Monday, May 19, 2008

May 17, 2008

My host mother has left to harvest the family lands this week leaving me alone with my seven younger siblings.

I wake up at six and step into the unfamiliar quiet of my hallway… Saturday morning whispers in a grey kitchen as I heat my bathwater and greets me in the yard where I brush my teeth.

The images I remember from China are not the Wall or my work or even my students—those memories from Asia are much simpler somehow:
…waves of hot through my hair as I race a rusty bicycle down colorful streets, thick with smells and faces and music…

Botswana does not have the color of China. There are no street markets, no food vendors and the desert yawns out long stretches of sand, peppered with a few lonely trees. I would lie to say I wasn’t slightly disappointed to learn that all “ethic shopping” takes place in “China Shops” which are, quite literally, cheap Chinese products being sold in Botswana by Chinese merchants who have a better place in the economy than the Motswana themselves (don’t get me started)…

Still, the Botswana I take home will be composed of the same type small moments I found in Asia. My Molopolole training memory will be walking out into the yard to brush my teeth by the bush with those soft pink flowers. Something about the way those flowers stand still against the backdrop of a sun rising into ribbons of purple and blue. Something about looking out across my quiet village with the round rooftops and those thick aloe cactus plants. Something about my dirty toes flip flopping over pink dusk. Something about silence.

I tread back to the house where my little brother sleepy smiles in the kitchen and I look at him and miss Eli. He’s too tired to fumble through English so he points at the water to indicate that it’s warm enough. I shuffle back to my grey little bedroom to bathe.

Some of this world will be heartache, some progress, some reflection, some epiphany, some rant.

And some will be Lekwapagne at six a.m. Somehow this will remain my Africa long after I go. Photographing it here so I remember to remember. So I remember to be.

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