Monday, September 05, 2011
This is also an example of why a translation from something other than original languages can create a problem, especially if it then gets retranslated into yet another language. A Shiyeyi speaker who understands Setswana and translates into Shiyeyi from a Setswana Bible would have to choose which meaning of lentswe was intended in passages that contain that word. An English translator from Shiyeyi would then have to select the correct meaning of ldiyi. Imagine the difference that would be created with just one wrong translation choice in the transition from Setswana to Shiyeyi to English in Psalm 29: "The Lord's egg strikes with flaming fire!" Go ahead, read the whole chapter with "egg" in it replacing the word "shout" (in the NET Bible); it's good, clean fun!
Wednesday, August 03, 2011
He called me this afternoon and said that he would be by before 3:00PM, looking for further directions as he was at the bank but didn't know exactly where my office was. I agreed to walk out to the main road and meet him there. After a few minutes of not seeing him, I called again to make sure that he had not passed me in the time that it had taken me to walk to the main road. While we were talking, he said, "Oh, I can see you now!"
When he approached, we greeted. Then, he said, "I have something for you."
He handed me a small stack of papers. The top paper was the receipt for the car purchase transfer of funds. But the following sheets of paper were my sermon notes from a message that I shared with the ELCB congregation here in Maun back in January 2010: Why it doesn't matter What Jesus Would Do! He laughed when he saw my face. He then explained that he had recognized my voice on the phone – "As soon as I heard you speak, I knew who you were; you sounded just like you sounded when you preached" – and so brought these notes to prove that he remembered me. He said that he still wanted to keep the notes, he just wanted me to see them. He had been a visitor at our church that day and had asked for my notes so that he could study them in order to (as he put it) fully understand the message.
What a fun reunion… both with Edward and with my sermon notes! When Rob and I give a lesson or a message here, someone always asks us for our notes afterwards. Sometimes it is when their first language is neither English (what we have spoken in) nor Setswana (into which our message was translated), as was the case with Edward. We have often wondered aloud, between the two of us, what it is that happens to our notes once they are given away. If Edward's treatment of them is any indication of the kind of longevity such messages can have – at least in physical form – consider my day made!
Thursday, July 21, 2011
The workshop went well, all the remaining Shiyeyi hymns to be revised before the new printing were checked. Most of the changes were just to the new orthography. After the revisions were complete, on the second day, there was a Shiyeyi lesson.
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
[photo from Sitatunga Dispatches, the blog of Elena, for whom we house sat a couple of months back]
I don't think we have anything to worry about here at our house. The real heavy flooding is supposed to hit on Friday, the day that we're traveling up to Gumare for a writers' workshop. Flooding is predicted to possibly continue until the end of August. It's going to be a wet few years, they say (the local flood-pattern experts, that is… not your typical, generic "they"). Still, when we head northwest, we'll get all our electronics off the floor. The complex that we're living in has been around for a fair amount of time, long enough to even show up on Google satellite maps, so I doubt that we'll have an issue.
My main concern is actually the route to Gumare. I'll have to keep an ear to the ground for the next couple of days, make sure we're not driving into a problem. Gumare doesn't flood, I hear, but the roads around it occasionally do. North of it, really. I remember well the writers' workshop around this same time of the year, a few years back, where we had reservations at a river camp in Sepopa that was flooded and had to leave the car at the flood edge to take a mokoro to the camp.
I would say "those were the days" but, as I'm beginning to think, these may be the days again. At least accommodation is now available in Gumare so we don't have to drive back and forth through the worst of the flood plain during this time of year anymore. I'll actually be able to walk back and forth to the workshop from where we're staying; thanks be to God!
Thursday, July 07, 2011
Also, I still have to outfit the office, finding and purchasing furniture and other fittings. Which I am holding off on, frankly, until I figure out the source of the droppings.
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
But we have a weird thing going on right now; piles of dead ants. Like, I came out to the living room this morning and was greeted with a small pile of dead ants. It's hard to tell from this picture but the dark brown bits are dead ants and the lighter bits look like pulverized concrete. The thing is, I didn't spray this area so I'm not responsible for the dead ants. Rob says that the landlord does have his guys sprinkle ant killer around the foundations so maybe that's what's killing them. They're just crawling inside and dying once they arrive. At any rate, I guess I'm just glad that they're dead when they arrive, rather than infesting the kitchen. I just have to sweep up the piles. There are worse things.
Thursday, June 23, 2011
Tomorrow morning, will be laying down a vocal track for a couple of local budding rap artists from our church. They're doing some pretty fun stuff, good solid talent. Hopefully we'll have something to link to from here that you can preview soon.
New fun drink that I came up with last night:
1/2 cup ginger ale (I like the local brand, Stoney)
1/2 cup pineapple juice
fresh-squeezed juice of 1/2 of a tiny lime
Delish! What should I call it?
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
I've been out of the office - the physical one, the one we just rented - for the last couple of days. Tuesday was because I had a sinus thing going on and didn't want to trek there and hang out in the cold when I had a perfectly good home office space to work from right here, where I could recuperate a little. Today, Rob had some guys coming over to record so I stayed as support staff. Also, they want me to help out with a track on the album so they taught me the part. And I made them coffee and lunch, you know, wifey stuff.
Tomorrow, I'll be going in though. It's just me there for now, while we figure out who the staff will be, so it isn't like I have anyone waiting for me when I get there. But I'm going in to get into the habit of doing so, really. Plus, I've already moved all my linguistics books and project files over there. Tomorrow, someone is coming to fix a couple of windows that were already cracked when I moved in so I need to be there for that.
Friday, April 15, 2011
Tuesday, April 05, 2011
So, this housesitting thing is a real blessing for us. We have to be available to hop in our car at a moment's notice and go look at whatever comes up; saying "We'll be there next week to check it out," just won't cut it. And now, we are available. It's a bit of a trek over a sand track to get back to this house that we're staying in but it's a lot closer than Kang was, a 15 minute drive instead of a 5+ hour one.
Staying here is surreal. All you can hear at night are the bell-frogs and the wind. During the day, the wind remains but the frogs are replaced by bleating goats, bird calls and the occasional cow bell. The neighbors dogs bark occasionally but there aren't enough people passing these remote houses to get them going most of the time. With the coming of fall, the breezes are refreshing and no longer resembling the usual Maun summer sensation of being in a convection oven. The doors and windows are open most of the day so that these breezes can keep the temperature down inside. It's quite tranquil, feels a bit like being in a summer cottage. We are truly surrounded by the bush. We've determined that we will make the most of this time in terms of rest, maintaining a summer-camp attitude as we go about doing what needs to be done - driving to town for email, making the rounds of the real estate offices, doing paperwork, working on Setswana, getting ready for the upcoming Wayeyi festival in a couple of weeks.
I'm also planning to take a little time to read some of the books here on the homeowner's shelf. Today, I began with "Nobody ever said AIDS: stories & poems from southern Africa", edited by Nobantu Rasebotsa, Meg Samuelson and Kylie Thomas.
As I write, I'm becoming aware that a storm is about to hit us. The wind is getting stronger and colder through the patio door as the sky darkens. Trees scrape on the tin roof and there's a growing number of dry leaves whirling across the main room floor. The smell of Maun, dry and sandy with the green citrusy overtones of bush sage, is being cut and carried by the ozone gusts of a storm on the rise. I say a prayer that there are no secret leaks in this roof.
Tuesday, March 08, 2011
We will be leaving D'kar sometime this afternoon and returning to Kang, hopefully getting back by nightfall. I have been able to do emailing this morning, for the first time in a long time from my own computer. Ah, the little things.
Next week, we go back to Maun for househunting and the BOMU Awards concert, where Rob will be playing guitar and I'll be singing backing vocals for William Sechele (a.k.a. Kenny Williams). We'll be performing either "On My Own" or "I Believe".
Monday, February 21, 2011
Our internet problem is that the USB internet dongle that most people use when they can't get DSL in their home doesn't work with a Mac; the dongles are Windows only. Sigh. There is a solution that will work for us but in order to sign up for the service on the device that does work with a Mac, we need to provide the Mascom office with certified copies of our lease... which, not having a new lease yet, we can't do. Double sigh. So, this blog will be sporadic until we sign the lease on our new place, which can only happen once we find a new place. Our hope and prayer is that we'll be able to move in somewhere at the end of March. And no sooner will the ink have dried on the lease than we will have obtained certified copies thereof and applied for the Mascom Mi-Fi system. Regular net again! 'Twill be nice.
Thursday, February 17, 2011
Now, we had had something similar to fatcakes a couple of weeks ago, when Kathy made donuts to share with us; lovely cakey things with sweetness and a bit of spice, reminiscent of the sourdough donuts that Mom used to make in the wok for us when I was a kid. But real, local fatcakes are another thing again. It's hard to quantify what makes them special. They aren't too sweet, for one thing; the sweetness level is not that far above regular home-made white bread. But they don't have that inconsequential sense that most donuts have, where you can feel the non-foodness of them with every glucosey bite. A hot, fresh fatcake (which this morning's fatcakes were) gives way a little between your teeth until the outer brownness kind of pops open, like a grilled sausage skin, releasing the cream-colored innards to spring back into a orange-sized ball shape - they aren't like Timbits either, all you Canadians out there. Most of the sweetness in a fatcake comes from the hot oil that has permeated it somehow. Every bite coats the lips in slightly sweet oiliness. With coffee? Fuggedaboutit! Ambrosia.
I ate all three of mine straightway. Rob ate one and is still saving two for later, even though he has already had a second cuppa joe this morning that he could have enjoyed them with. I cannot but admire his restraint.
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Just a couple of hours later, I went to put on some sandals that I hadn't worn in a weekÉ and there was another one, on a web from one of my sandals! Two in one day! I'll definitely be checking my shoes more closely from now on.
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Now, this is not to say that we've signed any leases. Friday's efforts were an odd combination of encouraging and discouraging. Encouraging because we knew all the agents and spent the whole day driving around to look at things. Given that I'm normally pleased to accomplish 2 things per day on an average day here, to actually visit 4 agents and go to see 5 houses was a pretty big deal. On the other hand it was discouraging in the sense that we really didn't find what we were looking for. We did refine our criteria somewhat but, then, we didn't come to Maun to make a better list Ð we came to find a house.
The first house had significant water damage evident both from the stains on the walls and the sagging roof. A further complication was that there was a smaller house on the plot that contained a tenant, whom we would either have to evict and assume the cost of rent or keep on the property. The general state of the yard and the bottles strewn about outside their door gave me the sense that eviction would be our wisest option but who wants to be reason that someone is evicted? Hardly the way to win friends and influence people in the community. The first house was not going to work, on a number of levels.
The second house was somewhat better, having obvious water damage only in one room of the house. It was, however, infested with wasps' nests. Also, the kitchen contained only a sink, no other fixtures. While we still have some household setup funds remaining, I wasn't sure how far it would stretch for a complete kitchen redo. Also, I wondered about security. Our next door neighbor had a tall concrete wall edged with barbed wire and a metal sliding gate; the place we were considering had no burglar bars on the doors, minimal barring on the windows and a short chain link fence. That combined with the distance from the main road might make us targets. The ward is actually the one where many of the expatriates live and one where robberies do get reported in the local paper as happening. All of the reputation of being a prime hit-spot for thieves and none of the protection to fend them off? Not a good idea. We set aside the idea of house number two.
The third house was the middle house of a tri-plex, with the outer two houses being occupied by doctors and rented by the government. It wasn't too bad but it had no air-con in any of the rooms and the installed ceiling fans didn't actually work. More importantly, there were no taps in the whole house that we could attach a washing machine to. The kitchen was so small that, even if there had been a suitable tap, we couldn't have put both a refrigerator and a washing machine in there. The clothesline would also be shared, an additional life-complication. Also, one of the neighbors was keeping chickens and the chickens were nesting on our porch. Perhaps a request to move the chickens might have done something but they weren't cooped, they were free ranging around the property. We decided to keep this place in mind but neither of us were excited about the challenges that would be inherent in getting the place set up at the onset.
The fourth house had something that appealed to us greatly; it was on the property of a local politician and the grounds were very secure and well-kept. We would be renting what had likely been the servant's quarters at one point. Rob noticed, however, that the foundation was significantly shifted and that none of the metal-framed windows or doors closed all the way; one of the doors I had noticed myself as being not closeable. The rooms were very small as well and we weren't sure that our bed would even fit in the "master bedroom". Also the master bedroom had a bathroom but it was actually IN the bedroom, no door between it and the bedroom. Given the regularity of water outages in Maun, we could just imagine the stinky issues we would eventually have to contend with. The final issue was that there was nothing in the "kitchen" but a sink and, as at the previous place we viewed, nowhere to attach a washing machine. Cross off another housing option.
The fifth and final house of the day was a newer construction, built in 2009. It was pretty good on the inside, though still a bit smallish in the bedrooms for our bed. It had 2 issues. One, there was no security or privacy afforded by the fence at all, a short chain-link with a flimsy gate, making Rob uncomfortable with the idea of leaving me there unattended for any length of time. Two, there was no place for a washing machine hookup (again!). We could have jury-rigged something maybe in the one washroom, kind of like we had to do at our last place, but it would have meant wearing out the connectors in a short time by disconnecting and reconnecting them constantly. Still, this was the best of the 5 places we looked at and we kept it in mind.
Saturday, we attended the multicultural festival at the local high school and I enjoyed reconnecting with my local work-partners who were in attendance, as well as a friend from music camp and one from church. We got a lead on another possible house from our church mate. The shop-owner at one of the shops we stopped in at welcomed us back and gave us another lead. Still, I was feeling a little down at the prospects that Friday had left us with and wondered at our chances of actually finding something nice in the 2 months that we're allowing ourself to do so.
Sunday, we went to church, where some of our friends there promised to help us find something; one said that he would "wear out his shoes" doing so until we could come back.
Monday, we got the number from a co-worker in Shakawe for the lead from the shop-owner on Saturday and called it. The property manager/owner said we could come look at the complex, that there wasn't anything available right now but that something would be coming open at the end of February and we could go on the waiting list for it. We went to look; we were thrilled and our hearts went up with hope. It's a secure property right on the main road and not too far from down-town, making us a lot easier to visit than we were last time. There's a full-time security person at the gate, which means we could even go on furlough without needing to worry about our stuff. The fellow renters on the property are mostly companies, some of them only using their homes a few times year, so they're equipped for having people leave their places empty for long stretches. Walking around the little unit was a joy; it was structurally sound! Windows, cupboards, closets and doors all closed! Not a sign of infestation to be seen anywhere! There was even a dedicated washing machine hookup right there in the kitchen. And it's walking distance to where our mailbox is, also a small shop for convenience groceries and the like.
Yes, this is definitely the place that we want. We are third on the waiting list but the owner said that many people will go on the list and then find something else without reporting back to him that they have done so. Oh, I hope that that's the case this time as well! We are praying and hoping that we get good news on this front in the next couple of weeks. This place is so perfect for us that it's becoming hard to imagine living anywhere else, now that we've seen it. Please, God, please make it possible!
Another encouraging aspect of this process has been the interconnectedness that we feel as a result of people's offers to help. On this first househunting trip since our return, we actually saw about 2/3 of the people that we know in Maun during the 4 days that we were there. Of those people, many of them had housing leads for us. And while most of those have not yet panned out, we still have a couple leads in reserve from those conversations that we will look into if the last place that we looked at doesn't become immediately available. One is a potential house belonging to a Shiyeyi language resource person who has been assisting a local language researcher and who I met myself once while working on the Mark check last term. Another is a house that was rented by a friend-of-a-friend of ours that fell through during a misunderstanding with the landlady. Apparently it is a very nice one-bedroom house but with an owner who may not be used to dealing properly with tenants; a situation all too reminiscent of our last term for us to want to leap into it again with both feet. The point is that we now have connections; we are not doing this without local support. It's a good feeling.
Thursday, February 03, 2011
At any rate, it seems that I am one of few foreigners who greet around here because, while a smile usually accompanies the "dumela" response, surprise often does as well. The people en route to the Rudowskes' place are beginning to expect me these days as my schedule is regular. This is not so much true in the center of the village. The looks there are often ones of confusion, as if they can't reconcile my use of Setswana with my face. Still, the vast majority smile in a friendly fashion and we are both enriched. I arrive at the Rudowskes for my Setswana lesson light-hearted and raring to go.
There is a saying here, "Madume ga a jewe." - Greetings are not eaten. True, but they can be food for the soul.
Sunday, January 23, 2011
Saturday, January 22, 2011
[click the picture to buy on amazon]
Here's some info on the study that brought black pepper essential oil as a mosquito repellent to our attention:
More on the study conducted by Katritzky et al can be read here.
Wednesday, January 05, 2011
Sunday, January 02, 2011
So, here we are in Bellingham, waiting for my eyeglasses to come in. I ordered 2 pairs because, last term, the pair that I had fell in half after just over a year. They were plastic frames and the optometrist said that this happens sometimes because the plastic dries out. However, the drying and cracking normally happens after about 7 years. I guess the dryness of the air in Botswana just speeded up the process. At any rate, I will be going with a spare pair this time. Hopefully, these will last longer.
If the glasses are in tomorrow, we pick them up before heading south to pack for our return to Botswana sometime this month.
Saturday, January 01, 2011
blasts from the Dancing Sni's past…
Let me start by saying that having ants in the home here in Maun is not considered to be a problem. It's just the way things are. The pl...
Here is Rob's record: June gave me a bunch of his health records from when he was a baby when we were visiting them for Christmas o...
For immigration to Botswana, we need to be medically examined and have a doctor certify that we are "not suffering from favus, framboes...
If your hair was a light brown before you bleached it, here are some products you could try: Clairol Natural Instincts: 14 Tweed - Li...
Literally. Rob just heard a sound on top of the air conditioner. When he looked, he thought he saw a snake's head. Thankfully, it was ju...