Saturday, September 25, 2010

Books and food

On Thursday, we ate outdoors again, in celebration of the holiday of Sukkot. Okay actually it was a goodbye braai (Afrikaans for "barbeque") for a resident who is heading back to the States this weekend. There is quite an impressive grill at Pilane Court, where the other Penn visitors live. They also have an outdoor bar and patio. And a pool, though it's not as nice as ours.

While everyone else ate hamburgers, chicken, kebabs, and sausages, A and I enjoyed our sad little veggie burgers. Oh, I'm sure it's healthy for us to have an 8 month meat break, and actually they have decent veggie burgers here--a lot like Morningstar Farm--but I do miss meat. There was plenty to eat though: pasta with feta and basil, roasted potatoes, butternut squash, salad, cookies, and amazingly, rice krispie treats. All I care about is food, in case you were wondering if I care about anything else.

We talked to a new friend, D, who told us about his unlucky sister, who has been struck by lightning, gotten lost hiking alone on her honeymoon and spent the night in the wilderness while her new husband sent search and rescue after her, and when they got back home, their house had burned down. A has had some dramatic luck as well, but D's sister has had it much worse, which for whatever reason made me feel better.


I accompanied L to a book sorting at a school west of here. The school auditorium was completely full of boxes of thousands of miscellaneous books, all mixed together, brought here by Books for Botswana. The arrangement was that if you came and helped sort books, you could take up to 400 for your organization. L and I sorted books for 4 or 5 different groups at onec, which is a Lot of books. It was pretty fun to sift through piles of books, and I was impressed at the quality. They had a lot of new books, as well as a lot of crappy books from the '70s about how to care for your spiritual self by eating more fiber.

One find was a compilation of the best of Tikkun Magazine from the past 20 years. A strange thing to run into a liberal Jewish publication in the middle of Southern Africa.


L also took me to SOS Children's Village, an NGO I am hoping to work for. The children there are orphans and live with children of other ages in a family unit with mothers and aunts. They aren't allowed to be adopted once they enter SOS. It seems like a really neat and successful organization and they certainly seem to need volunteers in their school.


Last night we had dinner at Moghul, rapidly becoming our favorite Indian restaurant (and our Indian friends think the food is good there, which makes it legit). Then A and I watched three hours of Veronica Mars season two.

Also N, our Indian roommate, is going to teach me how to make Indian food, and our housekeeper is going to teach me how to make Tswana food. So yeah, food is pretty much all I care about.


I finally finished Norman Rush's 700-page novel Mortals today, which I have been reading on and off since May. So relieved to be done with it--read the NYTimes review to find out why.

Now I'm debating whether to finish Great Expectations on my Kindle or stick to the new idea I came up with which is to read only books by Africans or about Africa while we're here. What do you think?


  1. always good to read about menus and schadenfreude. so glad moving to botswana hasn't put a dent in your cooking and eating. (well, i guess i don't mind the dent in your meat eating.) i'm impressed with how much volunteer stuff you've got lined up already. so who exactly do you guys live with? can't seem to figure it out.

  2. guess that should've been, "with whom exactly do you guys live?" just channeled my mom.

  3. I am going to make some Savta cookies right now for our Sukkah tea party! Charles is also living a mostly vegetarian existence at school and he said he would go to a nutritionist to be sure he is eating right. I'm glad you have found so many volunteer activities. And don't make fun--those self-improvement books from the 70's were probably donated by me!

  4. the whomers we live with right now are P, the other (male) fellow, and N, a female dermatology resident. N's husband just arrived from Canada and is also here for a few weeks. P, A, and I are trying to live with S in a different apartment. When will this initials thing get old?

    I am going to make savta cookies soon, I think. We need a Moroccan party.

    I should clarify that I'm not working at the first clinic anymore, just SOS.