We just updated our wish list on this blog. If you are looking for ideas of what would be helpful for us, please consider these items! Thanks again for all your support and especiallly to those of you who have already sent us some packages! (Rick & Karyl, Eve and JR, Joyce and Bill, Aaron, Pat & Susan, Sarah & Jim). We LOVE getting packages, and really really appreciate all you are sending! You can’t believe how nice the littlest things from America are here!
While I am updating the Wish List here is a quick current update of our lives:
The weather is actually pretty nice. We are in the middle of the rainy season, which basically means it rains a bit a few times a week, mostly at night. It’s cooler (about 70) and basically just overcast most of the time. This sure beats the extreme heat we had before, although even the locals are telling us that was an usual heat wave. The hot season will start in another month or so and we are not sure what to expect. Will keep you all posted on that.
My back is feeling better. I am in almost zero pain, but it is weak and I am still quite concerned about it. I have stopped taking pain pills daily and am taking Glucosamine instead. My knees are also better, though still a concern. I guess that’s just a result of extensive walking with backpacks each day. Hopefully my back and knees will get used to it and actually get stronger over the next couple years.
The internet continues to be an issue. We have a USB modem for our PC that is rated at 7.2 Meg, but actually performs at an average of 20 to 20k (that’s right, 20 K). It’s almost unusable for anything more than basic emails and light browsing. We are looking into DSL service but they want a two-year contract and only provide service rated at most at 512k, which means probably 100k in reality. We are trying to get both Carol’s school and my office to sign up for the DSL service or the more expensive Satellite service, but I’m guessing it will be at least 6 to 12 months before anything happens there, if ever. Wish us luck!
We are looking forward to Christmas here. We will probably spend it just the two of us. We are not allowed to travel during our first 3 months at our permanent homes. All the grocery stores and other stores are playing American Christmas music and its a bit strange, but fun. We will miss all our friends and family for sure, but this Christmas is a landmark for us, being our first Christmas away from everyone.
Now that we live in our own place we are able to eat what and when we want. I love cooking with Carol, but now it’s not quite the same. Since Carol’s school is out she has plenty of time to cook us really nice dinners and usually has it on the table by the time I get home, and since I’m still working 10 to 11 hours a day (hmmmm) I don’t get to participate as much. We get lots of vegetables every day and she continually serves new African dishes with the recipes sent by Karyl, Eve, Joyce and Laura – all of which have been good. She packs my lunches most every day now, since my experience with the restaurant that tried to give us used forks from the next table who recently finished their meal. She makes the best sandwiches!
This picture is of our Spice Rack. If you notice, the front row is all recycled products (we reuse everything from cellophane to twist ties to old nails). Anybody recognize the familiar shapes? We want to thank Sarah and Jim for sending the little bottles of Crown Royal which served us well and are now our spice jars!
Our house has come a very long way since we got here. We have put much heart and soul and a little bit of money into it and it is now our HOME. We actually like it quite a bit and are proud of it. We get continual envious comments about all the niceties we have like a hose for a cold shower, a fan bolted to the cement wall above our bed for air conditioning and a rough wood built shelf covered in cheap flowered contact paper in the kitchen above our counter tops that serves very well as storage. We are quite happy with our house except for one little thing. We have seen, and are getting quite used to, some fairly strange bugs in our house. But last night Carol claims to have seen a single cock-roach-asaurous. She has instructed me to get my bow and arrow out for the next time. We immediately deployed 6 nuclear reactor powered roach traps and expect the epidemic to be quarantined shortly.
I am still waiting for Carol to buy me a pet goat. We have a perfect yard for one, and I have been begging for one for almost a month now. I want to get a very small, black and white one that reminds me of my Mr. B, who I sorely miss and hope you all will go visit at Bettie Gongs house. It would be fun to have a little goat to come home to and have him (or her) waiting for me at our gate each day (with what’s left of my slippers in its mouth). Our yard has lots of grass for it to eat and I would build it a small Goat House. Please encourage Carol to get me one!
A few quick fun stories.
One of our colleagues, Jan, who is in the middle of nowhere (Kong) wanted to get some money from the single local ATM at the “grocery store”. When she went to the ATM, she found out the process is a bit more complicated. She has to tell the store manager how much money she wants. He then calls the bank that owns the ATM machine who then calls her bank to make sure she has that much money in her account. If she has her requested amount in her bank and if the grocery store owner has enough cash of his own on the premises, he then irons (yes IRONS, as in with an ironing board) the money (so it wont jam) and puts it in the ATM machine and then she makes her withdrawal. Talk about a great Checks and Balances System!
Our friend Nate does not have a bathroom or running water in his house – but he does have a brand new bathtub sitting on the floor of his spare bedroom. His nearest water source is about 3/4 miles away and he has to take large plastic containers of water there to fill and store for bathing, cooking and watering his weeds.
Our other friend Rachael had a small party one day. She told us a story about a woman who needed to use the bathroom and she obliged. A couple of hours later Rachael realized that all of her toilet paper – the paper from the holder plus all the extra rolls in the closet were missing. She has no idea how the thin women smuggled all the rolls out of her house. This explains why there is never any toilet paper in ANY public places (outside the main city of Gaborone) and everyone caries a small roll of toilet paper with them all the time!
This is a typical scene from almost everybody’s’ front yard. A nice tree with a huge termite hill all around it. The 15 foot high dirt mound you see is dirt from under the surface that has been brought up to the surface by the billions of flying termites that live under the hill. It’s pretty gross to think about bull dozing one of those hills and seeing what crawls out!
This is a picture from a small shack that I pass each day on our street on my way to work. Kinda reminds me of home….
Ok, that’s all for now!
We miss all of you and wish an awesome Happy Holidays!