Friday, September 17, 2010

I wish it would rain…

These images were taken back in May of this year, just before I visited Eduland in Rustenburg. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I had seen, at this time, the end of the rainy season and it hasn’t rained here at the college since then.

When I had returned from Eduland, the campus groundskeepers had burned the beautiful grasses and all that remained was a black, charred ground, the ugliness I’ve lived with now for months.

The sky, these last few winter months, has not provided the dramatic shows of color and clouds, it has been a clear, spotless blue and now is burning with a hot African sun and strong, gusty winds.

I find myself wishing it would rain. I’ve not lived through an African rain in my new house, and am craving an African baptism such a rain would provide.

I’ve been living on at my site now for a year and I keep notes on the weather. We did have rain here in September of last year, but late September. The locals tell me the rains won’t come until November.

I’m leaving next week for my (our) mid-service training and will be gone from my site for almost two weeks. I have seedlings emerging: green beans, carrots, Swiss chard, flowers, and I’ve been watering my seedlings every day.

I must leave them for and am hoping the late September rain will come again this year. If the rains don’t come, I’m not sure my seedlings will survive.

When I initially signed on with Peace Corps, I was assigned to a “French-speaking area of Africa” to teach at a university post. This original assignment was cancelled and in May of 2009, Peace Corps contacted me, to see if I could ready myself to leave within six weeks for position in Eastern Europe.

While I could not accept this new assignment because I was committed to teaching in Louisville through the end of July, I had just put beet seeds in the ground, and couldn’t bear the thought of leaving them.

I feel very attached to my emerging seedlings sprouting here in the hot South African sun: I don’t want to leave them.

My next-door-neighbor often asks me, “Aunt Karen, (she calls me Aunt Karen), don’t you ever get tired of gardening and working outside?

No, Lesego, I never get tired of gardening and working outside.

Her mother, in commenting on my gardening habit, mentioned, “I’ve never had an interest in things that don’t talk back.”

Ah, Mam Refilwe, if only I could have an interest in things that talk back!

Learning to love growing things and having my hands in the soil has come to me late in life. The women in my family have always gardened, and I’m sure my love of it has come from them. One family member has noted, “It has been my therapy over the years; it has saved me my sanity.”

One day a few weeks ago, I was feeling especially blue. I decided to plant some flower seeds in the college’s flower boxes, as I did last year. Just the simple act of planting the seeds made me deliciously happy. I was smiling broadly, practically bursting at the seams! I remember thinking, “I should probably plant flowers every day!”

Internet here at the college has been down for weeks and I’ve traveled to my shopping town to post, check email, and monitor progress on my projects. And with traveling in the upcoming weeks, I’m likely to be even “quieter” for awhile. No worries. Peace Corps seems to supply us with trainings just at the nick of time: training breaks seem to come when I feel most worn and bruised from my life in Africa, and provide a much-needed respite and recharge.

I will have a respite and recharge beginning next week.

If God is especially good, when I return to my site in a few weeks, I will return with the rain.



  1. Be of good cheer! God knows what you are in need of, and will provide.
    Thanks for the pictures and sharing yourself with us.

  2. We would love some rain here as well although you have gotten far less than we have. I hope your seedlings make it and we will miss you while you are away. Have a good time in civilization. Post when you can.

  3. another awesome post! Reminds me how much I enjoyed gardening at one time.. dirt, babies and being in the wind, all seem to bring on closer to God somehow. Thanks for sharing your journey!

  4. We wish it would rain, here, too. Many, many days without rain. Worms have gone WAY south for moisture, everything is brown and lots of fire danger all over the state. Has it rained there yet?