January 8, Day 526
Wake up feeling rested. I’m still not feeling great from salmonella poisoning and the blood in the hotel incident while on vacation, but I might be able to face people today.
Get up, and the power is still on, so I rush to put on the kettle for some coffee. Get the French press out and let the coffee seep while I make my eggs.
Boil water for a bucket bath while I’m waiting.
Coffee, eggs. It’s a nice day today, not too hot or sunny.
I should go to the grocery store, because I have almost no food in the house.
Take a bucket bath and get dressed. My bike has a flat tire apparently, and I assume it’s because I have had it parked in my spare bedroom for a few weeks. Roll the bike through the house onto the front porch and pump up the tire.
It goes flat.
Um, okay, I guess a thorn punctured the tire. I don’t have any new tubes for my tire, so I take the tire off and plan to patch it. But where is the hole?
Take a cup of water and pour it on the tube and then squeeze it hard to listen to where the air is squirting water.
Dry off the tire; find the glue and the tire patch. Use a nail file to file the tube a bit, then put the patch over it with the glue and a rock on top to weigh it down for a few minutes.
I see a little boy hiding in the bush across from my house, watching me. Um, huh?
“I. Want. To. Help!” he yells over to me.
Ohhhh, he wants to help fix the bike!
“Sorry buddy, I just fixed the tire! Next time,” I reply.
“I. Want. To. Help!” he yells, still hiding behind a rock. I hear him giggling to himself.
“Sorry! I am leaving now to go to the shop.”
He runs off to go home. Cute kid, and I’m sure he doesn’t mean harm, so I don’t mind the stalking.
Check on the tire, and voila! It’s fixed.
Put the tube back in the tire, and the tire back on the bike. Fill up the tire with air and it stays this time. My hands are covered in bike grease, so I wash them. My water is out now, so I grab my water containers from storage and fill up a bucket a bit and use a cup to pour water over my hands for a good wash.
Grab my backpack and bungee cord and hop on the bike.
Ride to the store. The neighbors all wave to me on the way. I missed my village!
Lock up my bike at its usual spot underneath the thorn tree on the fence by the spice shop and walk over to the store.
Sometimes the grocery stores run out of diversity of food, they put the one brand they have on the shelf to fill up the space. I see immediately that Choppies hasn’t had a shipment of Simba chips for a while, so they filled it up with cheese curls. I stare at the large sea of cheese curls in front of me.
Oh no, I can’t have my beloved Simba chips today! Just then, I notice one little back of smoky beef flavored Simba chips hiding in the back. Boom! My addiction will be fed today after all.
Buy my groceries and fill up my backpack. Strap the rest of the bags to the back of my bicycle with my bungee cord and begin riding home. Before I leave I mentally prepare myself. I notice that people usually ask me for money more when I have my groceries strapped to my bike.
So, I have to be mentally prepared for people to ask me for money and for me to be polite, but firm. It makes sense, actually. They assume I have money because I have groceries and they can see them. They also likely assume that if I can buy groceries, I can give them money, and don’t believe that I’m just a volunteer.
Just as I am about to leave, I see a student from my media production class walk by with his friends.
“Hello, Mpho!” he says.
“Dumela! How are you?” I ask.
“Fine. Hey, how come you never come out and party? I always see you alone. Don’t you get lonely?”
“Me? Lonely? I have friends, I promise. We have fun, I am not lonely.”
“YOU, have friends?” he says. “I don’t believe it! I never see you at any of the bars around the village.”
“Well, I don’t go to bars! That’s probably why you don’t see me. I have friends, we have fun without going to bars,” I reply. “Will I see you in class when it starts in a few weeks?”
“Yes, you will see me.”
“Great, see you then,” and I begin riding home.
Get home, unpack the groceries. It feels good to have groceries and a clean house. I call Catherine and ask if I can come and collect my children, a.k.a. my parsley and my mint plant that she took care of for me while I was out of town. She says yes, I can come over.
Close the curtains, lock the doors.
Walk over to Catherine’s and Dawgie flips out when he sees me. Hi Dawgie!!
I talk to Catherine and she is super pregnant. She’s due any day now! We chat for a bit, and then she offers to give me a ride home with the plants.
As soon as we get into the car, Dawgie jumps the fence to chase the car. He’s a very big boy, so there likely isn’t a fence he can’t jump.
“Fotsak, Dawgie! No!” we yell to him.
He doesn’t care. Catherine says she doesn’t bother anymore with trying to deter him and she’s afraid he will get hit by a car. So, we let him run in front of the car all the way to my house.
We chat on the porch at my house for a bit when we arrive. Catherine goes to leave, but Dawgie refuses to go with her.
“I don’t have the energy to yell at him right now. He will come home later, I know him. It’s fine, he can stay here,” she says.
Dawgie makes himself comfortable in my yard and in my opinion it doesn’t look like he’s planning to leave anytime soon.
I give him a belly rub and then go inside and make dinner. Tonight it’s rice and a Moroccan, tomato stew. Not great, but not bad either. Chat with Colden on the phone for a bit.
Later at night, I see Dawgie still in the yard.
Go outside and shoo him outside of my yard. In defiance, he lays down by the gate in the road in front of my house.
A few hours later, I hear Catherine’s cousin pull up in front of my house with her daughter, Anaya.
“Dawgie! Come on! Dawgie!” they call to him.
It takes a solid 30 minutes of coercion, but finally Dawgie agrees to follow the car and go home.
Oh, Dawgie. Catherine always said she didn’t want him to come to my house because he would never come home again. That was a close call! He looked pretty comfortable out there in the yard tonight.
Watch a movie, head to bed.