Sundays are rough. The other volunteers warned me. And whether it was rough because I was anticipating the antithesis of smooth or because, well, Sundays are rough – is a moot point.

The problem began with me waking up earlier than I would have liked. I had to pee. and if I were at home in my old apartment then I would simply roll out of bed with my eyes mostly closed and shuffle my way rather expertly to the bathroom without a light and without really waking myself up. Then I’d do the whole thing in reverse and not miss a scene in whatever dream I was having. Here there is a bit more of a challenge. First, I’m still on the floor. There is a volunteer that is moving out but not for nine days so I’m sharing a room and sleeping on the floor inside my bug hut.

A bug hut is the most glorious of inventions. Essentially it is a single person tent made out of mosquito netting – important because malaria is endemic here. Important also because there is an active wasps’ nest above my head and more giant roaches than you can shake a stick at.

Needless to say, I zip myself in every night before drifting off. But that means first thing in the morning when the feeling strikes, I have to heave myself up, unzip the hut, crawl out, rezip (lest there be friends awaiting me when I return), head to the bathroom and do a quick scan to make sure I’m not interrupting a roaches convention – after all, they were here before me!

At any rate, by the time I returned to my hut this morning I was still sleepy but had fumbled through my sleep window. So my day started at 9ish. Not terribly early I know, but given that there is no electricity, my roommates were either sleeping or quietly tending to their own things, and the day was overcast and threatening rain…well, that left the whole day stretched out before me.

Reading and writing and the usual stuff filled a good portion of the day, as did a nap. But things got particularly festive when we broke open the Uno cards and BushDiva and I sang 80s songs to our hearts’ content. That was followed by me singing some Dixie Chicks (by request!) and eventually dissolved into whatever randomness crossed my mind.

Six pm brought electricity and torrential rains, and an hour later F showed up to take us to the other volunteer’s going away party. It was an eclectic mix of people- missionaries, volunteer doctors, Peace Corps, and IFESH folks- eating a meal of: canned ham; mayonnaise, egg, cheese, and artichoke heart salad; rye bread; and fresh pineapple.  A veritable feast among women given that it contained both meat protein and cheese. Cheese! I’ve reverted to my PC self – or at least have begun the process because my hatred for mayonnaise is deep and devout like other people’s prayers. But there I sat reaching for second helpings.

The thing is that there isn’t a lot to eat here.

South Africa didn’t have diversity, but in the village – and at the very least in the township – I could get my hands on some fruit (oranges, bananas, and mangoes, peaches and avocados in season) bread, eggs, and peanut butter to snack on– all reasonably priced. Here, the extent of my eating options seems to be boiled eggs, bread, and bananas.

As a result my caloric intake is way down, which explains the zeal and appreciation with which I consumed both mayonnaise and canned meat.

Back home and settling in for the night with a full stomach, BushDiva and I were greeted by one of our many nocturnal friends – Stanley. Stanley is a bat that we discovered last night…or rather, he discovered us as we sat chatting in the living room. BushDiva casually mentioned, “I think that’s as bat.” Which I summarily dismissed as her expression and position did not change. This, after all, is a woman who will not even look at a roach – dead or alive – and calls for me to remove them from wherever she is. But sure enough, a few seconds later a fluttering rat with wings flew spastically by. I squirmed toward the wall covering my head while BD sat quietly chuckling at me.

Tonight I was less dramatic. Stanley only made one entrance before retreating to his home – we think it must be the pantry ceiling – and I guess we’re all settling into each other because I didn’t even cover my head this t

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