Sunday, July 23, 2006

Sunday in Gaborone – Gospel & Mandela

There is a lot of gospel music on Sundays and close to where I live are several churches which have services starting quite early in the morning and lasting most of the day. The air is filled with the sound of the beautiful choirs singing.
I got up early this morning to continue reading about Nelson Mandela and to listen to the songs being sung. I also listen to the rooster next door who doesn’t seem to know daybreak from late afternoon so he crows all day. Sounds nice and reminds me of when I was a child in Guyana and the roosters used to wake us up like a regular alarm clock. It also reminded me of a few years ago when I went back to Guyana with Sunita and Subhadra to visit. We had travelled all night in the plane and arrived in Georgetown about 7am. By the time we got to Belair it was about 9am and the girls were tired. They promptly dropped into bed and wanted to sleep but a rooster kept crowing and kept them wide awake. Somehow the noise didn’t seem to bother me but it did them. Of course the next morning when the rooster started crowing at 4:30, they were not too impressed but it’s all the sounds that I grew up with so it made me happy. That’s how I feel when I hear the rooster now.
The website is not going to get done if I don’t finish reading the Mandela boo but it’s pretty thick so I’d better do some speed reading. I went outside to read but it was COLD!!! I insisted that I should read outside so back I went into the house for my thermos of coffee and my shawl.
Kathy came to pick me up at 10 to go to an Indian market. We walked around the Broadhurst Mall and there were several street vendors selling wares including several Zimbabweans who were selling everything from furniture to wooden carvings. One interesting thing many people do in parking lots in Botswana and South Africa. They’ll offer to watch your car for 2 pulas (about 40 cents). Kathy explained that in some cases, if you don’t pay, you can find your tires slashed. Fortunately for us, this never happened. Some of the groups are quite organized. They are supported by many churches and wear a kind of a bright orange or green sleeveless vest (much like you see crossing guards at intersections in Canada). They are (quasi) official car watchers who do this in exchange for a meal or two at the churches. I think it’s also a way to keep them from getting involved in and preventing petty crimes. Some of the watchers even offer to wash your car for a few more pulas. When you’re exiting the parking lot, they’ll stop traffic so that you can get out of your parking space safely. It’s all quite a system.
We found some spices at the Indian market and I even found some guavas which I immediately bought. I went home and cooked some of the stuff I bought. Jayanthi called and invited me for dinner and I told her that I would bring over what I had cooked. I continued my reading for about an hour or so and then went off to the main mall to do some browsing. By the time I walked there, everything was closed except for the grocery stores. It’s pretty quiet in town when you don’t know anyone and you don’t have a car to go anywhere. I went home, thought about working on the website and then went off to the WUSC office (which is not really opened on Sundays but Kathy and Geoff were there doing some work) to check my email and see if I could talk to my family on skype. I got there with only sufficient time to check my email.
I went over to Jayanthi and Jim’s home and was glad they had a heater. The things you take for granted that you can suddenly appreciate!! A heater or a wood burning fireplace. Makes me long for a furnace. I might not be saying that in September or October when the weather here gets hot but it’s downright cold.
I used to hear about the Kalahari in Geography class when I was a teenager (never really imagining that I would ever come close to seeing it) and Adele was reminding me in an email about our geography teacher Chito who used to teach us all about the desert and the Rocky Mountains and stalactites and stalagmites. I could not have imagined that I would ever see any of it but here I am experiencing all of it. Can’t say I like the drop in temperature at nights because of the desert conditions but I’m experiencing it and that’s what counts.
Another weekend over. Tomorrow I’ll work on the website for sure. It’s nearly done even if I didn’t do much to it this weekend.

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