June 20th, 2012
A Gas Station!!!
There is currently not a single place nearby to get gas, or petro, as its called here. Most vehicle owners either drive 20 minutes to Siteki, or 30 minutes to Manzini to fill up. Some business owners from Manzini have just gotten approved (aka paid the price to local government) to build a filling station along the tar road that runs through my community. This is the only road that connects to Mozambique so it gets lots of traffic, why they don’t have any gas stations along this route, only God knows. We do have a filling station in the community, but its not functioning and the Convenience store just moved across the street because it was getting robbed (I know the logic in that is faulty, but logic and problem solving don’t have to exist together here – it’s a blissful world).
Anyways, since the right to build had been bought, in celebration the business owners got to host a braai (BBQ) for the local government and anyone from the community who wanted to attend. Word travels fast so it turned out to be a very large portion of the community (side note below). The expressions “invite only” or “closed party” do not exist in this culture. Somehow I found myself involved in this braai and spent the afternoon serving this celebratory meal. It was a great day for the Malindza community, they got some money, they found out they were getting a modern facility that would employ their people, bring traffic into the community, and improve their economy, and they got a free meal that included pork, chicken, and wurst. I can’t say a thing because I was fed in return for my help, however I am a little peeved I was not invited to the after party. As soon as the food was gone, everyone high tailed it out of there. I found out later someone across town was approved to build a new homestead and another celebratory meal was happening. I really have got to find my place in the chain of gossip around here, I am missing out a lot of free meals.
Side note: I think I know why I’m not in the know. I don’t have a Fixed Phone. This is basically a wireless house phone, however since it requires no connection cord it gets used as if it were a cell phone. Imagine the old house phones that have the spiral cord attaching the hand set to the receiver. Well that is what these phones are and people carry them around with them. I have seen them in cars on passenger seats, shoved in large handbags thrown over a shoulder, as well as simply just being carried under the arm around town. When I ask why people carry them around I get looked at like I’m the one who doesn’t get it and the response is always “I don’t want to miss a call.” I refrain from bringing up the answering machine because I already know how well voicemail for cell phones was accepted. Don’t even think about leaving a voicemail, it’s just a waste of airtime (aka phone minutes). Apparently I got to get with the times, ditch my cell phone and get me one of these bulky, inconvenient, communication devices.