For now, I want to show you what was waiting for me when I returned home. (Yes, I used the word “home”-- you didn’t imagine it! I think Africa has, at last, become a home for me.)
I was dismayed upon leaving for the trip because the goats had ravaged my garden. On my return, however, I was welcomed with the most gorgeous squash blossom I’ve ever seen. My squash plant has rebounded nicely. (Perhaps I’ll have goats eat my squash plants as a growth enhancer upon returning to the States.) I was also heartened to see that I have newly emerging tomato seedlings. This was my second planting and I worried that the seed I bought was bad. Nothing cheers me like brand-new, baby tomato seedlings. Enough emerged so that I could thin and transplant. Hopefully, I’ll have two robust tomato plants when I return from my Christmas trip.
I was heartened enough at seeing my garden to bolster my thorn fence and will do so again before I leave for Cape Town. I replanted some heirloom okra that the goats had gotten and will wait and watch.
One of the reasons the garden has done so well in only a few days is we’ve had our first significant rainfall of the season, and we’ve therefore, officially entered the rainy season. It actually rained while I was in Kuruman, but I was hope, hope, hoping that the rain was drenching my village as well. It was and it did! We had enough rain to cause standing water nearly everywhere. I love sitting at my writing desk and watching the dragonflies buzz by. Dragonflies! And dragonflies eat a slew of mosquitoes (because yes, standing water will certainly bring on the mosquitoes!)
But the most surprising thing awaiting my return was, well, a dog. A stray dog from the village seems to have adopted me (see photos below). I made the mistake of feeding her a bit of cheese and well, she’s stuck to me like white on rice.
She’s a she, and I know this because she’s recently had a litter of pups and the teats to prove it. I’m not sure how old she is but she looks pretty mussed up. She has slash marks on her face that are likely the result of an encounter with razor wire. She’s very gentle, yet she’s already become very protective of me. She barks whenever anyone approaches my person or my trailer. While the last thing in the world I need in Africa is a dog, I must admit, I appreciate her companionship.
She must have been thrashed severely for entering homes (dogs are mostly feared in rural South Africa, and rightly so, as carriers of disease) because she refuses to enter mine. She’s made a nice home for herself in a bed of pine needles underneath my trailer. She sleeps there overnight and then sits on my porch most of the day.
I haven’t named her, because, well, I’ve heard stories of naming animals in Africa and especially of naming animals one is fond of. And because I don’t want anything bad to happen to her, I’m afraid to name her. Perhaps you guys can name her… Any suggestions?
She is badly in need of a bath, has fleas and likely worms, and of course, needs to be spayed. I had originally thought I’d wait and see if she were still here after my trip to Cape Town, but I may go ahead and check into these things for her. And perhaps find her a decent home.
Peace Corps volunteers are known to bring home pets from their country-of-service at great expense and trouble. (No, no, no, and no, I don’t plan on returning to the States with an African mongrel in tow!)
So yes, I was blessed with a Thanksgiving bounty: squash, tomatoes, dragonflies, and dogs!