Friday, June 17, 2011
This is Africa
I have been in Africa for 77 days and at my permanent site for 9. In this time, I have seen and experienced a lot of new things, many of these being very different from my past norm. I have often wondered when these things would seem normal. Well, ladies and gentlemen, I am ready to announce that I have reached that point. Even the most "odd" things are familiar now. For example: It is no longer unusual to see donkeys, goats, cows, and/or chickens roaming down the freeway. I am no longer surprised when they shove 50+ people on a 25 person bus (and when that bus careens itself down the road honking and swerving passed said livestock). I now carry toilet paper with me everywhere because there will never be any, even in the public restrooms in shopping malls in Gaborone. I've heard "don't walk around at night because there have been lion attacks lately" more often than "because you might get robbed." I have accepted that it is considered improper for women to show their armpits but that it goes completely unnoticed if their boobs are hanging out of their robe when they're outside doing chores. I know that I will either be chased down or completely ignored by locals and that people will get ridiculously excited when I speak Setswana. I am only slightly amazed when people show up two (or more) hours late for a meeting and honestly think they're on time because the food is just getting set out. And I am excited by the realization that spontaneous dance parties will break out everywhere and EVERYONE can (and does) bust a move. (Seriously, they can all shake their bodies in outrageous ways and I am so so jealous.) These things are normal now. TIA... This Is Africa.