Published: October 14th 2010October 14th 2010
Ace buying fruit from the fruit ladies for our ride to Mbabane
Well it was pretty hard to get into the swing of work last week following a taste of the beach in Cape Vidal, especially since the weather was crap and cold all week.
I was excited about the prospect of submitting an article for the Swazi Times, but had been cancelled on by my contact there a couple of times and thought it wasn’t going to happy. Well, let me tell you something about Swazi Culture. Everything here is hurry up and wait. Everything!
On Wednesday afternoon at 2:30 I heard from Thombile at the Times. Sort of hard on the phone to pitch my story as people don’t understand me in person, phone calls with my accent are downright brutal. Well, I caught this much. She wanted 1500 words on something to go in the Friday Sexual and Reproductive Health section... by 5 pm. I gave a laugh and said no way. So... I got a 10:30 deadline for Thursday morning.
Even though I am an intern for FLAS, I have an intern named Ace (aka my godsend). He pointed me in the direction of D.U. who heads a program that does a
Voice of the church
Interviewing Mr. Dube at the VOC, wearing a slightly seethrough skirt with slits up the sides
weekly show on the voice of the church. So, good Christian that I am (insert sarcasm) I got to go over to the voice of the church to talk to the co-host about why the program is so successful.
Apparently they talk about more than just abstinence, and half the show is devoted to call-ins and texts where people can ask questions and share personal stories. Mr. Dube informed me that the most popular show was on masturbation, apparently a way to help you abstain from sex. Way to go Voice of the Church - I am shocked you are so progressive. (I guess when 1/3 of the population has HIV; it is hard to pretend that people aren’t sexually active).
I was looking forward for yoga, dinner, and a sleepover with Andrea that night. Instead we skipped yoga, I made us (Andrea, Stephen and I) a lovely gluten free meal. While they hit the wine I sat in my room and hammered out a story. Stephen has a black bag of badness (alcohol) which he introduced Andrea to. By the time I was ready to review my story with them they had finished three bottles
Hot Dog TIme
At the school I bought ace a 70 cent hot dog...
of wine and hit the gin in the freezer. Stephen was a wealth of knowledge on how to make my story better. Andrea was BOMBED and all she could say was “wow that is sooooo good.”
By midnight I was so tired and Andrea was pouting that her organizations AGM was the next day. Stephen introduced her to the green bag of goodness (pills for hangovers) and I got to sleep to a drunken lush. She has since figured out that she cannot keep up drink to drink with my roommate from Northern Ireland. Stephen has since gone on vacation so Andrea will be safe to sleepover on weeknights without someone pressuring her to binge drink.
Friday my article came out with almost a full page in colour! I got the by-line, but my name is so small you have to get a magnifying glass out. But it is mine and I have been published in Swaziland. I will now be contributing weekly!
On Saturday morning I awoke to the sounds of gospel music. Got to give it to the Christians in my building, the start early, they are committed. In the afternoon I
everyone loves instant gratification of digitalk cameras
met our East Indian neighbour Salima. She adores Stephen and she arranges for someone to clean the place three times a week. She basically just moves things to the corners and does not get rid of the giant spider webs around the apartment. Salima pulled me into her place while the lady was cleaning and I got to meet her two children, the youngest is a 4 year old boy she calls her little terrorist.
She knew about my wheat problem but assured me I could eat all the Indian food that she shoved in my face (it was amazing!) I later learned that maida - which she told me is not wheat, is just super fine wheat flour. It was damn good - but I felt it the rest of the week.
I was ushered into her bedroom while she showed me some jewellery that she sells, hanging out while she threatened to beat her children to behave.
This is how the conversation went.
Salima: Aunty (sharman) will tell if I beat you.
Sharman: (feeling awkward) no, I won’t tell
Salima: Yes you will.
Sharman: Yes I will
Little Terrorist: No you
spot the white girl at the high school - taking pics for an advocacy billboard
Salima and Little Terrorist (Hindi, Hindi hind) and then Salima took off her shoe and chased him into another room.
Sharman: Sits down on bed and eats Indian food.
I absolutely love where I live now. This place is hilarious!
Oh - she has also told me that if I take hot water, sugar, salt, and lemon, it will cure my wheat problem. Who knew that my Indian neighbour knew the cure to celiac disease?
Sunday we hit up Ai’s super swank place in Mbabane for a little Canadian Thanksgiving Braai (bbq). It can’t be thanksgiving without some crisis, and well I had one. I decided on making Nachinka, a good Ukrainian cornmeal dish with bacon. (Everyone loves bacon). Well, when Andrea and I got back to my place to do some cooking the electricity was on low or something. The light in the kitchen was flickering I was sure I was going to have a seizure. Then my new microwave wasn’t working and I couldn’t heat the milk, and the cornmeal started burning. (Insert about 40 F bombs). Poor Andrea - she got to witness a full on Hnatiuk - family holiday meltdown.
Thanksgiving Mashed Potatoes
Andrea sporting her moms recipe famous mashed potatoes.
It all worked out, and damn it was good.
My article was read by the woman who hosts the Swazi TV breakfast show, so I got to head there bright and early on Tuesday morning to discuss the program. I then got to go to a school to take photos of students for an advocacy campaign we have for introducing comprehensive sexuality education in schools. (This week’s article). Again - the only white girl for miles - I think it is hilarious when the kids yell out “hey white lady!)
I have also learnt that I could have my own comedy show in Swaziland, at least according to my intern Ace. He says I need to learn SiSwati, but anytime I try to say words he laughs his ass off. He also seems to be around when I get angry and start dropping 10 F-bombs in a row. On a fun van ride with some of my male co-workers I told them how I thought speed-hump; instead of speed-bump back home is so funny. Since explaining that hump is slang for sex - there are a few who come up and ask me if today is
The living room
note the chairs with slanted seats
Oh - highlight of the week was playing around in the youth affairs office. They have loads of sexual health tools that are pretty damn hilarious. I stumbled upon a huge black foam penis one day in the library, but the next day it was gone. I found the mother load in their office.
For some reason they have a large supply of white penis’ with wrinkly balls. Then they have a female torso they use to demonstrate how to use female condoms on. I spent 10 minutes having a penis fight with Laura from Ireland - how often can you whack your co-worker in the face with a big black cock? Only in Swaziland!
With Friday approaching I soooo want this week to be over. Monday was 44 degrees (not fun at all), and the rest of the week has been cold and rainy. Today I came home to a reminder under the door that the electricity hasn’t been paid and it is like an $800 Canadian bill! My roommate is on another continent and I am hoping that the threat of cutting it tomorrow is a joke.
There are more photos below