All About the Small Things

In the interest of disclosing the biggest/scariest news first, a student (and one of our closest friends) informed Heba that TWO CAPE COBRAS and a PYTHON had been spotted near the staff room recently. WHAT?!?!?!!!!!! Heba just relayed this intel to me and I'm considering never leaving my room again. The student had warned us to be careful, but what does that mean when there are cobras and a python around?? Okay, I'm slightly exaggerating—I'm not actually that worried because there are so many people here who seem unperturbed and know much better than I do what this means and what response is necessary. But WOW I've never known what it's like to worry about snakes being nearby before...

Anyways, on a happier note, we woke up for breakfast today!!! This was a proud moment that turned into a tragedy that became the best thing ever. We woke up, refused to leave the warmth of our blankets for a bit, and then found the willpower to get up and trek to the caf (meaning walking for <2 min). The image of hot eggs and maybe French toast or bacon or ANY type of breakfast food was hugely motivating throughout this long journey. Notice the utter darkness we braved to get there.

However, upon arriving, where we randomly ran into Jazil...we discovered that in the breakfast line there were only slices of ham and cheese. That was it. There was the usual yogurt, porridge, Rice Krispies, and bread...but no eggs. </3 Which I'd been craving forever.

This is the tragic part. I decided that a ham and cheese sandwich (even though I already eat 2+ sandwiches/day) would do just fine, so I buttered the outsides of two slices of bread, stuck the ham and cheese in between, and cooked it in the panini maker until hot and golden.

THEN—drumroll, please—after sitting down, cutting my sandwich in half, and losing all hope...a woman brought out a bucket full of hot hard-boiled eggs! AMEN!!!!! And some pears!! How simple a glorious breakfast can be.

This is the happy part of the story. At school, my blockmate Naomi invented a breakfast sandwich I call "The Naomi Special," which involves crushing a hard-boiled egg on top of a bagel with some mayo. No, I had neither mayo nor a bagel, but I peeled the egg, sliced it, added it to my melty ham and cheese sandwich, and it was the best thing I had ever eaten. Maybe not actually, but it felt like it. I know this picture does not look super appetizing, but just imagine the beauty of biting into a grilled egg, ham, and cheese sandwich in cold darkness after dreaming of eggs and willingly waking up before the sun just for this moment. Ahh. And the pear was crunchy in a sweet, slightly underripe way, so basically breakfast was perfect. I am determined to go back! And hopefully to try the French toast which a student once told me exists from time to time?

Following breakfast, I crawled back into bed from 6:40am to about 7am, when I absolutely had to get up and get ready for the day. Heba and I sat in on assembly, though it was clear we didn't need to be there, and then headed to a super pretty, light-filled room on the second floor of the library with Jazil. I worked on writing blog posts until it was time to meet one of my students for tutoring. Did my heart sink when she told me she needed help with math? Yes. Did I totally give her the wrong answer for one of her problems? Yes. (Actually rereading that makes me realize how horrible of a tutor that makes me sound, but I promise I think she understands it better now.) By the end of the lesson, she knew what each part of the formula y= mx+b means, how to approach graphing boundary lines, and where to shade for inequalities. Yay! I really hope her math homework doesn't get any harder though haha or else we both might be in trouble. It's funny how bad at math I feel even after being fairly math-y in high school and studying multivariable calculus at Harvard—I've forgotten soo much.

Next, a short sandwich break, another transcription session with Phenyo (we're officially done subtitling!), and a check-in with TG about creating a display in the library of our favorite books, the other interns' possible trip to Egypt, and an event we're trying to plan for this weekend. Then Jazil and Fred led Cultural Literacy about applying to schools in the UK, I took a half an hour nap, and we ate a lunch of the puffy white starch, beef with bones in a brown sauce, cooked green vegetables (for the first time EVER!), a bit of potato stew, and salad. I took it all, but if there had been enough of everything for everyone I would've loved to eat a ton of that potato stew and the green vegetables. Yum, yum!

My list of top 5 book recommendations for the students!

Over the meal, I had a great discussion with two Form 6 girls who were in Jack's leadership class today about gender issues. One found it a bit disheartening to hear how the boys in the class clearly didn't get what it was like to be a girl; and the other brought up the Brock Turner case and we shifted the discussion to talking about cultural attitudes toward sexual violence. Botswana is apparently super high on the list of countries with the most reported rape cases, so I was curious as to whether that was because law enforcement takes reports seriously and effectively punishes perpetrators and/or because social stigma toward victims is low enough that it is less of a risk to report. She described how people's first instinct is to blame the victim for what she was wearing or how she was acting, but wants to think more about this and continue our conversation some other time, which I'd definitely benefit a lot from, too.

Following lunch, Siqi, Zach, and I went to meet Chef Benedict to ask about obtaining foodstuffs for whatever event we hold this weekend—tentatively a s'mores night (wooo American culture!) or an ice cream social after the Verbal Emancipation performance on Friday. We also found out that the Bundles of Brightness trip to Malwelwe on Saturday, which Harsh and I were really looking forward to, was cancelled. The village has some sort of other event going on involving a Ministry, so we can't interfere with that. Which means that we interns now have all of Saturday to do something fun with the boarders! I think Zach and I would most like to see a dodgeball tournament, but we haven't seen any foam or light rubber balls around; and we also don't know if we can pull off having kids make teams and doing brackets and stuff by Saturday. So it might be super informal, or else another (hopefully less vicious) game of Capture the Flag.

We'll see! I think we feel a bit of pressure to pull something off since this may be some of the interns' last weekend here for the rest of our stay. To give you a sense of our upcoming travel plans, this is what we're looking at:

  • Saturday, June 25-Sunday, June 26: MaP
  • Thursday, June 30-Sunday, July 3: Swakopmund, Namibia
  • Friday, July 8-Sunday, July 10: Okavango Delta, northern Botswana (I might've also found us accommodations for this trip today! At a place called Okavango River Lodge)
  • Friday, July 15-Tuesday, July 19: Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe and Kasane/Chobe National Park (we have a guest house and tours booked; we just need to figure out how we're getting there and back)
  • Friday, July 22-Sunday, July 24: Jazil, Siqi, Jocelyn, Harsh, and possibly Jack hope to go to Cairo! Heba (who lives in Egypt) and I (worried about $$ for six-hour drives to Joberg and seven-hour flights to Cairo for a day or two of sightseeing) are staying behind, so maybe we'll be able to plan some fun stuff for the boarders.
  • Friday, July 29: We all say goodbye and thank you to MaP, and take off for Cape Town.
  • Thursday, August 4: I catch my plane from Cape Town -> Dubai -> Boston!

It's strange thinking how all this back-to-back traveling will affect our energy levels and presences and sense of groundedness to MaP and the students. In my case, it's three weekends in a row and then I'll be here for the last one before leaving for Cape Town; and I'm excited yet also scared at the prospect of how quickly everything might fly on by.

Anyways, I spent most of this afternoon in bed, as the early morning completely wiped me out. I worked on this post, started a new book, worked on a write-up of an SPE for the Botswana Advertiser assignment from MaP Journalists, and exported all of the interview video files for Phenyo. A lovely, relaxing afternoon, though I'm bummed I couldn't force myself to brave today's slight chill in order to run. The streak has sadly been broken. :( But tomorrow is another day.

Dinner tonight was potato wedges, chicken, and salad; and we interns are now thinking of doing a movie night on Saturday, since we won't have to worry about as much supplies (including permission to light bonfires) as for the s'mores event. And then...I took a hot shower, folded all my clothes that had been lying around, made my bed (the sheets aren't fitted so they always slip off), and got comfy with Oreos, milk, and Game of Thrones episode 7! Today has been a happiness sandwich of 1) breakfast, and 2) now ending the day in the best way possible.

Truly all about the small things today!