Posts Tagged ‘television’

Some Swazi Firsts

March 18th, 2011 No comments

I was able to get most of my "firsts" taken care of during our last trip to Swaziland: first time to Africa, first time driving on left side of the road, seeing my first zebra and croc, first time eating impala and warthog, etc.  Even still, there have been plenty of new "firsts" for me this trip:

First Black Mamba Sighting – The Black Mamba is the fastest snake and can kill a full grown human in less than hour.  Thankfully the one I saw was from the safety of the car and it was a small one.  Mambas are the most common snake in Swaziland – luckily they tend to avoid confrontation. 

First Swazi Funeral – Unfortunately one of our staff members had his mother pass away this week.  We didn’t stay for the whole funeral, but we did attend part of it (similar to visitation/wake in the States).  Very humbling.

First time picking Tabasco chilies – Cabrini raises chili peppers that are then sold to Tabasco.  On Saturday morning we headed out early with the children at the hostel to help with the harvest.

First siSwati Mass – On Sunday, we went to the traditional service at the mission.  It is entirely in siSwati, but was still very meaningful.  The dome structure of the church makes for excellent acoustics.  The sound of the singing will stick with me for a long time.

First housing contract that included the phrase "Concubines are strictly discouraged." – While it may seem very unusual to us, this is actually an issue in Swaziland where many people still practice polygamy.

First food delivery in the bush – On Tuesday we had some gogos (grandmothers) come asking for assistance.  These women could hardly walk, but made it all the way to the mission (probably a 15km trip).  We took them back home along with some World Food Program provisions.

First time watching cricket match (on TV) – Not only did I watch, but I actually learned to enjoy it.  In case you didn’t know, cricket is a pretty big deal in a large part of the world.  This week the ICC World Cup is taking place (it only occurs every 4 years).  The Aussie volunteer I was staying with is a huge fan and took the time to explain the basics to me.

First time hanging clothes to dry – Here at Cabrini they have washers, but not dryers. With the heat and dryness here most of the year, clothes dry extremely quickly.  Surprisingly, I have never really had to hang dry my clothes until this trip.

First Swazi thunderstorm / power outage – On Tuesday night, after a week of hot dry weather, we had a heck of a storm roll through.  We got at least 3 hours of heavy rain and an amazing light show for a good hour.  We also lost power.  Things are pretty simply here so lack of power is not a big deal – people manage – but it did mean no fans and no water. 

The next day I got stuck in an afternoon storm and ended up spending about 45 minutes in the local marketplace.  After the rain subsided, there was a beautiful rainbow over the mission.

First time watching Al Jezeera – After Al Jezeera released tapes for Osama Bin Laden in 2001, I had always assumed they were a radical fringe new agency.  Not the case at all.  Of all the news outlets available here (CNN, FOX, BBC, SKY, etc.), Al Jezeera is the most professional and provides the best "hard" news coverage.

10 (random) Facts

July 22nd, 2009 1 comment

Here are 10 things you may or may not know about me.  This is list #7 of 10 lists Beth and I are completing.  I have tried to include facts from all stages of my life.

  1. I was born in Joseph, Oregon.  This city has recently become noteworthy because it is the setting of the New York Times bestseller The Shack.  I have also lived in Idaho (4 summers), Wisconsin, and Somerset KY.
  2. I took 2 years of square dance lessons (I even dropped out of boy scouts to do so).  I know Basic and Mainstream moves, as well as a few Plus calls.  What many people do not know is that Square Dancing is competitive.  We would have banners that could be won and defended based on the number of “squares” you could take to another club’s events.  There is even a video of me dancing with my lunch lady — as I am sure you can understand, that is in the vault.
  3. I was a Senior in High School before I got more television stations other than PBS.  I only had cable the 4.5 years I was in college.
  4. Beth and I attend two of WKU’s greatest sports achievements of the last decade.  Their basketball upset of UK at Rupp Arena, and their Div I-AA football national championship.  I even have a piece of the field goal posts from that game.


    I am directly above Big Red on the far post facing the camera.

  5. I took the ACT three times in High School and my score dropped each time.
  6. When I was in fourth grade I won a scholarship to go to handbell camp.  (Yes… I really said handbell camp).  The problem was that I had such bad rythm the only thing they could do was put me on the biggest bell (the one that was only rung 1-2 times per song) and then they would point to me when it was my big moment.

    Random Picture - the author is not pictured (but did look just as nerdy 17 years ago)

    Random Picture - the author is not pictured (but did look just as nerdy 17 years ago)

  7. I have never seen the movie Titanic.
  8. My longest relationship before Beth was 3 weeks (Beth and I dated 5.5 years before we got married).  I almost broke up with her the first month because I thought she was too good for me and I figured she was about to dump me.
  9. I once drove 28 straight hours on my way home from Idaho.  I came in early and wanted to surprise Beth, so I shaved with a straight edge while driving through South Dakota.
  10. I have no problem cleaning the toilets, or changing diapers, but I refuse to put away the Tupperware.