Thursday, February 2, 2012

Stranded in Mpaka

January 31st, 2012

Today being Tuesday we had our English class at the Refugee camp in Mpaka.  Mpaka is my “community” but its more like the next town over.  It’s a five-minute drive away and transport is very frequent, or at least has always been until today.

We finish up our lesson at 5:00pm, which means that I am not leaving the camp until 5:30pm, getting to the bus stop around 6:00pm when a bus comes.  However today the bus came at 5:45 and I saw it pulling away as I was still half way down the dirt road.  No problem, I usually miss the bus, but there are tons of khumbis going to Manzini that I can hop on.  Well not today.  I waited for an hour and half.  Only two khumbis came by.  The first wouldn’t take me, and the second had probably 30 people in it (capacity is 15), kute space (no space) the driver yelled as he pulled away leaving me in his dust.  I wasn’t the only one stranded, there was a whole group of us.  Nothing like sharing the same fate that brings people together.  I had a lot of great conversations while waiting ranging in topics from condom use to how the US recruits their military men.  By 7:15pm it was dark and I was assured no more transports would be coming.  Thankfully Addy and Ryan live in Mpaka so I called them thinking I could sleep on their floor, instead their Babe (host dad) has a car and said he would drive me home.  It was pitch black my now and not safe to be out, but at least I had a ride coming. 

However dark and alone I felt I knew I was safe.  I almost cried at one point, but then one of the bomake (mothers) at the market, who was still around came and asked if I had a place to go.  I had just sorted out my ride, but it was nice to know my community was worried about me and working together to make sure I got home.  All the MTN boys (who sell airtime aka cell phone minutes) were helping me flag down any vehicle to try and hitch me a ride, with no luck, but the help was still appreciated.

As Babe Tsabedze pulled up across the street everyone yelled, Tengetile your ride is here and I was safely brought to by front door.  I paid him for petro (gas) to say thanks and he got to meet my host parents.  It was a fun little meeting between the two families.  My family knows Addy really well and her family knows me well but our families had never met so that was fun.

If it weren’t for Addy’s Babe I would be sleeping on some strange homestead of the thoughtful Make who would have brought me home with her, but thankfully I get to sleep in my own hut and can add this to my crazy adventures in Swaziland list.

As a side note, our English class was awesome!!!  Snaps for Addy who planned a fantastic first lesson for us to teach our 60 students.  We are starting extremely basic and have to write our own curriculum, which is a challenge but it’s working.

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