31 Days · africa

#write31days {Five Minute Friday: New}

Day 3 of #write31days, but it’s also Friday, which means it’s time for Five Minute Friday. So I’m rolling the two into one and writing on “New” with hundreds of other bloggers. Check out Kate’s beautiful writing home for the full details (and lots of awesome writing, and a giveaway!)


It was past dark when I arrived in the village, whose name I could barely pronounce. Kudunkgwane would be my home for the next two years, and the newness of it all terrified me. My principal, who had picked me up in town, led me out of the Kalahari darkness and into my host family’s home. After a few minutes of rapid-fire Setswana conversation, they took me to my room on the family compound and opened the door.

View from my front window.
View from my front window.

For the next few days, everything seemed new. I woke up to a cacophony of chickens outside my window, and fell asleep to  baying dogs and restless goats. Getting to school meant walking through the fine desert sand and thick bushveld full of thorns and acacia trees. Conversations began in incomprehensible Afrikaans, switched to English, and then joy would radiate from faces when I started throwing in a few words of Setswana.

Even the simple things seemed radically new: how I got my water or washed my clothes. What I did with my trash or how I went grocery shopping. For weeks, everything had an unsettling newness to it, and I struggled to adjust.

Walking through the bushveld.
Walking through the bushveld.

But an amazing thing happened. It all changed for new to routine. And suddenly, like seemed normal. When the electricity went down, I’d grab my candle and matches in mere seconds and continue what I was doing. The chickens ceased to wake me up, and I often didn’t hear the howling dogs. I could walk to school, navigating the traffic (cow herds) without sparing a thought. And life just seemed normal.

Part of my walk to school.
Part of my walk to school.

And then I went back to the USA, where everything seemed new and different again.





3 thoughts on “#write31days {Five Minute Friday: New}

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