Tuesday, May 6, 2008

The Simple Things You Take For Granted

Washing Laundry

I have attempted this twice with varying degrees of success. The first time Odnam (eldest child) was home from work and agreed to help me. She spent the first hour laughing at me and then took over the task completely because my Learning Process was clearly too slow for her taste. After the second hour we had finally finished and my knuckles were bloody with the proof of my labor (this is not an exaggeration—they are still healing now!)

So despite this painful tutorial I decided to have another go at laundry washing yesterday. At 9:30 Niallil helped me pull out the metal basin into the backyard then I was on my own. ‘On My Own’, however, does not mean I was alone-- merely that I was working independently. What swarmed around me were hysterically laughing neighborhood children and the disappointed stares of my sisters and mother (again, not an exaggeration—they literally stood three feet from me staring silently for 2 hours).

In the third hour a few of the neighborhood children came over to help me wash but lost interest shortly after my colorful t-shirts had been finished. About this time Baby Ame also waddled over and began throwing dirt onto my pile of washed clothes (my mother rescued most of them, thank God.) When Anel entered the scene to pick me up for lunch she took one look and began empathetically hanging clothes on the line. In the shadows between the pillowcases and socks she leaned in and whispered: “Have they really been staring at you like this all day…?”

Grocery Stores Aisles

Choppies is like any other supermarket: there is a produce section, a bakery, various food aisles, a row for cleaning supplies and milk at the back (to make sure we walk the whole store and buy things along the way). A slight difference is the variation in width. For many this would appear a trivial element, “Narrow Schmarrow” you’d say.

But no. Width actually does matter. Even a few inches.

Imagine a few less inches in your grocery store aisles. Now imagine carriages, strollers and the occasional obese shopper-- squeezing through those narrow aisles, bumping into canned good and mulling over Which Chicken Looks Freshest while you wait impatiently to pass so you can justmakeittothefreakingwaterbottles.

Lets just say Botswana grocery stores have taught me to better appreciate The Art of Indian File, the Power of Elbows and Limit of Patience.

Oh, and I’ve never waited less than 30 minutes to check out. Ever.


They’re not here. I’ve looked. They tell me they exist but there must be some kind of black market. Seriously. Where do the school children go and why must my host sisters keep snatching mine?

1 comment:

Linnea said...

All I have to say is T.I.A. ... This Is Africa!
You're lucky to even have a supermarket to get stuck in!