Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Debbie’s Shopping Day In Siteki

Any trip to town here takes careful planning. So I start my day with a hot cup of tea and make a list of what I need that I can carry back home in a backpack plus a bag on each arm. I also want to plan my route so I am taking the shortest trip back with said groceries. So off I go to the electricity store first as it is the farthest away and my hands are empty. I get there and they can’t take my money because the electricity has gone out and the computer will not work—at the electricity store (note the irony here). Okay, next stop is the gas station on the other side of town to get some cash from the one ATM in Siteki that will take the PC debit card. The ATM gives me Emalangeni. I don’t want Emalangeni; the country is falling apart and there is talk about “de-coupling” the South African Rand from the Swaziland Emalangeni. For a year this machine has given out Rands as we live so close to the border. Okay, I will use this money first and keep what Rands I do have. On to the liquor store to get a wine that Gary asked me to purchase for company tomorrow. Out of stock. I call Gary to find out what he wants to substitute. The call will not go through and my cell phone tells me the call is “out of range.” The school is less than a 30 minute walk from where I am standing. Okay, I do my best and move on to the grocery store. I really want three things, lettuce, eggplant and chicken. You guessed it, they have none of these, unless you count the chicken that comes cut up into un-identifiable pieces and often has feathers stuck on it. Okay, I will cook something else and when I leave ShopRite I go behind the bus rank and buy lettuce from the Make vegetable market. I tried to buy eggplant, too, but couldn’t remember the Swazi name for eggplant. I gave up after seeing none and neither pantomime nor English worked. We got close as they wanted to sell me a butternut squash. I go back home the long way, with groceries, and I am in luck as the electricity company now has a working computer. I take this all in stride as it is the norm here. Flexibility has become my middle name. Did you ever believe you would see the day?

1 comment:

  1. Hi Guys,

    I've been really busy, but I've started now with your first posts and am working my way toward this one, pulling out those that I'd like to edit into something that could be useful for the Journal. I already have six pages of posts, so I'm not sure how I'll edit it down, but it has been an amazing odyssey from the sound of it. I'm sure you're both feeling mixed feelings right now, but it's a wonderful story, and I'm very moved by your efforts and inspired by your example.