5/30: Something about having this much free time today seemed so decadent.
5/31: Today was a huge victory in the life of my first born, the AIDS hospice. I was able to talk to several people at the municipality all of whom seemed incredibly encouraging and helpful. Naturally, I didn't even discuss my original intention for being there (the potential for a plot of land) and the chief was MIA from his refrigerator repair shack (which is apparently where he spends most of his time that's not spent doing his chiefly duties) and the doctor in charge of the AIDS ward at the hospital was nowhere to be found but any small step forward is a success in my book. I also hope to snag those elusive men later in the week, little do they know how persistent (obnoxious) of a phone stalker I can be.
6/1: So the chocolate cake I hyped up all week drew attention like that akin to Julia Child. The 'sweets' they sell in the little shop in my village are really Halls cough drops. I tried to explain this to someone and they said, "No, it says right here, it has menthol." On a food related note, one of my many admirers gave me smoked beef flavored chips in honor of my presence at a meeting he was two hours late to. I'm so sad that today was the last English Reading class I'll teach until their winter (yes it's winter here) break is over which I even expressed to them with the vocabulary word 'frustrated' in a sentence. (I am frustrated that school is ending early because of World Cup). Anyway, my positive moment is that I met a totally hip English teacher who I have a date with for next weekend for a girls night in one of the bigger towns, hooray!
6/2: Today I went to the new clinic in my village. (I'm a familiar face at the other one). I waited at dawn for the lone morning taxi and wasn't informed until after I had already gotten there, realized the nurse I wanted to see concerning the hospice is on sick leave for a month, that there wouldn't be another taxi until late afternoon. I then proceeded to climb up and down hills for about an hour with my co worker (who does this every day) with at least a good hour to hour and a half to go to get back to our organization when we were picked up by some friendly man with several mattresses on top of his car with a crumbling interior: definitely my positive moment especially since I could see my co worker starting to have trouble climbing the hills.
6/3: After several confidence boosting conversations in Zulu with my co workers I was discouraged when I noticed in reality they were just spoon feeding me my own paltry vocabulary. On a positive note, I had a wonderful bonding session with one of my co workers in English/Zulu that I deemed successful not only because of the new vocab I was able to use in context but more importantly because I got filled in on her juicy love life haha. I also visited one of my co workers at home who fell and dislocated his knee cap yesterday. He was taken to the clinic where they popped it back into place and gave him some pain meds. Thankfully it was the one day a month where we have a car at the org. He was still clearly in a lot of pain when I came and I didn't want to bother him so I didn't stay long but he just texted me, 'Thanks to come at home you make me strong God bless you.' Never underestimate the power of your presence.
6/4: So I was dragged out of my village kicking in screaming today by two of my best friends in Peace Corps, Leah and Angie. It was so nice to hike around Angie's village, have a few glasses of wine and just relax, not to mention talking in complete sentences in English.
6/5: So I couldn't take the guilt and Tshengie's puppy dog eyes after she begged, literally begged me to come to her dad's birthday party (see positive moment for 5/28). So I backed out on the girls empowerment sleep away camp planning session I was suppose to have with three of my fellow PCVs. Much to the relief of my supervisor who I can now see feels everything is now once again right in the world. Her dad is a pastor in the Zion church which is a traditional Zulu Christian faith where they combine drums and song and dance in worship that lasts all day on Sundays. Ritual and sacrifice are prominent and they have special dress they wear during any ceremony including church but not limited to birthday parties. The party comprised of his family and friends standing up and telling God why they were thankful for him with a good dollop of hymns in between. At the head table were Tshengie's six brothers, lots of bowls of cheetos, her dad and her two moms (polygamy is commonplace here, just look at the President), and Tshengie and I sat on the women's side near the front. I went with two friends from my organization and even though it took us two hours to get there I knew how much it meant to Tshengie to see us make the epic journey. And to top it off since we didn't get lost it only took us an hour and a half to get back!
6/6: After two really long fun days I vegetated all day today mainly carb detoxing. After a steady stream of visitors, I had one teacher who came to ask if I could summarize my talk I gave to her school a few weeks ago over child trafficking so she could review the points with her class. Seeing as though I was warned about that hour long lecture as I was walking up to the stage (under the assumption I was just to introduce myself) it was nice that she at least thought it was somewhat coherent, nice enough in fact to make it as my positive moment.