January 20, 2014

When I No Longer Live in Africa...

… I want to remember these moments… I'll probably look back at this and smile, but for right now, TIA is my motto.  (This Is Africa)

So here it goes:

You know you live in Africa when:

Every time you go to a store the stock is completely different.

You go to one store that is best for pantry items, you go to the market for produce and meat, then you go to the bread shoppe for bread, and the neighbor down the street for milk (from her cow of course), then the big-name (for Africa) store in hopes of finding those specialty items (you know, like a kiwi or grapes) and you go to the plastic store for (you guessed it) plastic stuff… and along the way assure every parking dada that you have, in fact, paid the 500 shillings to park in town for the day, but it flew out the window on accident and hope she believes you because she's the one you almost always see and you even know her name!

You find your 'fix' and it's something you would never consider buying at home, but here it just tastes. so. good.  (ours are Pringles and Mars bars if you were wondering)

And also, when that special item that gives you your 'fix' is actually in stock you consider buying all of it - all 25 of them! But then think that would be crazy, surely they will still be here next week when you return.

Then you return next week and they are GONE.  Not. A. Single. Trace.  And you kick yourself for not at least buying two or three.

You gawk at the 37,000 shilling price tag on a cheap laundry drying rack, noting that one of them on the shelf is already broken.  Then decide it's better than the one 57,000 shilling rack that isn't broken and decide to take your chances, dig under for one that's still in tact and swallow that $23 price tag for something you could have got in America at a garage sale for two bucks.

You know you live in Africa when:

Your washing machine is (hooked up) on the front porch because there was literally, no. where. for it to be in the house.

You wipe the table before eating on it, because of the dirt that's accumulated on it since your last meal, which was no more than 5 hours ago.

You have two trash bins - one for compost (food) and one for everything else.

You empty said trash bins into a giant hole at the edge of your property and set fire to it once a week.  Hello Waste Management.

You have to regularly clean the tops off every item sitting out - including pantry items- because they're covered with dirt.  Not dust.  Dirt.

You dance and spin around with glee when it rains because that means your dusting job will last more than .0343 seconds.

You have florescent tube lights throughout your house.  And it's normal.  And even exciting because they use much less electric.

Your two your old son looks to the voltage regulator to see if there is power because of the little green light. Then screams with glee "There's power!!!"  but second guesses himself when he hears the familiar 'click click' that means it's regulating a surge and watches the machine intently making sure the light stays on.

You cover an old empty oatmeal can with kitenge cloth and call it a utensil holder.  And are super proud of it. :)

There are sheets hanging from nearly every window in your house, waiting to be turned into curtains… but not anytime soon, because, after all, TIA.

You know you live in Africa when:

Your two year old reminds you he needs his 'vitamin for his poops' (probiotic) when he notices his BMs getting runny.

Said two year old also asks, "Papa, why did God make mosquitos?"  Amen little buddy.  AMEN.

You're watching a movie on the laptop and think - "Woa! They're driving on the wrong side of… oh. Nevermind."

You swat at a mosquito and see it get caught in a spider web, which happens to be inhabited. Then you sit there and watch the mosi squirm for his life while the spider wraps him up and saves him for dinner, secretly excited the stupid thing had a slow and painful death.  And also hoping that his corpse laying in that net is a sign to all his little mosi buddies to keep the heck out of your house.

Your two year old gets much, MUCH more excited about the fact that the power is on than he would about a giant piece of cake.

Your dog chews half your flip flop but you don't throw it away because maybe, hopefully, probably there's a fundi out there somewhere that can fix it.

And that's all for this installment… I'm sure there will be many more to follow.  :)