When I was a kid, I always said I wished I had been born a hundred years earlier so that I could have lived like Laura Ingalls Wilder or the pioneers. They always had so much more in the way of adventures than I did.
Well, at least now I am living a little closer to that dream. I still have alot more in the way of modern conveniences than they did, like a computer to communicate, a solar powered flashlight and phone charger, a generator in the evenings, and car or mototaxi to get us to and from the stores and the market. I am so thankful for these things. And really, I guess I am spoiled. But I do get to pull my water up from a well right now. My practical mom always said “It sounds very romantic, but you wouldn’t like if you were dirty all the time and couldn’t take a shower.” But I am enjoying the change of pace. It is thrilling to be pulling my water up from a well, buying things in an open air market, living on dirt roads, and speaking in Portuguese. For now. Ask me again in a week and I might be a little less enthusiastic. 🙂 It is exhausting though. I am always hungry and thirsty and tired. And when it gets dark I am ready to sleep.
Today, my first day in Huambo, we went to the government office to register that we were now staying in Huambo. Each time you travel to a different province in Angola, you must register your change in current location. So this was our first priority.
We went and they were very friendly to us. When the officer was filling out my paperwork he said, Jordan, that is the same name as the basketball player! I said yes, but my mom had named me after a river, not Michal Jordan. When we left, he still remembered my name when he said good-bye. 🙂
We next went to a mercado (grocery store) to get a few things to eat and checked out prices. Most things are similar to Luanda, but fresh foods are much cheaper and even cheaper still in the open air markets.
I then went to the bank to set up my angolan bank account. We then went to a park and had a picnic lunch which I shared with some little friends I made. Bought some tangerines in the park which were delicious. It is so fun and novel to be able to buy anything and everything just along your way as you walk. If you need more “saldo” (pre-paid minutes) for your phone, there is someone selling the cards on the sidewalk. If you need bread for lunch, there is someone walking along the road with a basket of bread on her head. If you need some vegetables for dinner, there is a mama sitting on the side of the road with fresh tomatoes and lettuce spread out on a blanket. If you need a padlock, or a blanket, or sugarcane, or a coke, or charcoal for your fire there are people selling it alongside the road and you simply open your window and buy it.
We then went to another little mercado to see what was available, and looked at some furniture options. After, we went to Huambo’s main market and bought out produce for dinner. Later in the afternoon we went to look at a possible option for housing for someone on the team. It is a real fixer-upper, but if the price is right it could be worth it. Our friend Charles, who wanted to look at the house too, went with us. When we arrived to pick him up, I visited with some of the family he has living with him, and his wife showed me their home. She showed me the room they have all ready for me to come and stay in for a visit! I am so thankful to have this Angolan family that is ready and excited to take me in and teach me about themselves, their family and Angolan life and culture. I think it will be a really great bonding experience. And I will learn really valuable things like how to prepare and cook frango (chicken). In Angola that starts with a live chicken (“galinha”) running around the yard. I also want to learn to make funge, an Angolan staple kind of similar to grits (but more cohesive) made from maize or cassava. And staying with a family like this will teach me more about the correct social behaviors and how for me to appropriately interact with people. I look forward to this time.
I have included a few pictures. Me leaving Luanda for Huambo early Monday morning, a few sites seen out the car window on the drive to Huambo, me pulling out our days worth of water from the well yesterday morning, Katie doing laundry, and my bedroom in the Reese’s house. I will post a few pictures of the house and our market when I can. You can click on the pictures to make them bigger if you want.
In summary, life is a little harder, but very satisfying and very interesting to explore. And mom, you were right. I do miss my shower.