Digging Coffins, er, Gardens In The Yard

January 9, Day 527
It’s hot. Really hot. I spent the night sweating while laying in bed. Summer is definitely in full swing now.

Get up with my shirt feeling drenched with sweat. I sleep with the window next to my bed wide open at night. Probably not the most private thing to do because someone can easily walk into my yard and see me sleeping, but I have bars on my windows so I don’t worry about it.

Plus, I would probably die of the heat if I don’t keep the window open.

I never bought a fan. Can you believe that? I live in Africa in the summer, where it is consistently 108 degrees, and I never bought a fan.

The volunteers who lived in this house before me left behind a really nice fan for me. It was fancy and had a remote and everything. I was assigned to my village along with another volunteer, and our job was to dig through the house full of things and divide them up.

She took a few things, but then said she didn’t want anything else. She wanted the fancy fan, and gave me the rest of the things in exchange for the fan. Deal.

So, I was left with a full house of things that I didn’t have to spend my money buying, and lots of heat. I do have a crappy fan, but the neck is about to snap off. I have a bottle of lipgloss slipped underneath the neck of the fan to hold it up, and some wire wrapped around the back to keep it attached to the stand.

Not the best method, but I get a little air. But lets face it. I live in Africa and I don’t have a real fan. That’s almost dangerous.

My method thus far has been to take a cold shower before getting into bed every night. Usually I don’t have water during the day, it only comes back on at night. That gives me a chance to take a cold shower at night before bed, which cools me off significantly. This way I can survive sleeping through the night if I don’t wear too many clothes.

I know some volunteers who put their pajamas in the freezer and sleep in frozen clothes, or sleep with frozen water bottles. I haven’t gotten that organized yet. Wet, cold, hair keeps me cool at night.

I foresee another long day of digging gardens ahead.

I’ve been talking about formally planting my vegetable gardens for a long time, and I don’t have the energy or mental capacity to start working at BOCAIP yet.

If I’m perfectly honest, I’m a bit depressed. I am completely daunted by the thought of having to start over at a new organization and start my service from scratch again.

Usually it is a traumatic event for a volunteer to lose their counterpart. It is also a traumatic event to lose their organization that they work for.

I lost my counterpart and my job all at once. I’m in mourning and I know I need to be in a proper headspace before I work. I get out of bed and text Baitshepi, my new counterpart at BOCAIP, and tell her that I am now back in the village but would like to start work next week on the 13th.

She says it is no problem.


“Ngwaga o mosha!” she says (Happy New Year! Or crossover, as many Motswana refer to the New Year).

“Ngwaga o mosha, Baitshepi.”

I have no power and no water this morning. I grab my stored containers of water and boil a pot on the stove for coffee.

Eggs. Coffee. The usual.

Just then, my clumsy self drops my brand new beloved coffee cup from Cape Town.



I literally never buy anything for myself. I don’t have the money to! The ONE thing I splurged on was this mug. And I dropped it!

The mug lays in pieces, shattered all over the floor.

I am so mad at myself!

I sweep up the pieces, and save them on the kitchen counter in hopes that maybe I can glue it together one day. Where will I buy the glue? I have no idea, they don’t sell it in my village. But I love that darned mug.

Boil water on the stove for a bucket bath and poor the rest of the bucket full with stored water.

Take a bucket bath and get changed into my long gardening dress. Put on a big hat to prevent sunburns.

With no water and no power, there’s no use in me sitting around the house in the heat.

Go outside and measure out where each garden will go. Start digging, and digging, and digging.

Spend all day digging.

The sand is hard since it rained while I was gone.

MAN, this is no joke!

Take breaks stopping in the shade, talking to Colden, drinking water, and then go back to digging.

By the time the sun is going down, I have the second bed dug out.

All day, people have been coming by my house and staring at me digging. I’m pretty sure they probably think I’m putting a dead body in my yard based on the shape of my garden.

Garden? Coffin? Who’s counting?

I get the second bed dug completely by the time the sun goes down. I’m hot, sweaty and sunburned.

A day well spent!

Another beautiful sunset that I watch while finishing in the garden.

Go inside and relax for a bit.

Power and water is back on.

My village gets its power from South Africa. That means that when it gets really hot, like it was today, we are subject to load shedding. Meaning, the power goes out every few hours so the power stations in South Africa can conserve to provide everyone with power.

On hot days like this the power goes out four or five times a day. That’s just life.

At least now the power is back on, which means the machines in the boreholes can pump water again.

Later on, once the sun has set, I go out to the front porch to sit on the steps to feel the cool breeze of the night. It has finally cooled off. Olive and I used to love sitting on the front porch in the night together.

I notice that the light on my front porch isn’t as bright as it usually is.

What is going on?

I look at the light and I see that there are so many dead moths inside the light cover that it is blocking the light from shining bright. Gross.

Guess I’ll have to deal with the moth carcasses later.

Head inside. Take a nice, cold shower.

Head to bed, ready for another day of digging holes tomorrow.

Boroko 🌛

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