Published: July 23rd 2009July 23rd 2009
Took a walk into Mbabane today!
Sarah has three other guest with her at the house: Dale, and a couple, Suzanne and Wade. They are all very amiable, and have all done a good deal of traveling. Dale, who I walked into town with, is an older gentleman and used to be in the Air Force and Foreign Service.
The walk was wonderful, but steep. On the way down, we walked on worn dirt paths, walking past a pile of firewood that some boys were selling. It's winter here, and though I like the weather during the day, it can get very chilling at night. I might have to start wearing more layers than I technically want to, in order to prepare for spring and summer.
I didn't observe as much as I wanted to, mainly because I was trying to get a feel for the town before I started looking at the scenery. It was difficult to not keep drawing comparisons between here and Latin America, mainly because of the mountains. There was one thing in particular that I noticed--the mountain paths were a lot steeper than many places in Latin America. The city was moving with activity, and I can't wait to go down and visit again so that I can take everything in. My first impressions are mainly: beautiful, steep (the flattest point I have found so far is Sarah's yard), and a lot going on under the surface that I would like to discover. When I have traveled to other places, I have always had a vague grasp on the culture. But here, there have been so many different things that I've seen that I can't begin to figure it out on my own quite yet.
Now, as to Sarah's house... I don't know if I had expected to be roughing it a bit more, but this is certainly more than I expected. It is a rather big house, but really feels like a home, probably due to the amount of books and foreign culture that is scattered around. I was very happy to find that the Merchant of Death book was on one of her shelves. Her yard and garden are gorgeous, even in the winter. I can't imagine what it will look like in spring.
My father told me not to be startled if Sarah had hired help, but it was still a bit disconcerting to be met at the gate enclosing her house by William, her security guard. I learned later that she has 2 security guards, a gardener, and a housekeeper. But seriously, thanks for the warning, dad! That would have completely blindsided me. I have been pestering (well, asking) them to help me with my pronunciation of siSwati, which seems to amuse them. The gardener (whose name I will need Sarah's name spelling) and the second security guard have been humoring me in my attempts today.
I think I will begin looking for volunteer positions tomorrow, or whenever works best for Sarah. With all the guests here, and the amount of work she has to do, I don't want to put any more pressure on her. Luckily, 2 of the NGOs I was thinking of working with are less than a 5 minute walk away. So I may just swing by and drop off a resume.
And in other news, we may be going to Mozambique over the weekend, depending on Sarah's schedule.