Friday, April 15, 2011

Home at last

Well, we aren't. But we do have prospects; we hope to be meeting with our new landlord some time today. Thanks be to God! It's the place we wanted to be living in all along. Right now, I'm emailing at the university library at the edge of town. Then, we get groceries and back out into the bush.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Roughing it

We arrived yesterday to our housesitting gig, at a wooden house on the river, in the bush, near an ostrich farm. Yes, housesitting; the thing we had been determined not to do this time around. But we are rapidly discovering that it is impossible to find a house to rent in Maun if you are not already living in Maun. We came up here last week to follow up on some of the houses that we'd been notified of the week before, only to find that they had been rented already, presumably by some of the many people who are literally camped out here looking for a place to live. There are a bunch staying at Audi Camp, where someone had their tent robbed while they were out. I know, people shouldn't leave valuables in their tents at a busy camping area. It's a bit of a challenge, however, when you're living there as a primary residence while looking for real housing.

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.

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