Some days are really amazing here and others make me question what I was thinking when I decided to sign up for the Peace Corps. I wanted to make a list of the things that brighten my day here in Swaziland. I am going with a bit of a Thanksgiving theme perhaps. In the end this list is to share with all of you but mostly it’s for me. Being able to see this list and remembering the good things/things that make me laugh helps me make it through the harder days. So here it goes:
Things that can turn a bad day into a good day:
- Any sunset in this country, especially when it’s over the mountains
- Playing UNO/teaching UNO to my little neighbors
- Successfully carrying all of my groceries home without a bag breaking
- Getting a window seat on a bus or khumbi
- When my two year old neighbor plays with my hair and only speaks siSwati to me
- When the students remember something I taught them
- Ice cream on a hot day
- Whenever I receive a letter or package
- Finishing a book and getting closer to my reading goal
10. A surprise meet up in town with another PCV when we both just happen to be in town at the same time
11. Free wifi, actually any wifi that works well
12. Any new stamp on my passport
13. Understanding what someone signs to me without needing to fingerspell for clarification
14. Surprising people when I can greet them in siSwati
15. Taking a shower instead of a bath or bucket bath
16. Free public bathrooms
17. Soap in a public bathroom
18. Double airtime deals
19. Any ride in which there aren’t 10-30 extra people crammed into transport
20. Having the rare perfect timing with transport
Things that have made me laugh:
- The way children say my name “Mayyy-gannn”
- When I ask my little neighbor the question “Why?” for something and he responds with “Why for what?”
- The fact that cough drops are candy here (reminds me of my great grandma)
- When a little boy told me “green snakes are for Jesus” but couldn’t explain when I asked why
- When the students found a Black Mamba snake, stabbed it with a stick, lit it on fire and none of my neighbors were phased by it.
- The crazy names for the khumbis. Some of my favorites are “Mesmerize, The Last Chance, and Don’t Cry.
- When I go for a run and the children say they want to run with me but only make it about 1 minute before they say “Ngidziniwe”(I’m tired) and stop running.
- The guy who thought, “You are as beautiful as rice” was a compliment.
- When I was told I would make a good Swazi wife because I know how to wear a skirt because many “umlungus” (white people) don’t.
- When I was told I would make a good Swazi wife because I don’t show cleavage
10. When I made soft pretzels, gave one to my five-year-old neighbor and was then told “Swatis don’t eat these, we eat biscuits (cookies)”.
There are also three songs that I play on repeat on the harder days. The songs are all written about relationships I believe but man are the fitting for Peace Corps. They are:
- “I Won’t Give Up” by Jason Mraz
- “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)” by Kelly Clarkson
- “Home” by Phillip Phillips
Take a listen and see if you can see why they are fitting.
Also post questions if you have any about Peace Corps or Swaziland. I will do my best to answer them.