February 28th, 2012
One of my favorite parts of my community is being able to look at the night sky.
My community is in a very flat part of Swaziland, in the Lowveld. We can see hills in the distance in every direction but its flat for miles all around. Makes you feel like you’re at the bottom of a bowl, always looking up. Since the maize is almost ready to harvest when walking through the fields, which are everywhere, you literally get swallowed up in the scenery.
Being “below” everything has its advantages. The sky seems very broad with nothing to break it up. At night it makes you feel like you are at the Omni Theater at the MN Science Museum, completely surrounded. That first moment when the screen opens and the first image appears, that feeling of complete awe at such an engulfing sight. Often I also feel like I’m in a snow-globe, however it’s more of like a summer globe at the moment.
Since there are no city lights to pollute the night sky the stars are phenomenal. The moon, in its various stages of weaning and waxing, is extremely noticeable. When it’s full it lights the entire community in a silver glow, but when new, it unbelievable dark out. When its new is when you get the best star show. At this time I can see the Milky Way, which runs right over my hut. I sit on my steps, turn out my outside light and just take it all in.