Finetastic Adventures

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

The Chicken and the Egg, The Bus, & Other True Stories

Well, you know from our last blog that we have farm animals galore. Unfortunately, the chicken that was sitting on the eggs did not produce any chicks. (The real story is she kind of sits on the eggs. Some of the eggs roll about six inches away when she leaves to eat. So, of the 8 eggs only about 5 are under her at any given time and we are convinced that they are never the same five eggs. This is just another reason that eating chicken is OK. There appears to be no harm done to the animal kingdom).

If that is not enough reason to eat chicken, let us give you another. We arrived home from a hard day of public transportation (tell you more about that later), opened the door to our house and found a chicken on the kitchen table. The table was also serving as a chicken toilet. We startled her and began to chase her out of the house, through the front door, not the open window where she flew in. In a short time, we managed to chase her through the door into the yard with her family. We believe she was grateful and so were we. During our inspection of the rest of the house, sitting in the middle of our bed was a fresh egg. For those who may not know chicken etiquette, it is customary for a chicken to bring a gift when visiting a stranger's house. The egg is currently in our refrigerator and will be consumed shortly. The chicken's life will be spared.

How do you describe a ride on a public bus? Get ten friends, put them in a car that seats six, make sure they are sweating from the heat, and then ask the person sitting in the middle to exit and no one else is allowed to move out of their way. Oh, add a sign, that says the vehicle has a capacity of five. Well, it is Rand 2.50 vs the taxi's Rand 7.00 each way, apiece. Big savings on a PC stipend. Let me give you a more realistic view of the bus. It's the same size as the ones in US. But there is another seat added on each row making the aisle too narrow to walk down without bumping people, especially when carrying something which is nearly all the time. Unlike the States, the buses are jammed. 65 people sitting and 19 (well that is what the sign says) standing. The closest example is an aisle in an airplane full of people and you need to pass. We get the bus at the Terminus which is where it starts so there are usually still seats available. But, we learned our lesson yesterday that standing in front is better than a seat in back. Our stop, 15 kilometers away, is the first one where anyone exits and we are the only ones that get off there. Since we sat in the back, we had to make our way through all the people standing and sitting. It is not clear how we actually got to the front of the bus. We must have had the same feeling that a prize fighter has at the end of a fight. He knew he was there but could not play back each round. (We are also reminded of a story one of our fellow PCVs told us: the bus was so crowded that she thought she might have had sex without knowing it.)

It is kind of fun to see the expressions on peoples' faces when we get on the bus. White people typically (in all our public transportation we have only seen one other person that looked white) do not ride buses or public taxis. First they just have the look of awe (like -are you lost?) then when we greet them in Sotho, they usually laugh. We feel it is a chuckle of surprise and perhaps our accents. The kindness, support and hospitality on the bus as well as the taxi have been well above our expectations.

The PC training and other warnings have told us that crime is just terrible here. While it would not surprise us to become a victim of a crime before our close of service, our experiences so far have been incredibly positive. Marti left her nalgene water bottle on the counter of the post office. About 4 days later we are in the area and just go in to see if they had a lost and found. We made a somewhat public announcement holding up Dave's identical water bottle. Sure enough, one of the tellers had placed it in a cupboard under her counter and returned it to us. Then, in our last two bus rides to work, we waited on the bus to be dropped off closer to our work location. The driver was worried that we were lost. (Remember, white people on the bus is a strange occurrence). We told him where we were going and he said he needs to turn earlier. After thinking about it for a few minutes, he said I will take you to the plaza in the township where you work. This was totally out of his way and not on his route. The next day, another driver reaches out to us in nearly the same way. Finally, while making our way to the front of the bus in the story above, a Rand 20 bill had worked its way out of Dave's pocket, so that about half the Rand note was showing. Another passenger saw it and warned Dave that it was about to fall out of his pocket. It seems like a small act of kindness but when we were warned about the pick-pockets, small street crime, etc, these type of events have a great impact on your faith in the people here.

Each of you should have a Jacaranda tree in your yard. (In which case you would be living in Phoenix). In the spring, they bloom with these beautiful purple flowers. Everywhere you look you see these large beautiful flowered trees. They hold their bloom for a long time and then when the leaves fall, they create a purple flower carpet. Now, as we arrive home, we walk on a carpet of royal purple. And, then to remind us that this was not made for us, we avoid the goose, chicken and goat droppings the rest of the way to our door. We'll have pictures up soon.

Finally, we have successfully made our way into a provincial newspaper. Our supervisor and friend was being honored for her leadership of the school she started. The reporter elected to use a photo that included us. Even though our names were not included it was cool to see our pictures in the paper.

5 Comments:

  • Dear Marti and Dave,
    I think of you guys alot. I love reading your blogs. Be safe and know that we miss you.
    Diane and Howard

    By Anonymous diane wagan, at 8:58 AM  

  • After reading this entry, I'm convinced you and Dave are using the bus to have sex.

    You're not fooling anyone!

    Keep the blog going. It is amazing.

    Be well.

    Rick and Vivian

    By Anonymous Rick Aaron, at 9:32 PM  

  • Please tell me where I can buy one of those inadvertent sex bus toys.

    By Blogger joe chafets, at 8:15 AM  

  • Marti, Dave! Loved your latest posting--which I am reading on Nov. 8, the day after the election! Sweet! Marti, I was thinking of you guys as the returns were coming in -- all of your incredible work in '04.
    Barb Tabak

    By Blogger readalittle, at 9:31 AM  

  • Dear Marti and Dave -

    A pet chicken? I think it's sweet to have a gift left on your bed! B'tayavon! (in case you don't know the Hebrew - it's Bon appetit!)

    Keep writing - I look forward to the updates.

    gigi

    By Anonymous Gigi, at 12:12 PM  

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