First Trip to the Grocery and Hardware Store

Tuesday, my fifth day at site, I finally was able to go shopping. I had planned to go on my own, but Sonia stopped over and did not want me going alone. She was heading to get groceries anyway, so agreed that if I went with for that she would accompany me to the hardware store for some essentials. Considering I was going to have to give someone directions to my house, I was glad she was coming with. We went to my shopping town, and I got to see where I will be doing the majority of my grocery shopping for the next 2 years. The town itself is small with a bus stop, gas station, several hardware stores, and a grocery store. The store stocks very basic necessities, but could be worse. After exploring we took the bus back towards our community since it is cheaper to buy a bed closer to wear I live. I have never seen so many people crammed into one space before. A group of school children got on the bus, and the conductor started picking them up and moving them around like a game of Tetris to maximize the space.

We arrived at the hardware store closest to me and went in. I had a grand selection of two beds to choose from, hard or hard and lumpy. I chose hard. I also got some nails, rope, fencing, and a couple other basics before we left. It was amusing that the store clerks all tried to help me find stuff, although they did not speak English, and I did not know the words in siswati. It was basically me wandering around aimlessly with Sonia and two of the workers pointing out stuff they thought I might need. We hired a man with a pick up truck to drive us and my purchases back to my house. I later found out it was a very good thing Sonia came with me because while my ride cost 90E ($9), most of my friends were charged upwards of 300E. It’s pretty easy to guess we would not know a fair price, and some people were taken advantage of.

After getting settled in I figured out I could move houses but would have to pay to move the burglar bars from one house to the new one. Seeing as we are given enough to live at the level of the people in our communities I was not looking forward to seeing how big of a chunk that would take from my bank account. After unpacking fully I spent a lot of time just sitting with my family. A couple of my host brothers and sisters speak English because of school, but none of the adults do. A lot of my nights are spent making wild hand motions to try to get a point across or just listening to words I do not understand.



2 thoughts on “First Trip to the Grocery and Hardware Store

  1. HI Maggie,
    It sure doesn’t sound like Macy’s, but at least it is some form of shopping! It sounds like you are
    adapting and adapting and adapting. The picture is so cute. I assume she is a “sister”. Did you get my Nov. box? It was sent Nov.12. When is your “holiday”? I’ll ship again in Dec. or Jan.
    So proud of you. Love,
    Aunt Jane

  2. Hi Maggie-
    I love reading your posts. You will have SO many experiences to share by the time we see you! I am going to share your blog with my sister Kathy, who has gone to Africa many times in the past few years, she is interested in your experiences. Take good care and don’t forget anything as I want to hear it all!! 🙂 Will miss you at Christmas but will love to hear about yours.
    -Aunt Annie

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