Monthly Archives: July 2012

Library Day

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I have not forgotten about the blog, I promise.  I guess I have just been busy.  Yeah, that’s it.  We have been pretty busy.  There are lots of things happening around ACC.  A new semester has started and we have new guests on campus.

A few weeks ago our family went to the public library…like in Manzini.  It was an adventure and I guess the first time we ventured out into “downtown” alone.  I had asked many people since we have been here if anyone knew about the library and no one had ever been there.

We are big library users…like 70 books at a time library users.  At least we use to be.  And I did have a system of how to keep up with them all.  So, anyway, I was very interested in checking out the public library here in Swaziland.

I have to say I was pleasantly surprised at what I found.  We went to survey and ask questions and see how we could get library cards.  Nothing is ever easy here, but after we talked to several people at the library we left with some papers to fill out and bring back.

We had to go and get passport photos taken so they could use them for our library cards.

Today we actually had all our stuff ready and decided to go and make it official.  It was an experience.

We took in our papers that we had filled out…and figured out we had done it wrong.  We were told it would not cost money, but then today we were told we basically had to pay a deposit…that we would get back, since we are non-Swazis.  Who knows about that one???

After waiting for Brad to go to an ATM machine while the girls and I hung out at the desk and reading all the posters on the walls about AIDS, he finally returned…only to find out we did not really have to pay for each person, just our family.  We had filled out our papers wrong and stuff like that, but finally we got it all settled.

We decided to wait there and look at the books while they processed our cards.  After about 30 min. of looking they came and found us and gave us all our very own library card.

Each person is given 3 library cards (pieces of paper) and you can only check out 3, yes 3, books at a time.  So we quickly made our selections and went to check out at the front desk.

We made this trip in the afternoon and the library was filled with school children.  They were everywhere.  We are getting use to people looking and staring at us these days.  Sometimes it’s a mutual thing.  As we were waiting my girls were sitting and reading books.  Several times some of the school children would come over to them and try to talk to them.  Annie talked to them.  Some kids blew kisses from between the bookshelves at them and people stared at them and talked about them the whole time we were there.

On our way to check out, a table of girls called Annie and Ellianna over to them because they wanted to feel Annie’s hair.  They asked if they could touch it and so they all wanted to feel what it was like.  They asked Ellianna her name and after about 5 times of saying it, they got it right.  A girl asked Ellianna if she could be Ellianna’s friend.  As soon as Ellianna said yes, then they all asked if they could be her friend too.  I smiled and the next thing I know a girl was telling me she loved me.  It was all sweet and funny and strange and normal all at the same time.  And my girls had the strangest expressions on their faces.  They were a little confused.

Okay, so back to checking out.  I’m pretty sure we were some of the only people who have checked out books from the library.  They had to go and get the glue stick to put in the little page where you stamp the due date.  You remember.  Think back with me…before computers.  Remember the card where you sign your name and your due date is stamped on that little page.  Well, that is still how it is here.  So, we give them our cards and books and they don’t know what to do.  And neither did we.

After we got that part all figured out I noticed the box where they keep the cards when you check out books.  There were only like 5 other people who had books checked out.  Really.  Like 5!  Our family with our 15 cards like tripled the amount of cards in their box.  I think I might know why though.  The consequence if you don’t return your books on time is that your name and picture get published in the newspaper.  I have heard no one has ever really seen it in the paper, but I am thinking it’s because no one has ever checked out books.

So, the library is pretty random, but definitely better than nothing.  At home on our library days my girls would come home and I would hardly hear them the rest of the day because they would be so interested in reading their books.  (No, I did not go everyday.)  However, with the limit of 3 books per visit, we will have to plan to spend time just reading at the library.  We might even go and do school there some days.

It was fun.  I’m glad we are “official” members of the Swaziland Public Library.  The next time I go I am thinking of asking if I can get any special “deal” for being a teacher and get to get more books.  I’m mean, I will return them cause who whats their name and picture in the newspaper?  Okay, I actually think it would be kinda cool to make it in the newspaper here but I don’t believe it will really happen.  We will see.  I have been known to have overdue books before…and that was when I could renew them online.  Wish me luck!

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African 4th of July

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Yesterday was the 4th of July in Swaziland which means…nothing here. Just another regular day.

It seems like many of you in the USA had fun celebrating and seeing fireworks. We luckily did not even have a fire. I guess that makes it a great day!

One of the things I brought with me from home was some seeds. I have been a little worried that if I bring seeds from the other side of the world I might cause some sort of world problem or something. Ya know, how you can’t even get through customs with fruit from another country. I did make it home last time…all the way to my home in Abilene, with some PB&J sandwiches made right here in Swaziland, but that is a different story.

Yesterday the girls and I decided to plant some bluebonnet seeds. I mean it was the 4th of July and I am from Texas. I have no idea if they will grow here, but I thought it is worth a try. Last year when we were visiting Swaziland Brad’s parents and our girls planted an avocado tree together. They started the tree from an avocado seed they had sprouted. You can read about that and watch a video here https://swaziland2011.wordpress.com/2011/09/09/tree-planting-family/.

We decided to plant our bluebonnet seeds around the avocado tree. The package said to plant them in spring, but the weather is so warm here it is like spring. I figure they will get watered as we water the avo tree and we will see if they come up.

And, if they do come up, maybe one day all the Carter girls will go down in history for bringing bluebonnets to Africa. Like Ladybird Johnson. I can just see it now!

Deep Thoughts by Rachael Carter

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The following may or may not be considered deep, but here are some thoughts…

-I love Swaziland.

-The weather is just perfect here. Mostly warm during the days and cool in the morning and evening.

-I ate some kind of sausage today and I don’t exactly know what it was.

-I’ve planted some things. I hope to plant more.

-I haven’t had a microwave in my house since January and I haven’t really missed it. Only a couple of times. (Charlotte, it can be done.)

-There are some guests from Abilene on campus right now and that makes me happy.

-The said guests brought us some magazines.

-The said guests also brought me some elderberries and that makes me very happy!

-It is weird that we don’t celebrate the 4th of July. I think we may all wear red, white and blue. I thought about making something fun to celebrate, but that would require strawberries, blueberries, and cool whip (of course) and I don’t think I can get those things here.

-Not long ago, I drank instant coffee for the first time.

-There are some pregnant goats on campus. The girls and I keep checking on them to see if we find baby goats.

-We have a gecko that lives in our fireplace. And many other places I’m sure.

-Yesterday I saw a man hearding cows…usually the cows just go and do what they want.

-I spent 4 hours in church yesterday. That did not include any class time. Just the actual time of the service.

-It is awkward to see a stranger peeing as you drive by. It is more awkward for you to be close enough and make eye contact.

– I have mostly stopped wearing deoderant since I have been here. People, I’m in AFRICA! But on the days I wear it, I sweat. When I don’t, I don’t. I think they put something in that stuff.

-My children come home SO dirty from playing outside everyday. Their feet are black with dirt.

-I have invented what we call a "foot bath". We have to wash our feet often.

-There have been days since I have been here that I just put on a skirt. Yep, really. Things have changed for sure.

-I buy 30 eggs at a time.

-Often some of my eggs still have some feathers (and poop) on them.

-I have cut my first pineapple since I have been here.

-I found some fresh jalapenos at the store today and it almost brought a tear to my eye I was so excited!

-While at the store I also saw a woman walking holding a small child who was nursing…all while she shopped.

-We have different kinds of fruit trees on campus. In our yard alone we have an orange, bananna, avacado, mango, kumquat, and guava tree(s).

– Bologna is called Polony.

-Yesterday was chicken slaughter day. Today is chicken and dumplings.

-I love it when my Mom calls me.

-Yesterday a guard got killed while emptying the ATM machine…at the mall.

-The teachers are on strike here. The kids still go to school without the teachers. Hummmmm.

If any of you ever have any questions or ideas about something you would like to know more about, I would love the suggestion…even if only 3 people read this blog. 🙂

Knock, Knock. Who’s There?

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I’ve noticed a funny thing that has happened since we have been living in Swaziland.

In our house here we have a big key box that holds all the keys for different buildings and places on campus. I guess in an effort to keep things safe, things are locked up while no one is using the space, like the computer lab. So often, like everyday, multiple times per day, people have to come over and ask to borrow the keys.

Then there is the usual flow of people coming over to just ask questions or get things from our house. We do a lot of sharing around here so we are often borrowing/returning things around campus.

The funny thing I have found is that when someone knocks on the door, I just say "come in". I don’t know who it is. I suppose it could be anyone. But, since it happens so frequently and I can’t always just stop what I’m doing, I just say "come in". There are even times I don’t hear the door and one of the girls will tell me someone is knocking at the door. My usualy respons is "go open the door". This too is so different than what I have spent their whole life teaching them.

At home (USA) if someone came to the door I would tell them not to answer the door because we don’t know who it is. Now, all of a sudden we move across the world and suddenly I am just yelling "come in" to anyone that knocks. And, sometimes I am even in my pajamas! They start early around here!

I guess it is interesting how things change. We are in a unique place, especially having so many people coming to our door. I would not necessarily recommend any "normal" people trying the "come in" response when someone knocks at your door.