Thursday, October 29, 2009

A day in the life of Molebogeng

I want to send some photos of my abode now that it is my abode. In the earlier photos of my room, the occupant was my predecessor, the leaving Peace Corps volunteer. (Quite a dynamo was she, and is sorely missed by the students and staff of our little college here!) I miss her too and am so glad to have met her. She is returned now, to our beloved New York City, but is sweet enough to pass along words of wisdom across the sea.
This is also an attempt to again try to reassure my militant worry-worts back home!
Welcome to my lovely abode. I reside in a "house mother's" room in the girls' dormitory, which are called hostels here.
My dorm room is more grand than the girls', as I have a private bathroom and kitchen.
While basically one big room, my kitchen area and bathroom are off to the side.
The kitchen:
In my kitchen, I have hung lovely fabrics to serve as curtains and both were special gifts to me from family/friends at home. Although I'd rather be wearing them in some way, they cheer me a great deal hanging and reminding me of home.
In the sink area you can see that I have a sink and running water--yay! What a perk! I've also outfitted myself with bowls, utensils, etc. You can also see my "must have" condiments: olive oil, balsamic vinegar, crushed salt and pepper. I can live anywhere with these four ingredients.
You can see my kitchen appliances, none of which work, save the hot plate. I use both the oven and refrigerator as "storage." Now I can hear the screams of alarm primarily from my mother, Deanna, and probably Aunt Bea, "WHAT?! NO REFRIGERATOR?!" Please rest assured that I am doing fine without one, and have money to buy one if necessary, but am trying to go without for now. I quite like the simplicity of not having a refrigerator, and it forces me to be thoughtful about meal preparation, food shopping, etc.
I can still hear the alarm, "What about MEAT?" Well, I'm not eating it but I wasn't really eating it in the US either. (I like to eat meat when someone else prepares it for me because I think raw meat is gross.) :-)
But I have plenty of protein in the manner of beans/grains, eggs, nuts, and peanut butter.
The one thing I do worry about is butter, but Deanna has taught me that butter can set out at room temperature for days at a time. (This must be some type of baker's trick.) Also, I've found a market where I can buy a small amount at at time. I love real butter. I didn't eat it for many years in my frantic fear of fat, but I'm glad to have it in my life again. Real butter is such a small thing that offers a big punch of happiness!
So, so far so good without a fridge!
In one pantry shot, which is actually my freezer, you'll see a variety of whole grains: oats, rice, crackers, nuts, and tea. In the other, which is actually a cabinet, you'll see my store of beans, peanut butter, and olive oil. Chakalaka is a wonderful prepared sauce here made of vegetables, mostly tomatoes, that is very spicy and yummy!
My kitchen isn't always so well stocked, but I've just returned from my shopping town where I stock up on non-perishables. I can buy my perishables in my village.
I have no photos of fresh fruit and vegetables as I'm on my way to the village after this post, but have very close access to fresh fruit (apples, pears, bananas, pineapple, oranges), vegetables (tomatoes, cucumbers, beets, peppers, cabbage, lettuce, butternut squashes, and onions), and spices (fresh ginger root and garlic!) and will post proof soon!
There is a shot of my beloved fan and it provides many comforts: cool breezes, lovely, lovely white noise that drowns out the noise of the college kids, and also serves as my clothes dryer.
And then shots of my working/sleeping space. I love my work table as it overlooks the soccer field and community garden. I love to watch the birds running about in the grass in the morning and for anything else that might wander--or fly--along.
You'll notice how tidy my work table is: this shot is staged as Deanna can tell you, I always have piles and piles of books and papers strewn about. And I do have piles and piles of books and papers strewn about but have them temporarily moved from the shot to deceptively portray that I'm tidy. And yes, there is my weaver-bird's nest propped in the window; it is my newest favorite thing.
My good friend Bonnie asked if I would send or bring the weaver-bird's nest home and I certainly want to. I'm sure the relative national Departments of Agriculture would not approve--South Africa or the USA. Maybe I can think of an acceptable way to keep it/send it home. I could always ASK FOR PERMISSION!! What a concept!!
And then lastly, my sleeping "tent." This is, of course, my "everything-but-a-mosquito net," as you've heard my scorpions horror stories. I'm not worried about scorpions in the dorm room, as I haven't seen any, but I do worry about poisonous spiders, as I've read that 90% of spider bites in South Africa happen in the night while we are sleeping. A current volunteer also warned me that she had, indeed, been bitten by a spider so "be sure to use your bed net."
I love my mosquito net, because I've come to feel protected in it and know that something can't drop out of the ceiling onto me while I'm sleeping-or even awake! I do worry though, because the net is drenched in DEET, and fear I might develop some type of neurological disorder by sleeping in such close proximity to a chemical that can melt plastic. (Am teasing--no worrying worry worts!)
That's it for now and more is sure to come soon!
Have a wonderful weekend, and thanks for reading and for sending along kind words!
Best, Karen/Molebogeng


  1. Wonderful blog and pics, karen. I always wanted a canopy bed... lucky you! ha ha Love you!

  2. Thank you for the pictures of your pantries! I am concerned about moisture in the refrigerator which has no power so if you notice any mold or offensive odors coming from it or the freezer, it might be because something is putting moisture into the air inside the units. Just watch (and smell) for this and if it occurs, put a very narrow opening in the doors. It just has to be enough to let air in and moisture out so just a quarter of an inch should do. If Mom reads this, she can give feedback but I think this is correct. I love the colors and prose coming from the packages. Will try to do a painting from them. Getting on to writing you a letter (overdue) now. Much love from me, E and S!

  3. As you can see, the above post looks like Peggy Greenwell's post but it is mine. I signed her up from here with an account and forgot to sign in as me again. Hopefully, I have returned to the page now.

  4. Who lives in the trailers? Are the kids in those? The tree is lovely! Thanks for the pictures of you!