Friday, October 15, 2010

Please, sir.

This is porridge.

In a darkly ironic way, it's amusing that the orphans at the preschool where I work have porridge for breakfast. It's not so bad-looking when it's hot and smooth, but by the time the last kid is served, it takes on an unappetizing lumpiness that evokes disapproving clucks even from the teachers who have been watching kids choke it down for years.

Ideally, porridge is served with whole milk splashed on top, but the past few times we ate it, the kitchen was out of milk.

The kitchen runs out of food a lot, even things the kids eat every day like bread and milk. I can't tell whether this is an issue of not having enough money for those items or simply being disorganized. I also get the impression that various people tend to use the preschool kitchen as their personal milk and bread store, including the people (from the village?) who keep trying to break into the pantry.

There also aren't enough spoons for every child. The lack of spoons becomes an issue every other day, when porridge is served and the last ten or so children have to wait for the first ten or so children to finish their porridge so they can use the spoons.


I mention the issue with spoons because it leads me into my current research focus--Why America Is Better Than Everywhere Else.

A and I have been violently loyal soccer fans ever since we went to the last game at the University of Botswana between the Miscellaneous and the Gunners. This weekend, two important teams (based on us having heard about them)--the Mochudi Chiefs and the Township Rollers (aka Palastina, the one A has a jersey for)--are playing.

With our privileged American perspective, we assumed that there would be some sort of internet homepage, where information about when the teams are going to be playing would be listed in advance of the game. Extensive research has revealed that not only does such a website not exist, but nobody even knows Where (as in, in what city) the next game will be played. All week long, we were told it was in Lobatse. Yesterday, I happened to run into the guy giving us a ride to the game and he told me actually it was here, at UB again.


Both of these problems could clearly be fixed in about ten minutes or less. Lack of spoons? Buy some spoons. Lack of information about soccer games? Make a website. Lack of maps for where the combis go? Sit down and make one. Lack of straightforward information about how to obtain a visa extension? I'm going to go cry in the corner now.

And yet, naturally, nobody ever fixes any of the problems. I'm not saying we do things perfectly in the U.S. Obviously, I'm being facetious when I say America is better than everywhere else. But at least we use the internet for things.

I know, I know, I'm supposed to embrace the slow pace of life and stop trying to be so efficient and just be or something. But I just get so aggravated! I'm gonna go make brownies.


  1. It is weird to live somewhere you can't find things out on the internet, huh? But soon you will be unable to function with, you know, real information. Just kidding. That sounds a bit stressful, or at least hard to get used to...

  2. When you are feeling too good about the American Way of Life, remember our experiences with Blue Shield of California.

    But you're right; America is more efficient than a lot of countries in many ways. Although I do remember your sister's birth certificate for a US citizen born abroad, stating her place of birth as "Jerusalem, Germany."

    Can we donate some spoons? (Or maybe our entire set of "golden" cutlery?)

  3. I don't think we should inflict that gold cutlery on the poor and defenseless.