Sweet Dreams – Shoe Guy

Because I am posted in a country where I might contract malaria, I have been given an antimalarial medication called, “Mefloquine”. One of the side effects of this medication is lucid dreaming. The following is what I dreamt last night (as best I can remember).

There were some students visiting eSwatini. They were either law students or pre-law. I wasn’t sure what they what doing around the kingdom, but that didn’t matter. I started talking to one of the guys from the group. He had really puffy cheeks. It was like he was a puffer fish that was always puffed up. Anyways, he told me that they were collecting shoes. I thought that they were collecting shoes to give away to people locally. I had some shoes with lots of life left that I didn’t use anymore, so I donated those. Fast forward a week or two. Puffy cheek guy has started selling the shoes at really, really high prices. Almost no one can afford the shoes. The rest of the students in his group are chastising him. He responds that no one told him that he couldn’t do it. “There’s no law against it”, he says. His group of fellow students abandons him. He doesn’t care. He’s selling shoes.

A few weeks later, there’s some kind of sporting event going on. I decide to wear a nice black suit to the event. There’s only one problem. I only have brown shoes. I’m looking all over for black shoes. There are none. I’m not going to go to puffy cheek guy to buy some black shoes. I decide to go to the sporting event in black sandals, and it’s okay.

Be kind to yourself.
Onward.

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Monday in a Picture – Super Bowl Slumber Party

This morning (my time), I experienced a first in Swaziland. Watching the Super Bowl. A fellow PCV (with amazing WiFi) hosted a Super Bowl pizza party. Swaziland is seven hours ahead of Washington, DC. This meant that we tuned in for a 1:30 am kickoff. The day and night were filled with food, friends, and football. 

I had the thought several moments during the game, “I’m watching the Super Bowl in Swaziland!” This thought made the sporadic buffering very bearable. And now, I’m well fed, extremely tired, and filled with adrenaline from watching an exciting game. I’m thankful to have had the opportunity to watch my first NFL game in more than two seasons. The above photo is of some friends who also joined in the festivities. 

Be kind to yourself. 
Onward. 

Monday in a Picture – The Tee Shirts of (Almost) Champions 

If you hang out on the internet long enough, you’re probably going to see memes mentioning championship tee shirts of American sports teams who lost the championship. The memes typically exclaim excitement about the second place team’s locker room shirts arriving in Africa. 

I wasn’t sure if the memes were based in truth or not. However, while out and about in Swaziland, I started seeing various championship tee shirts. The meme was confirmed. I’m not sure about the details of how the shirts reach their final destination. I’ve been told that the shirts are frequently donated to international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) who may use the shirts as incentives in various programming. While fans of the second place team experience heartbreak and wonder what if, someone a world away gets a shirt. 

The above picture was taken last week in mid-sized town in central Swaziland. The 2015 Cleveland Cavaliers didn’t win. But this lady (who graciously agreed to be photographed) did, and has the shirt to prove it. 

Be kind to yourself. 
Onward. 

Monday in a Picture – Sports Day

The school year in Swaziland is divided into three terms. During the first term (which we’re currently in), high school students participate in sports. There is special time set aside for athletics. Some schools compete against other schools. At my school, the students compete against other grade levels. The students compete in soccer, volleyball, and netball. 

Recently, our school hosted a series of sports days. The teaching schedules were pushed aside in favor sporting event schedules. When students and fellow teachers asked if I would be playing, I told them that I was unsure. On the actual day, there was tremendous encouragement for me to play netball. The teachers’ team needed players. I informed them that I didn’t know how to play. In true Swazi fashion, several teachers responded that it wasn’t a problem and that I would learn. 

I was told that netball is very similar to basketball. That’s true, as there is a ball and a basket. Imagine ultimate frisbee played on a basketball court. You have to put the ball in the basket (no backboard included) instead of putting it in the endzone. There are distinct positions on a netball team. 

In our first match, I played the position of Wing Defender. This position plays opposite of the Wing Attacker. I was responsible for stopping the advancement of the ball. I had to learn that netball is not supposed to be a contact sport. Old habits die hard. In our second match, I played the position of Goal Scorer. This position plays opposite of the Goal Keeper. As a Goal Scorer, I was responsible for scoring the goals (i.e, putting the ball in the basket). I learned that I’m not really good at this position. We lost both games. 

Be kind to yourself.
Onward. 

P.S. – Last week, Peace Corps Stories featured one of my blog posts! Tell your friends.  

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​Monday in a Picture – The Shirt Off His Back 

This past Saturday, I went to a basketball game in one of the major hubs of Swaziland, Manzini. Some ladies I know were playing in a women’s game, and I wanted to support. Though my team lost, the game was competitive and exciting. It was also good to be at a familiar sporting event. (While I vaguely understand soccer, I don’t follow it nearly as much.)

After the game, I was chatting with friends outside when I saw a guy wearing a tee shirt. Spoiler alert: it’s the shirt seen above. I approached him, and told him that I liked his shirt. He thanked me, and told me that it was an extra large. I thought nothing of him telling me the size until he started taking off the shirt. He handed it to me. I told him that he didn’t have to give me his shirt. He insisted. I thanked him repeatedly, and we embraced. He smiled, and told me that he wanted me to enjoy my time in Swaziland. 

I couldn’t stop smiling. I felt so much love. To feel that connection was so amazing. 

Be kind to yourself. 
Onward.