February 5, Day 554
What else is new?
I have no power and no fan. I open my bedroom window for air and try to cool down.
Get up and meditate to Deepak Chopra and Oprah’s “Perfect Health” series that’s free online right now. I think about how it is in my nature to be in balance. That’s just how it works.
Drink warm water and lemon. Make breakfast of my usual eggs and coffee.
Pack up my things for the day and get ready for another hot one.
Ride my bike to the DAC office. Aubrey is there waiting for me because I agreed to help teach him how to type up an accounts receivable in excel for his church. I notice most people know how to use Microsoft Word for the most part and end up creating charts within Word. I’ve been offering to teach Microsoft Excel because it will be a lot easier and more helpful to automatically calculate totals.
I try to teach him, but he walks off talking to Bontle in Setswana. So, I just do it for him, and then give him a lesson once I’m done to show him what I did.
Aubrey leaves and I settle in for the day. I type up certificates for everyone in the media production class who will be graduating. This stresses me out because I know it requires having:
A) paper for the printer, which we never have and our supplies women ration out like it’s their first-born child
😎 a color printer
C) knowing someone with a color printer
D) toner for the said printer, which we usually don’t have for our black ink printer, so I’m not expecting to find a unicorn color printer
I decide to just type up the certificates and tackle the printer issue separately. After I’m finished, I confess my stress to Bontle. She says there’s a nice woman who works in the District Commissioner’s office and has a color printer and suggests I walk over to her and ask if I can print.
Walk across the street to the District Commissioner’s building and find the office of the woman I’m looking for. She agrees to let me use her printer, but says I have to bring my own paper.
Walk back to the DAC office and get some paper. Walk back to the woman’s office.
She then calls out to the man in the next office to ask him to help the “lekgoa” print. She says it in Setswana but I know that’s what she’s saying.
“It’s okay, Mma. I think I can handle the printer,” I say. It’s an HP color printer and I’ve never printed using a memory stick before, but it doesn’t seem complicated.
Just then, the printer starts spitting out the pages I need.
“Eish! Of course you know how to work the machine. These things are in your blood because they are made where you are from,” the woman tells me.
“Oh, no. Believe me, many people have difficult times with technology in the USA so I’m not special. I just read the instructions,” I reply.
She laughs and I thank her for her help.
Phew! I’ve been dreading this day for weeks. I finally found a color printer and got the certificates printed! This was a huge hurdle for me.
The power goes out, and I walk back to the office and talk with Bontle to catch up with one another.
Power comes back on, so we can go back to work. Aubrey comes back and tells me he would like his spreadsheets printed with bigger font.
Mabe arrives and says he is going to drive to Catherine’s house to have some documents signed. She is still on maternity leave but apparently the only person who can sign certain types of documents. I ask him if I can go along, too, so she can sign my printed certificates.
“Yes. Let’s go!” Mabe says. Our office vehicle needs a new battery and our supplies ladies say we can’t get a new one until April, so Mabe says we will walk over to the Information Services building and ask if a driver there can take us.
The route between our building and Information Services requires us to walk down a deep and sandy little walkway, dodging under sharp thorn branches from the surrounding trees. Sometimes donkeys wander down the path and will freak out if they think you’re trying to corner them and don’t give them the space to finish walking down the pathway.
As we approach the pathway, sure enough, there’s a donkey standing there staring into space. A man walking through the path yells to the donkey and it gets scared and runs away.
When we arrive at Information Services, one of the drivers agrees to take us to Catherine’s house. It’s a single cab truck, so I climb in the middle and Mabe sits to my left with the driver to the right.
As soon as we pull up to Catherine’s house, I see Dawgie laying in the front yard in the shade. He flips out and jumps on me with excitement. I notice that he has little sores on his skin that look like eczema and ask Catherine what it is.
“Here,” she says, handing me a tube of cream. “I have this cream for him, maybe he will let you put it on him, he won’t let me put it on.”
I take the tube and give Dawgie belly rubs while administering the cream on his sores.
Bring the certificates inside and Catherine and I discuss what to do with the Men’s Sector. She says she doesn’t want them to spend money going to Ghakibane in February because we already did an intervention there. Instead, she asks me to tell them to focus their intervention in Khawa at their meeting this afternoon.
I hear a truck beeping outside. Mabe and the driver are waiting for me and are yelling for me to get in the car.
“One minute, tanki!” I yell over to them.
We finish our discussion and I hop in the truck. The driver drops me off at the grocery store instead of the office so I can buy goodies for the party for my media production class.
I buy a cake, brownie mix and bags of chips for the class to eat tomorrow.
Rush back to the DAC office.
Talk to Mabe, Bontle and Kabo while we all sit and eat our lunch.
The power goes out, again. It’s very hot.
We walk over to the conference room for the Men’s Sector meeting. We pray, introduce ourselves and proceed with usual meeting protocol. The meeting is in Setswana, so I pass a note to Bontle and ask her to tell me when they start talking about their intervention in Ghakibane so that I can chime in and pass the message about Khawa from Catherine.
The Men’s Sector is a group of men in our village that our office at the DAC gives funding to in order to do HIV/AIDS work. The DAC controls funding, so they can’t do an intervention that the DAC doesn’t pay for. However, we’re in a tough position because they want to do an intervention that the DAC doesn’t approve of, but right now we don’t technically have a DAC since she’s on maternity leave.
I deliver the message that she would like them to go to Khawa.
“It will give you a better chance of attending the Khawa Sand Dune Challenge in May, she says, because you will have already started an intervention in February. Often the bosses send only limited staff to that event,” I say.
“Ha! That is not true,” one of the guys says.
“It is true. I worked at the Khawa Dune Challenge last year and a significant amount of hospital staff were not allowed to attend, despite Mma Molomo requesting them,” I reply.
“Eish! Who are these bosses Mma Molomo talks to? Obviously if they spoke to ME we wouldn’t have this problem,” Mr. Fancypants Lawyer says, smugly.
“Okay, I’m just the messenger. You can take this up with her if you would like. I am only passing along her message,” I say.
The meeting room is very, very hot. There is an air conditioning unit, but we don’t have electricity to use it. Everyone has water in their hands and is wiping the sweat from their brow as we talk.
Finally, the meeting finishes. Mabe, Bontle and I walk back to the office.
I decide to go check on Chedza to see if I can borrow her laptop for tomorrow’s class, but she’s not there.
Pack up my things and get ready to head home. Baitshepi is in the office and offers to give me a ride home.
“But I have my bicycle,” I say.
“It is so hot and you have so many things to carry. Put the bicycle in the back of the truck! It is not safe to ride so far in this heat,” Baitshepi replies.
God bless her, she is an angel. I throw the bike in the back of her truck and we drive to BOCAIP so she can get her things and lock the doors there.
As we approach my house, Baitshepi takes note of the massive problem of weeds growing in my yard.
“Abbie, don’t you want me to come and help you clear your yard this weekend? I can come with my two daughters and help you,” Baitshepi asks.
“Really? Oh no, there are so many weeds, it will be a lot of work. I should really just hire someone,” I reply.
“My daughters are really good at helping! Don’t spend money. We will come and help you on Saturday morning.”
“Wow, thank you VERY much! I would really appreciate that. I will cook lunch for all of us afterward,” I say.
She agrees and I take my bike and wave as she drives away.
Sit on the couch for a while to catch my breath and relax. Suddenly, I hear donkeys in my front yard, so I go to see if they are eating my garden.
The donkeys aren’t in my yard exactly, but there is a big group of them standing against my fence eating weeds in the surrounding area and scratching themselves on the wooden post.
I tell the donkeys I love them and thank them for their contributions to our planet while I water the plants outside.
Go back inside and make some rice and eat leftovers from yesterday for dinner.
Mix the ingredients to bake vanilla cupcakes for tomorrow. Just as I put the pan into the oven I realize I forgot to grease the pan. Yikes!
A bad windstorm blows through outside. I look out the window and see a tornado of sand in the air and rush to close all of the windows and doors so that it doesn’t blow inside. I still don’t have power but that’s okay, I don’t need it to bake.
Make cupcakes and blue frosting and sit down to write while baking.
The windstorm turns into a bad rainstorm with lots of thunder.
Bake late into the night and listen to the rain.
Collapse in exhaustion on the bed and watch the lighting over the village.