Jun 9, 2011

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.

2 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

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