Worms For Dinner

January 14, Day 532
It’s 5:43 am and there’s a bright light in my eyes that wakes me up.

Oh, it’s the moon, beaming in from the window by my bed. I stare at the moon and watch the heat lightning in the distance, and then fall back asleep.

Alarm goes off at 6 am. It’s the sub-DMSAC meeting this morning, so I have to be at the DAC office early today.

Get up, take a bucket bath. Iced coffee season has arrived, so I sip some iced coffee and make eggs.

Get dressed, and water the plants.

Crap, I forgot to fix my bike again. Oh well.

Get walking to work so that I can make it to the Sub-DMSAC meeting on time. Arrive just in time to find Bontle printing out the documents we need for the meeting. I quickly staple everything together and teach Mr. Wasetso, the guy they promised to hire as the acting DAC, why we are printing things and what they are for. Give him his packet.

Walk to the conference room annnnddd… no one is there.

Wait.

Wait.

Wait.

A few people trickle in. The Molaodi arrives. We wait. We are waiting for the DHMT.

Go outside and call the DHMT, they don’t answer.

Fourty-five minutes later, the DHMT arrives. We start the meeting. It’s terrible, but the best it can be considering that we don’t have a DAC. Everyone presents whatever data they have.

Go back to the DAC office and eat my lunch and chit chat with Bontle and Mr. Wasetso. He goes to take a nap, and I chat with Bontle. I decide to erase the calendar of events we wrote from last year and rewrite it for this year. It takes forever.

After lunch, I walk over to BOCAIP. I see a sign that says “Construction Works Ahead” in front of a construction site.

Is there more than one “work” happening? Why “Works”? I wonder to myself.

Check in with Baitshepi at BOCAIP and chat about the meeting. Work quietly in the Komotso Centre.

At 4:30 pm, Baitshepi says she’s going home an offers me a ride home.

Woo hoo!

Hop in the truck, and she drops me off at home.

Sit in front of the fan and try not to die.

Change into shorts. Go outside and try to finish digging up that third garden. As I’m digging, my neighbor Besego walks up to my gate.

“Dumela, Abigail. Le kae?” she asks.

“Re teng, Besego. Wena, le kae?” (I am well. How are you?”

“Did you know I just had a baby? She is very young, five weeks old,” she says, pointing to the baby in her friend’s arms on her front porch. “Would you like to buy some mopane worms? My friend has some and is selling some.”

“Oh, thank you very much for asking, but I’m okay. I don’t need any mopane tonight.”

“Okay, well, if you ever need some just come on over,” Besego says as she’s walking away.

I resume digging, and then think about the worms. I’ve had mopane worms a few times before. They are worms that have been dug up, laid out to dry and are smoked. They have a salty, smoky, earthy taste.

“You know what, why am I here if I’m not going to integrate and eat the same foods as everyone else?” I think to myself. It won’t be every day that someone offers for me to buy worms once I leave Botswana.

I’m gonna go get me some worms, I decide.

Put down the shovel and walk back to Besego’s house. She’s on the front porch with a few girlfriends and her baby.

“Dumela, Bomma. I have decided to buy some mopane worms,” I say.

Her friend on the porch gets up and motions for me to walk with her to her car. She doesn’t speak English.

We walk to her car and she opens up the trunk of a small Toyota to reveal three large potato sacks filled with mopane worms.

“Ke bokae?” I ask (how much?)

“3 pula,” she replies, and then digs in with her hands and goes to hand me a bunch of worms.

Wait, no bag? We’re doing handfuls here?

“A o na le di kopa?” she asks (do you have a cup?)

I motion to her to wait one minute, and I run back inside my house and grab a mug. Run back and she takes my cup and gives me a big ole scoop of mopane worms.

Hand her the pula and walk back to my house, mopane worms in hand.

Sit on the front porch and munch on the worms. They’re tasty! Salty, kind of like eating Fritos.

Watch the sunset and sip on cold water with mint from the garden.

Go inside, watch a movie.

Cold shower.

Bed.

Boroko 🌕

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