The Great Hunt For Chicken Wire

November 13, Day 470

Sleep until 8 am. I’m truly exhausted and haven’t had a moment since before mid-service training to myself. I decide I’ll take it slow today.

Get up, make breakfast of oatmeal and coffee and relax.


In the middle of my meditation, someone from my office calls. I stop meditating and answer the phone since it must be important if it’s the office.

It’s Mabe. He says he wants to come to my house now now and take me to buy chicken wire for my garden so I can make a fence. Yipee! I tell him to give me 20 minutes.

Get up, take a quick bucket bath and get dressed. Play with Olive for a few minutes.

As I’m watering the plants, Mabe arrives, as does another woman from Water Utilities. She is here to check my water meter to determine how much I owe.

I show her to the water pipe and then hop in the truck with Mabe. Poor little Olive wants to come along, but I tell him to be a good boy and guard the house for me.

We drive to Builder’s Mart. They don’t have the 18 meters of chicken wire I need, only 12. They also want to charge me 15 pula per meter. Mabe thinks we can get a better deal somewhere else.

Go to the hardware store across the street. They don’t have chicken wire, but the man working there asks my name. I tell him he can call me Abigail, or my Setswana name, Mpho. He says he prefers Mpho, and then asks Mabe for a dog.

This is when I learn that apparently Mabe has a dog breeding business. I knew he liked dogs, but never realized he has them so he can sell them.

Go to the other hardware store next door. Everyone is sitting outside in the shade eating in a circle. The man working there asks where my bicycle is, and the woman working there says I look skinny today.

Another man yells to me as I’m leaving in Setswana and I don’t understand what he says. Mabe says the man told me that he’s my neighbor. Oh! He looked familiar, I just didn’t realize it.

Mabe says there is another hardware store across town called Botoka. I’ve never been there, but trust he knows his way. When we arrive, I realize that what I thought was a junkyard is the hardware store and beyond the junk inside the gate, there is in fact a hardware store.

We walk into the store and immediately I am cornered against the counter by a man in our village who I believe is schizophrenic. Everyone knows he sees things and talks strange things, we all leave him alone. He seems to recognize me as a past lover or thinks I am his lover and pins me against the counter saying “yeah baby, remember us last time, when your father walked in?”

I’m scared, but remain calm and ask him to please back off. He keeps mumbling, and I get out of the corner, and go stand between Mabe and the woman working behind the counter. The man walks away.

Next, I see Mma Toto’s son Atang, who I invited to my media production course tonight. I know he’s unemployed and interested in media. He says he’s coming to the class and then complains that the Brigade is to far.

Turns out while I was dealing with that situation, Mabe was wheeling and dealing a heafty discount for me. Sweet! He got her down to 12 pula per meter, so I buy what I need for the garden. Mabe is convinced I don’t really need 18 meters, so I buy 16 instead.

The men go get the mesh wire and roll it out outside. Mabe gets a phone call and walks away, and once again I am in the sights of the man who had me pinned against the counter earlier.

I avoid him and walk over to where the men are measuring the chicken wire, and the man standing on the wire on the ground says he’s just a random guy helping me out and doesn’t really work there. I offer to stand in his place on top of the chicken wire.

The schizophrenic guy walks over to me and is now whispering things into my ear. Why is no one helping me with this situation?!! I tell him in a stern but respectful voice to back off. Don’t touch me. Give me space and please go away.

He backs off, as I asked and walks away, talking to himself.

We drive back to my house to drop off the chicken wire. Mabe says he wants to go and check on his house. It’s not until we are deep in the bush that I realize he isn’t referring to his house in our village. We are driving to the next village, where he just build a new house. Yikes! I didn’t realize we were driving far and I need to get to the office to prepare for the media course tomorrow.

Mabe’s village is behind the camel park. We stop and pick up a hitch hiker and he crawls into the back of the truck.

On the ride, I tell Mabe about the media course that I’m teaching and he gets super excited about it. He immediately picks up his phone and starts calling everyone he knows to come to the class. He says he thinks it’s a great initiative.

Soon, we arrive in his village and drop off the hitchhiker and drive to his house. He takes me on a tour of his house. What a great job he has done building it! Good for him, it’s beautiful.

We hop back in the truck and drive to his mother’s house. She is an old woman, maybe in her ‘80s and there are a lot of children staying at her house, maybe six.

Everyone is sitting outside underneath a tree in the yard with a slaughtered cow leg hanging from the tree and eating meat. His mother is a gracious woman who welcomes me to her home. She is sitting on a cot that is spread out in the shade.

There are three little puppies running around and climbing into the pot with rare meat and the kids keeping picking them up out of the meat. There are also chickens and little chicks running around the yard.

Mabe calls his son outside to join us, and then tells him about the media course. He’s about 14 years old and not in school right now. He says he will come.

Get back into the truck and drive to the local clinic to visit Mabe’s brother, who also has a son. I meet Mabe’s brother and tell him about the class. He is excited, and says his son failed school last year and has to go again this year and has nothing to do right now. He says his son will join, too.

We drive back to the office and pick up another hitchhiker and drive them to the bus stop.

Arrive back at the office and Bontle is there. Immediately Mabe sits down and calls his other son who lives in Mochudi. His son agrees to take the bus overnight to our village just to come to the class.

“Abigail, my heart is white,” Mabe says. “You have made me so happy with this initative. I am so excite.”

How sweet. When people say that their heart is white, it doesn’t refer to race or even the color. It means that they are truly happy, in a pure way.

Next, I call our supplies office and ask to borrow a laptop for the class. When I ask the supplies woman how she is today, she says she is not good and there are simply too many laptops for her to keep track of. She says I must walk to her office to identify the laptop.

Walk to supplies and when I arrive, I realize she has only one laptop in her drawer. I identify it and borrow it.

When I arrive back at our office, Catherine is there. We finally received money for me to get a new couch at my house (mine is ripped to shreds and is over 15 years old). We pick out a new couch and bed in a Furnmart advertisement.

I also inform Catherine that I will be making dinner for her tonight, whether she likes it or not! Poor Catherine has been running back and forth all week taking care of her mother in the hospital and is a single mother. There is no way she has time to make a nutritious meal after being so busy.

She’s also the type of person who is so amazing that she won’t ask for help or agree if you ask. You have to tell her, and she’ll agree for you to help her. She agrees for me to make dinner.

We leave work and Catherine gives me a ride home. I tell her I’ll drop off the food in about an hour.

Olive is waiting at the gate and greets me. We go inside and he follows me room to room, sleeping on the floor everywhere I walk.

I cook beans and rice, cabbage, butternut squash and morogo. I pack it up into bowls and walk over to Catherine’s house.

When I arrive, her daughter Anaya is waiting patiently in the driveway for me. Dawgie flips out when he sees me. Catherine’s aunt is also staying with them and greets me.

Deliver the food, and walk home. The sunset is beautiful tonight.

Eat dinner for myself.

Watch “Grey’s Anatomy” and talk to Colden.

Go to bed.

Boroko 🌛

Catherine’s daughter wanted a new book for bedtime stories and we don’t have any in the village. So, Catherine printed out stories and made a book for her 💕

My favorite morogo ladies selling outside of the mall

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