February 19, Day 568
Wake up and stare out the window for a little bit while listening to the roosters crowing. Man, those things are loud.
Boil water. Make eggs. Administer belly rubs to Dijo. Go outside and bring my bucket to fill it up from the jojo and water the plants.
Inside and bucket bath. Eat breakfast. Tell Dijo I love him.
Gather my things and bike to work. When I arrive, Bontle is there and we chat with eachother for a while. I work on the Month of Youth Against AIDS project planning. Bontle tells me that the savingram from the Ministry formally appointing the Education department to head up MYAA has arrived. Finally!
We keep working. Mma Pula comes in with the secret box to hand to Bontle. She runs the records and archiving department and since everything is done on paper, she sometimes carries a plastic box around with her and will hand it to Bontle or Catherine. When she does, it means there’s an important letter inside the box that everyone in the department needs to see.
Rather than make a bunch of photocopies and waste expensive paper, she puts it into the plastic box and hands each person the box. They are to read the message and then initial their name on a list to indicate that they have read the message. A quite efficient system if I do say so myself!
At lunchtime I bike home and take Dijo out for a walkie. We run into Rocket and he tags along with us around the neighborhood. I leave the boys outside to play while I go inside to make lunch. It’s a salad and juice left over from the Valentine’s Dinner today.
Catherine calls and asks me to stop by her house. It’s getting late in the afternoon, so I tell her I’ll work from home for the rest of the afternoon and then come by in the early evening when it cools off a bit.
Around 4 pm, Dijo and I walk over to Catherine’s house.
“Ko ko!” I yell from the porch.
“Tsena,” I hear Auntie tell me from the living room. Auntie is helping Catherine out with the baby and she’s a pure angel. She always greets me with big smiles and greetings.
Auntie tells me that Catherine is in her bedroom, so I walk back to say hello. We talk for a while and she catches me up on the latest drama surrounding the MYAA project. Apparently the Ministry has been calling her at home even though she’s on maternity leave.
She asks about breast pumps and I tell her yes, we use them in the US. Apparently here in Botswana the electric breast pumps aren’t used often and the ones here are manual. Apparently they hurt a lot as well.
She shows me the contraption. Ouch! Meanwhile, Dijo keeps following me into the house and refuses to wait outside. I wouldn’t mind, but I know it’s not appropriate to let a dog inside. I keep picking him up and bringing him outside, and he keeps sneaking in to lay underneath my chair when no one is looking. Auntie is laughing but I know it’s not okay.
Anaya is on the porch with some water color paints she got today as a present and playing with Dijo. She comes running inside.
“Look Auntie Abbie!” she says, holding up a painted piece of concrete for me. “I painted it for you!”
“For ME?!” I say. “Wow! Good job. I’ll bring this home and put it in my garden. It will look fantastic.”
I step outside to leave and stop to say hello to Dawggie on my way out. He is sitting in the shade in the backyard trying to cool off and is suuuuper excited to see me.
We say goodbye and Dijo and I start to walk home. Just as we leave Catherine’s yard, I hear a rustling on the gate and see Dawggie crawling over Catherine’s fence and jumping into the street so he can walk with Dijo and I.
Now, I remember back in November when Catherine’s mother passed away and I was going over to feed Dawggie every day that he refused to go back home and would jump the fence. I know very well there is nothing I can do.
I text Catherine to tell her that Dawggie is following me home. She always says she doesn’t want Dawggie to find out where I live because he will then stay in my yard and refuse to go home.
She tells me it’s fine if he follows me. She’s tired and doesn’t have energy to deal with him right now.
So, Dawggie, Dijo and I all walk to my house. I try to shoo Dawggie away a million times, but he refuses to go home.
I let him into my yard and he goes bonkers! He runs laps and plays with Dijo, who is mildly terrified of him. It seems he has no idea he is a gigantic dog and Dijo is a tiny dog and kicks around poor Dijo like a little football.
Rocket hears the noise and comes running over to find out what’s going on. Immediately, Dawggie falls in love with Rocket (I don’t blame him, Rocket is a real sweet dog). The two chase one another around while Dijo hangs out on the porch and growls at Dawggie.
I let them all play outside while I make dinner.
I’m really down to like, no food. I desperately have to go to the grocery store, so this is one of those nights that I make whatever I can find from my cabinet. I find an old box of something called “Chili Bites” that I’ve been meaning to try. They appear to be some sort of chili fritters of some sort.
I whip up a batch with a mango dipping sauce. They’re not repulsive at all! They are actually pretty tasty. Score!
It’s getting late, and I want Dawggie to go home before the sun goes down so he sleeps at his house. So, I throw on Dijo’s leash and Dawggie, Rocket, Dijo and I all walk over to Catherine’s house together.
On the way, we hit a busy road and Dawggie and Rocket see a pack of goats and take of running down the road to chase the goats.
“Dawggie!! Come back!!” I yell to him. He’s too busy having the time of his life to even care to listen to me. Meanwhile, I’ve got Dijo on a leash and he’s going nuts trying to chase after the dogs but I won’t let him. I refuse to be a neighborhood dog who chases around goats and creates problems!
Dawggie and Rocket see I’m walking towards Dawggie’s house and finally run back to walk with Dijo and I. The neighbor’s dog sees the gang of dogs I’m walking with and flips out. He begins growling and barking his head off. He runs with another dog under the fence.
Soon enough, I’ve got 5 dogs all growling at one another and I’m terrified because I know Dawggie is so massive that it would take one move to kill all these dogs and that would be bad news.
As I’m in the middle of breaking apart all 5 dogs and holding back Dawggie, the District Commissioner of our village drives by, recognizes me and waves.
Amid the pile of dogs, I wave back with a ridiculous embarrassed smile on my face.
I get the neighbor dogs to run back home, and finally we arrive at Catherine’s house. She comes out to hold Dawggie back and feed him dinner while I leave to walk back home.
Back at home, I leave Dijo and Rocket to play in the yard.
Go inside and meditate.
When I’m finished, I see Dawggie sitting at my gate. Rocket is trying to dig a hole under my gate so he can get out of my yard and hang out with his new friend, Dawggie.
“Okay, buddy, I’ll let you out!” I yell to Rocket. I open the gate, and he runs off with Dawggie.
A few minutes later, Dawggie is back. He lays down in front of my fence and refuses to leave.
Oh Dawggie, you’re so loyal. There’s no turning back now. He knows where I live and I think I just gained another dog, only this time it’s a great dane.
I’m afraid to let him in because I don’t want him to think he lives here. Only Dijo lives here!
I let him stay and bring Dijo inside. Maybe he’ll get hungry or bored and go home?
Dijo and I eat some popcorn and watch a movie.
Go to bed.