One week reflections: Installment #2: Spiders, goats, kids and yardwork

Those who know Teresa, know she is phobic about spiders. Guess that isn’t true anymore. The only ones Gary has had to kill are those directly threatening her. Yes, threatening is a strong and subjective word and is purely in the eyes of the threatened one (Teresa). She has come to recognize that spiders eat lots of other bugs which abound in this country. The other problem is that spiders in Botswana could win gold medals in the 100 yard dash. They are big and they are faaaaast… And you dont’ want to make them mad by trying to kill them just to have them outrun you.

There is one breed that is particularly prevalent. They are called flatsies because they really are flat. They are harmless, scared of people, big and very very faaast. One PCV blog had recommended naming them and treating them like pets. so, that is what we are doing. Teresa decided to follow the hurricane process and name them alphabetically after flowers. So, the first one who likes to hang in the living room (literally and figuratively) is Amaryllis (amy for short but Amaryllis when we’re mad at her). The hallway/bathroom one is Begonia. We think she is different than Amaryllis but it is hard to tell. The attached picture is Amaryllis. We tried to get a shot that showed scale but she was not feeling very photogenic today, having been roosted from her napping spot when we moved the table to clean the floor.

Goats are everywhere but you don’t want them in your yard because they don’t eat what you want them to eat and they do eat what you don’t want them to eat. Long story why but Teresa has the keys to the Centre this weekend and looking out the front window, lo and behold, there were several goats inside the grounds. They had literally moved aside a concrete block to squeeze in the gap in the gate. the big billy was still outside (probably too fat to get in). So, we grabbed about 5 of the neighbor kids (ages 3-10) figuring they knew how to herd goats and we weren’t wrong. In about 5 minutes we had a stampede of 30 goats (way more than we thought were in there) making for the gate which luckily Teresa was standing near and she opened it wide for them to leave. The kids were rewarded with about a half hour playing on the Centre’s playground. Of course today, they want to go back to the playground- Pandora’s box is open.

Yardwork: We are expected to keep our large yard (about 1/4 acre) free of weeds,grass and anything that could hide snakes. Batswana take pride in having dirt yards that they sweep. We are waiting for a weeding hoe to come from the US as apparently the preference here is to bend over and use very short tools. We bought a few small implements to get us started but our neighbor took pity and lent us (the expression here is actually borrowed us) a rake and shovel (with a short handle). The shovel worked pretty well actually and is on our list for our next shopping trip. Look for the picture of Gary carrying rake and shovel home. In any case, our yard is huge and the work is back breaking. We got a fair amount done today but have a long ways to go.

Life’s lessons from this entry: Neighbors are a precious commodity. Our neighbor has offered to take us and show us where we can get wood so we can make a fire for cooking or making s’mores. It’s also never to late to change and grow. Never thought Teresa could co-exist with an arachnid.

2 thoughts on “One week reflections: Installment #2: Spiders, goats, kids and yardwork

  1. Amazing. Thank you so much for sharing what’s going on for you. I am so lucky you are doing this and that I know you!




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