Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Riding in Cars with Strangers

Right now we are in the midst of summer here in Botswana.  However, this is also rainy season.  But when you hear the term, rainy season, it’s not really what you expect.  Basically it means that it seldom rains, but when it does it is a major downpour resulting in flooding.  The good thing about the rain is that it drops the temperature about 20 degrees for a day or two, making the weather much more bearable.

For the past two days we’ve been enjoying a lot of rain here in Gaborone.  Yesterday I taught for three hours.  It would rain for about 20 minutes and then stop briefly, and then start again.  And each time it rains it is a downpour, to the point where my students had to ask me to speak up so they could hear me over the rain.  Yes, the rain really is that loud.
The rain tends to add a little extra chaos to life here.  The streets flood, making it challenging to walk.  The robots (traffic lights) stop working, causing drivers to act even more erratic than usual.  And as I learned last night, the rain also results in miscommunication.

On Monday and Wednesday evenings I take Setswana classes.  I normally walk about 15 minutes each way to and from class.  Last night I made it about halfway to class before the rain began again.  Fortunately I was wearing flip flops so the ankle deep water didn’t cause too much of a problem for me.  By the time my class ended the sky was pitch black and the standing water was up to my calves.  As I exited the building a man said to me, “You live in the Village, right? I’ll give you a ride.”
I got in the car and asked him what language class he was taking.  He looked at me and goes, “Oh! I thought you were the German lady in my French class!”  I looked at him and said, “Oh! I thought you were my neighbor!”  Needless to say, Jun and I had a good laugh and are now friends.  At least I didn’t have to swim home in all that rain.

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