Monday, August 25, 2008

More things to worry about...

It is not all gloom and doom here at the moment and I do have moments where I can escape from everything.
I woke up yesterday morning to the sounds of local Swazi music blaring into my bedroom. My little house is next to the student nurses quarters and they obviously like to spend their Saturday mornings much the same way that western girls do. I always hear lots of laughter eminating from these quarters so I suspect life as a student nurse is good.
Later in the day, Julia and I went into town and onto Maduba Farm. This is a property owned by the hospital’s ophthalmologist. As a side business, they run a Bed and Breakfast and this is where I will be staying with Mum, Graeme and Rachel when they come to see me at Christmas. I needed to go and pay a deposit to ensure our accommodation. Anyway, Julia and I started walking along the road to Siteki.
Let me tell you, I am not always convinced that this is a very safe excursion, but nonetheless, it is my only option at the moment. The cars zoom alongside at speeds way over the limit. My other fears include goats and dogs which amble alongside me. I know that most people consider goats harmless, but my beautiful sister Rachel, has had many an unfortunate experience with goats in her lifetime (one once bucked her into a bush of stinging nettles) and I fear that I will suffer the same fate. They look gentle enough, but I know that under that gentle exterior there is an evil spirit just waiting to buck me into danger. The other concern is dogs. Julia has warned me about them and has told me to be prepared by always carrying rocks with me to throw at them should danger approach me. The only problem is, that if I was to be approached by a threatening dog, my first reaction would probably be that of loss of bladder control. The second problem is that I am dreadfully uncoordinated. Any attempt at me aiming a rock at an approaching dog would be simply laughable. I have thought about carrying a stick with me, but the best I can find is a broom handle and I fear I will be the laughing stock of Siteki. Have I mentioned that rabies is common around here and I chose not to have that one vaccination?…..
Anyway, Julia suggested a “short cut” to Maduba. Given that I trust her with my life, I agreed. It involved traversing open fields and climbing through barb wired fences. It was actually a pleasant walk until we were confronted by a herd of ~ 100 cattle, all who looked pretty pissed at us disturbing them. I suddenly was reminded of my bladder control issues in times of danger. Thankfully, my pelvic floor muscles did not embarrass me. The cattle started mooing and as they approached their horns just seemed to get larger and larger. I held Julia’s hand and she quietly told me to start acting like a black person (a bit hard when all the blood had already drained from my face). We walked slowly and casually and did not make eye contact with the beasts. Thankfully, we made it safely past them and mad it to Maduba Farm in one piece. I will not take that short cut again. However, Julia then proceeded to tell me that she doesn’t like taking the conventional way to Maduba farm as she was mugged and robbed whilst returning from a visit there several months ago. I am now faced with the dilemma- get trodden to death by a cow or mugged by an African?…..