Sunday, August 17, 2008

iZiki Zendota

One week ago today, with bags packed and excitement on our faces, we entered the iZiki Zendota bus for the ride of a lifetime. For those of you who don't speak siSwait, iZiki Zendota means "steps over men" and we have no doubts that this bus has stepped over men and will not hesitate to do so in the future. After a 2 and a half ride to a place in the country even the locals couldn't show you on a map, we arrived at what will be our home for the next 2 years. It's a small village nestled in the lugolweni hills, complete with a clinic, primary and secondary schools and 3 drying up rivers that leave Jay salivating for his boat imagining what they would be like in the rainy season. We will be living with the Simelane family, on a hill that overlooks the town and entire valley. We were told from the top of the hill we will live on we will be able to see Mozambique and South Africa on a clear day. Most of the family lives away from the homestead with the exceptionof the co-matriarchs, Bogogo. (grandmothers) The first morning we awoke to find one of our gogo sporting a hand sickle as a hat, recently returned from her sweet potatoe fields. Along with visiting the clinic and the schools the next 3 days consisted of an ongoing, very energetic game if charades intermixed with broken siSwati, as neither of our bogogo speaks a lick of english. Needless to say our visit went very well and we were sad to leave them the following Wednesday, especially when bogogo exclaimed, "Nyalo, sitawungesitunge!" (Now, we will be lonely) 2 more weeks of training and we will once again join bogogo to begin our work and create a home in Ntjanini.
-view from a hike in our community

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Happy Aniversary! Here, have a chicken.

And with that the deed was done. Hilary took the knife offered and while her faithful accomplice (Jay) held the wings firmly down to the body, she stretched the neck with one hand and with a few quick saws beheaded the chicken with the other. The body writhed, wriggled and squaked but to no avail as Jay's grip held firm, preventing what would have been an unfortunate escape. Hilary then completed the task of plucking and dressing then handed the job over to Jay to braai (grill) the meat. DELICIOUS!!! How comforting it is to know exactly where your dinner is coming from. Hilary made chocolate cake in celebration.
Our anniversary was Monday, July 28th and this was the gift our family bestowed on us. A gift we will never forget. Jay met the dawn on Monday with a plate full of fresh pancakes and homemade syrup. Breakfast in bed for Hilary. We then had class followed by a run that included saving a Swazi man from certain death as he used two teetering stones as the jack for his car and then proceeded to climb all the way under the wheel well. Jay offered whatever help he could but in the end we had to go as the sun was setting and it's a cardinal sin to be out after dark. We were met at home with the chicken and within the hour dinner was ready. We shared the evening with our family and then retired to our room to study. All in a day's work. Moral of the story...never question the validity of the statement, "running around like a chicken with it's head cut off."