Published: December 17th 2010December 17th 2010
Jumping for Joy
Ace and I laughing it up after jumping up and down because we are out of the office and our workshop got upgraded to Hwane
So... I think that Africa finally got to me last week.
It started all right. I had my article ready to be proofed on the Friday before, but I didn’t hear any feedback on the Monday. Tuesday morning I was supposed to be off with Ace and Vika to teach 24 of our Youth Action Movement (YAM) kids how to improve their communications skills... cause sure... I’ve facilitated workshops before?
In typical Swazi style, we were supposed to start at 9 am, but instead we were still at FLAS in Manzini at 11 – transport for all the kids was screwed up. Ace, Vika and I drove the 45 minutes north to where we were supposed to have the overnight workshop – only to find out that we had been moved to another location? Apparently, they told someone at FLAS – so we then had to arrange extra transport.
It wasn’t soooo bad. Turns out we got upgraded to Hwane resort – and being the oldest damn person there, I got my own private beehive. Ace and I were jumping up and down when we arrived because I thought i
t was so cute, and we were going
my cute little beehive
How adorable is the place I got to stay in... the place was totally swish.
to be out of the office.
Turns out – I don’t like children, but I’m not so bad with youth. We had great sessions and on the first day, the goal was to pump out slogans that we can use for condom promotion posters. We gave them the night to work on it; meanwhile I snuggled into my cosy little beehive under lots of blankets. It was a wonderful night away from the noise of Liqhaga Flats... and I was awoken to peaceful sunshine instead of the garbage compacter in the morning.
Wednesday morning I tried to check my email and found out that my article was approved, I had the morning with the youth (their taglines for condoms are soooo good), then ripped back to Manzini where I pumped out an article on PMTCT – prevention of mother-to-child transmission. Basically, it is a form of ARV treatment that you can give to HIV positive mothers so they won’t pass the virus on during pregnancy, birth, or afterwards.
One of my joy-oh-joy tasks has been two newsletters, which no one really wants to provide content on. I spent 4 hours at our printers on Thursday going through
My YAM workshop
Scary - I was responsible for teaching 24 kids age 16 - 23 how to improve their communications skills.
everything because we had to spend the money by December 31st.... and everything closes in mid December here. By the time I got out of there I was high on printing fumes... and for all I knew it could have snowed outside. The sun was blinding!
Thursday night I was bummed because I thought I might be able to tag along with Michelle and Alexandra and their road trip through Botswana to Vic Falls, but there wasn’t going to be enough room for me. With no x-mas and real new year’s plans I was feeling sad. It doesn’t feel like Christmas here at all – except for all the creepy white huge Santas at the grocery store.
Friday morning I was driving to work and my car stalled. Um... I don’t drive stick... this should not happen. By the time I had it out to Mr. Lopes it was stalling every time I took my foot off the gas. So dangerous. I got there and had a breakdown. I think my week of work overload, car, life, x-mas, whatever... hit me. I started crying in Mr. Lopes shop. I think he took pity on me so he let
Mr. Lopes telling me how to disarm and drive this monster, in the afternoon he gave me a land cruiser
Sarah and I take his Pajero – a massive beast of a car – to the YAM event at house of fire. I had to get the 10 minute explanation on where the immobilizer - a button you have to press otherwise the car thinks you are a thief and will turn off after 1 km. Please note –this feature is not installed on my car.
The YAM event was amazing – the kids had a bunch of dramas and dancing ready for the end of year event. There are some crazy good dancers in Swaziland... the guys are amazing here. We spent an hour taking photos with some of the kids from my workshop – using them for the condom ads. There are some gooders coming out in the new year – i’ll be sure to post them.
I went back to Lopes – car still dead. So he swapped me and gave me a giant f’ing land cruiser that had every male I know drooling. He was quite excited that I could drive “stick” – my mechanic is such a perv. I felt like I should be in Zama Alberta... and not Swaziland.
Youth Action Movement
some YAM kids performing at the end of the year party at house on fire.
news I got on Friday was that Mike (from Kenora but who I met in Bolivia and hung out with during Carnival in Brazil) decided he was going to spend his x-mas break with me. He is currently teaching English in Dubai – so a complete last-minute vacation had to be planned. On Saturday I found a decent price on a trip through Botswana that takes us to Vic falls. I’ve spent every spare minute arranging accommodation in Kruger national park (aka a tent site during the busiest time of the year in the biggest park in South Africa), a flight back from vic falls, then accommodation in Tofu, Mozambique so that Mike can surf and I can work on my tan. Ugh.
I was offered a ride up to Mbabane with Sierd who was picking up his new Pajero close by, so I was happy to leave the land cruiser parked and spend the night in Mbabane. Marina had a friend from Mozam coming in... so sierd got to host me at his place... which slightly rivals my dump. Sierd is British/Dutch, but was born in Africa and spent most of his life there – the guy is
I hate kids... but I love this baby
Getting strapped up - african style - to carry a 2 month old on my back.
hilarious. His bathroom is just as dodgy, and the room I got to sleep in had fire marks on it. When we got home from dinner the electrical storm had blown the fuses, and I watched as he stood in a puddle of water trying to fix his fuse box – he was like “this is a good idea”. In the morning he realized his fridge had defrosted due to no electricity, so I woke up to the smell of bacon a cooking. Ahhh.. It makes me so happy that other people have accommodation pains.
We had intentions of hiking in the morning, but with the rain we settled on a visit to Milwane park to see a bunch of roan antelope, springboks, and other things I am sure taste good. There are no predators (minus crocs and hippos) there so you can bike or walk around – we got out to visit a baby zebra. I now want one.
Got the day off work on Tuesday to go take part in an international volunteer day activity with the UNDP – organized by Ai from Ontario. We were painting a neighbourhood care point in a rural area about
2 minutes from the South African border. There were fruit trees to be planted and a kitchen to go up. I stuck to painting, but when it was time to eat, i avoided all gluten and instead borrowed the cutest freaking baby ever. She was 2 months old and had a cute crop of hair. All the ladies were shocked that Michelle and I wanted to give it a go – if you haven’t seen it before they tie their babies on their backs with towels. Newborns, whatever age, they are strapped on there. Then the mother can walk around, do work, use her hands. I wanted to take her home – and that is saying a lot because again.. I hate children.
So... my week has been slightly better than last week. My car seems to be working for the minute, and I am pumped to meet up with Mike tomorrow and reign terror on Southern Africa. My holidays will include massive amounts of time driving. I think that I will need some serious down time when I return.. not likely.
Cross your fingers I see some lions. If people want postcards... start sending your addresses. Oh – and I will be featured in the Edmonton Journal this weekend – not sure what day but check the letters section. I hear it is a blizzard in E-town... so someone go make a snow angel for me (preferably bob green... and can someone take a photo of that)