Thursday, January 24, 2013
It’s so easy to get swept up into the murkiness of cloudy days. At first they’re comfy and enticing…but after a number of cloudy, rainy days in a row where one is stuck under the same roof, it’s easy to get swallowed into the unhappiness of the moment.
I was forced outside of the house today and made myself tend to the garden. In reality, Lorato was really the one who gave me the extra push out. She came with her sister to check on me and make sure everything was okay. Begrudgingly I answered the door and walked with them outside. Be it the sunshine or the company, I felt a swarm of positive energy overwhelm me and I forgot the reason why I’ve felt so upset recently. We spent time admiring the garden and chit chatting about nothing in particular.
Recently, the amount of butterflies in Gobojango has increased to unimaginable amounts. The best part is that they love to flutter around the cornstalks and watermelon vines and surprise me as I’m walking around my yard. My friend Claire put it perfectly: I feel like I’m living in a Disney story. Every time I step into a pile of leaves and the butterflies swarm around me towards the sky, I feel like some cheesy chorus is to follow and I’m ready to begin skipping with my flowing hair behind me. To top it all off, my mom called me just as I started to weed the garden in the late afternoon. We pleasantly exchanged stories as I planted a new set of seeds: oregano, jalapeño, sweet peppers, cucumber, chives, and cilantro.
I felt the extreme delight of picking my own food today, cooking it, and enjoying it with the family. We pulled green peppers and squashes, as well as a number of corn husks from the stalks. Although the corn (I learned) was a different type than I was used to, it was still delicious. I let Lorato’s daughter Charity go off and begin to boil it as I finished planting the seeds and transplanting the moringa trees and basil plants into the ground. I spent the early evening sitting on a chair in my yard, watching the sunset with Ceasar at my feet, and spitting sunflower seeds onto the ground.
…Allow me to interject here with a quick frustration I have about owning such a successful, lush garden. During the hard, strenuous pre-plowing times, many of my neighbors just walked by and laughed as sweat poured down my brow while I swung the plow back and forth making plots in the dry sand. They mocked me when the grass overgrew some of the plots and suggested to me that I should weed it. It isn’t until now that the garden is producing that they’ve suddenly taken such a stark interest in its success. Everyone wants vegetables, seedlings, or the already foot-tall trees. I’ve already had people take four of my moringa trees straight from my yard, as well as chop off the top of many of my sugar canes (for the seeds). The birds hover around the canes and vacuum up the remaining seeds. At least I can chuck rocks at those pesky birds…do you think that if I start throwing rocks at the neighbors coming into my yard it would cause problems? If anything they’d get the idea…“Don’t go into Kitso’s yard…you’ll get walloped with a rock!” Haha it’s just such a communal culture, I have to get used to it I suppose…
Back to the story…I watched a lot of the light in the sky get swallowed as the sun set and decided it was time to head over to Lorato’s house. I’m so glad I went when I did. I arrived to her compound to find three of the children and three mortified chickens dashing directly towards me. Quickly, I got the hint that the kids were trying to catch the chickens so I dropped everything in my arms onto the ground and joined in the mad hen hunt. We spent the next 45 minutes throwing ourselves onto the earth and clutching chickens’ beaks in an attempt to get them back into the coop. During those 45 minutes, as I dusted myself off from the dirt and chicken smell, I probably giggled more than I have in a long while. They couldn’t believe that I have never tried to catch chickens before, and I couldn’t believe how normal this entire fiasco was to them. The sky turned to a deep blue and orange spouted from behind the horizon. I played with the children, Lorato’s puppy, and Ceasar until we were called into the house to eat the deliciously-cooked corn. We took pictures and then walked around Gobojango, with our footsteps lit by the bright moonlight.
What had started as a ho-hum day, turned into one where I found all of the blessings of life surrounding me.
And that’s the irony of this entire experience: where one day it seems that nothing will get better and I’m all alone way out here in the desert, the next I find myself being thrown onto the ground in fits of giggles with children and chasing chickens.