Thursday, January 17, 2013

Life at WKUWCSA on January 16th

(again, sorry for not posting in a timely manner - just not really an option with how the internet works here)


Early on today, we walked across the sports fields to what is called “the dam.” I’m sure there’s a dam somewhere, but what you see is pretty much just a small pond. And when I say small, I mean small. I’m really bad at estimating distances, but just trust me – it’s small. Calling it a pond is being optimistic.

This pond is not only the water source for the school, but also for the communities below us (literally below us – we’re on the top of a mountain). Right now, it’s pretty full, as it’s been raining for the past few days, but apparently in the winter (June through August), it can get really, really low. They said that last year bucket showers were almost enforced because they practically ran out of water.

I mean, people always say to not take too long of a shower, and to turn off the water when you’re brushing your teeth, and all that. But that’s always been a very vague idea of “the water,” at least for me. It’s interesting now to be able to see a pond, and know that if I take a twenty minute shower, and then it doesn’t rain for three weeks, we could have some problems.


I’m getting more and more frustrated at America the more I realize that I wish I was raised using the metric system.

“It’s so hot – it’s already twenty degrees outside!” WHAT?

I mean, I’m sure it will make sense eventually, but for now, the whole Celsius, liters, meters? It’s throwing me off.


So, this morning, we decided to play a game called “Thirty Seconds,” which turned out to be the African version of Taboo, where someone describes a word without saying the word itself, and then their teammates have to guess the word.

On my turn, I look at the card, and don’t recognize ANY of the names or phrases. It was really awkward. I pass, and then show someone on my team the card, and they tell me it was a school, a rugby team, a politican, a TV show, and a town, all from Southern Africa. I was bizarre, just because it made me realize how very little I knew about pop culture around here.

On the other hand, some of the cards did have American things on them, but I assure you, the students from southern Africa were much better at guessing and describing the American celebrities than I could ever be. Typical.

Speaking of not knowing what was going on, later that evening we had a presentation on the history of Waterford. It was started as an all-boys school during Apartheid, and there were sixteen students, all boys. Over the years, it’s expanded, added girls, and become a UWC.

But then, the presentation starts going into all the famous alumni of the school. I had absolutely zero idea who any of these people were, and it was bizarre. She’d say a name, and you could hear the room go “whoa,” and I’d just think “who.” I’m sure they’re really cool people, but I haven’t heard of them. It was just kind of another reminder about how little I really know about Swaziland and Southern Africa in general.


On a less serious note, we’re playing this game to get to know people, where you’re given a name, and have to “kill them.” There are many ways to kill people, but the one I wound up with was touching a spoon to their left foot. I promise, it was as awkward as it sounds to walk up to someone and touch a spoon to their left foot.


At dinner, it was wonderful. We were just sitting at dinner having quite a wonderful time. You can’t help but worry, coming to a new school – especially such a diverse school – about whether you’ll fit in, and get on with everyone, and all that. But even though it was only the second night, it was very easy see that at that dinner, we were all going to get on. We were laughing, and talking, and smiling, and it just felt so comfortable. It sounds really cheesy, but I’m coming to smile when I think that this is going to be my home for the next two years, and these wonderful people are my family.

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