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Both of us have “adapted” well to the significantly lower level of expected hygiene here in Africa. No more daily showers or weekly laundry and much less concern about our physical appearance in general. As a result, our hair has lost it’s priority.
In my case, I was half discouraged about the full day’s vacation travel and expense to go get a haircut and half intrigued with having long hair again (like my high school days in the 1970’s). I just decided that I would let it grow for the two years I was here and then cut it when we came back. After the heat of last summer and continual disappointment looking in the mirror each day, I decided I had had enough. I asked one of our friends who used to work in a hair salon to cut it, but I was tortured by the thought of a dramatic cut, so I requested just half cut off. That left me with something better than before, but still a mess. A few weeks later, I bit the bullet and took a vacation day to travel to the big city and get it cut professionally. Again, tortured, I requested the girl to use her imagination and do “something” fun with it. For $30 (about 10% of my monthly living allowance for food and transportation) I got a very pretty, GIRLS haircut. Uuggghh!
There are plenty of “barbers” right here in our village, however, not a one of them has ever cut “strait hair” (white people’s hair), so I was not too excited about that option. I ended back at the same professional salon again 2 weeks later in hopes of getting a credit for my own mistaken directions, but to no avail.
However, I did end up with Clyde, who was a very good cutter and he got me back to my old short-hair self! What a relief!
One of our friends was nice enough to send Carol some Do-it-Yourself Hair Coloring and she was feeling over confident in my abilities one evening and asked me to give her just “a few highlights”. Seemed easy enough and I read the directions and went to town on her hair. You can guess the results. Orange hair. Everywhere. What? I didn’t know it would do that! So that is how we met Clyde. He was happy to help us fix my miserable mess and it came out fairly well, but once you start with the hair coloring, the roots grow out and there’s a lot of maintenance.
Our garden appears to be a bit more of a success this year than last. Last year, our first garden, we dug up a bit of sandy, rocky dirt and planted all kinds of great things that had been given to us by our friend Jason, the Master Gardner. Unfortunately, with a combination of no rain, too shallow digging, little to no nutrients and no top soil whatsoever, it failed pretty miserably. At the end of the season we decided to compost for the next season. We got two 5 gallon buckets and took all our left over vegetables and peels and all kinds of great stuff and layered dirt in the buckets and then buried it all in piles as the buckets got full. We figured this new dirt would have lots of good nutrients and be much better for our next garden. So this year we planted the rest of the seeds that Jason gave us in little seedling containers and raised them with all the tender loving care we could give them. Most of them grew, although weakly. We hired someone to dig our garden plot down nice and deeply and made it much bigger than last year. We built a new chicken and bird proof structure covered with the extra PC-issue mosquito netting we had (because we are two PCVs) and churned all that great compost into our new garden bed, marveling at how sumptuous it looked! We planted the seedlings and watered well and waited. All of the seedlings that we had planted died almost right away, leaving us bitterly disappointed However, soon after that tons of sprouts came bursting through the earth and we quickly deduced that the compost we had created apparently had tons of tomato and squash seeds from food we had thrown away! We accepted our fate and pruned like mad.
Now we have many tomato plants and squash plants bearing little fruits and we are hopeful that they will continue to grow to some eatable size.
A few months back the Soccer season started. I had promised the neighbor kids a year ago that I would take them all to a Zebras Game. The Zebras are the Botswana National Football Team. They are pretty good, but not really world class. As it turns out our village of Molepolole has the most modern and news stadium in the country, so the Zebras play here very frequently. Again, the stadium is difficult to get to for us and there is no published schedule of games so planning a night out to see the game is not easy. The team is made up of 7 divisions ranging from the professionals to the youngest team which is for ages 16 and under.
A few weeks ago we heard from a taxi driver that the Zebras were playing the next Friday for a free game. Of course it turned out that it was the youngest team, but Carol and I grabbed the opportunity and arranged with the parents of 17 kids for them to provide 8 pula ($1.00) for taxi fare to the game and back.Friday came and I took off work early and we called two of our taxi friends who we were sure we could convince to squish 7 or 8 kids in each taxi. Of course, 5 of the kids did not show up at all, and another 5 of them showed up with no money. Nevertheless, we piled the 12 of them into two taxi and went to the game. It appeared to be the highlight of their lives as only 1 or 2 of them had ever been to a game before. We brought snacks for everyone and bought them all water at the stadium. We tried to show them the Buddy System to help keep Carol and I from panicking when we could only count 11. It was a fun event and very gratifying to see how happy and grateful the kids were.