely grates.  I'm sick of not being able to walk around after dark alone, sick of clenching up every time a bunch of young men walk by, and sick of having to take extensive precautions for the most ordinary activities. 

3) Roosters.  I loathe roosters with the fire of a thousand supernovas.  I hate their puffed-up strutting (not for nothing are asshole men called cocks), I hate the their hen raping, I hate their little neck scrotums, and I hate their self-important flapping.  Most of all, I hate their goddamn crowing.  The roosters at my house always perch right outside my window and make this horrible grinding screech that's the audio equivalent of dragging your face across a cheese grater, or chewing a big handful of broken glass, or inserting needles into your eyes.  It's a common belief that roosters crow only during the morning.  Not so.  They crow in the morning, the afternoon, and at night.  They crow when someone leaves or when someone goes, or when no one is around.  They crow at dogs, cats, goats, sheep, cows, birds, jackals, snakes, insects, cars, and phantom spirits.  Most of all, they crow at each other.  One goes off, and one across the street does, and pretty soon the whole village is echoing with their demon sound.  I've had them wake me up through earplugs every two hours all night long, and I can sleep through thunderstorms.  I've thought seriously about somehow obtaining an equal number of turkeys and replacing my family's chickens (of course killing the roosters myself with something blunt Office Space style).  Nailing one with a big rock is unadulterated joy.  I've—uh, I'll stop now (I could go on for hours), but stay tuned.  Maybe I can come up with something positive for next time.

Comments

  1. No, no, keep it up, negative that is. You mirror my current thoughts exactly, except you forgot crazy khumbi drivers and their accidents. :-) B

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

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

Caffeine Is Not a Bioweapon

I got into a discussion with Yves Smith about caffeine here , and somehow my comment got eaten, so I'd like to finish it up here. She said about this Raw Story piece about a girl who allegedly died from drinking two Monster drinks in two days, "The FDA lapse here is terrible. Caffeine is extremely toxic. We just happen to get highly diluted doses in coffee and tea." I commented: Yves, your implication about caffeine is incorrect on several levels. Most Monster drinks have about 10 mg of caffeine per fluid ounce, which is much less than even drip coffee (18 mg/oz) and WAY less than espresso (51 mg/oz). ( Source ) The whole idea of dilution is misguided in any case. The relevant measurement for caffeine intoxication (and most poisoning generally) is the total amount taken, not the concentration. Concentration is something to worry about, as it can make a lethal dose easier to take on, but the main concern there is pure caffeine pills, not energy drinks which are mostl