The Long Hitch Home

November 2, Day 459

Didn’t sleep a wink last night. Someone’s alarm clock goes off at 5:30. Guess I’m awake now.

 

Lay in denial for 30 minutes. Get up to use the pit latrine and when I come back everyone’s awake. It’s 6 and we have to leave at 7:15 to catch the bus.

 

Pack my things. Throw on something decent. Lark gives us all cheesy biscuits for the road. I can’t resist and eat it anyways and it’s delicious.

 

We walk to the bus stop with our things and wait.

 

And wait.

 

And wait.

 

And wait.

 

We wait for over an hour. The bus is not coming today. Great. What now?

 

First thing’s first, that cheesy biscuit has hit my stomach and I make a run back to the pit latrine.

 

Come back. We take turns hitchhiking because it’s the only option to get out of Lark’s village. There are no other buses for the next 7 hours. As volunteers, it is prohibited to hitchhike, but I can tell you that it’s a big part of the life here.

 

It’s not like the U.S., where you could be driven to a rest stop and maimed or something if you hitch. Here, it’s a normal way to get around. The deal is that you pay the same price as the bus.

 

After another hour of trying to catch a hitch, only three cars have driven by. Another volunteer walks away to hang at Lark’s house just as I flag a car.

 

A man stops and seems to be thrilled that we are taking a ride with him.

 

“Are you Americans? I know you are!” he says.

 

“Why yes, we are from America. How could you tell?” I ask.

 

“Because you are friendly white people. American white people are friendly. Eish, race relations in South Africa are not good. The white people are not always nice,” he says.

 

“Oh, that is too bad,” I respond.

 

We are comfortable with air conditioning in the car. We pick up a few people along the way. The man tells us he lives in Werda and married a woman with 3 kids, and he has 3 of his own. He has taken on her kids and loves them as his own. Recently, the father tried to come back into the picture and the kids don’t like that because they consider him to be the father.

 

Arrive in my village. The other volunteers decided to come to my village instead of going home because they want to do some shopping. They ask if I’d like to join them, but I have this paranoid feeling that maybe I locked Olive inside my office yesterday, and that’s why that man was yelling “Mma, you forgot your dog!” at me when I was leaving.

Couldn’t hurt to check, right? I’d feel pretty bad if I did leave him in there.

 

Walk to the office and check on it. Nope, no dog inside. Phew.

 

Walk to the grocery store and I can see at the bag check counter that the other volunteers are here. We’re the only people who check giant backpacks.

 

Go inside and grab a few things for home. Say hello to the ladies.

 

Carry my bags and backpack and walk home. I notice that there are puddles around the village from the rain yesterday. What a rare site to see!

 

Make it home safe and sound.

 

Bucket bath. Change into comfy clothes.

 

Unpack my bags. I’ve decided to throw a Thanksgiving feast at my house this year and to invite all my friends around the village to join. I look for recipes and formulate a list of things I should get while I’m in Gabs next week.

 

Make dinner. Take a nap. Clean the house.

 

Head to bed.

 

Boroko 🌙

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