I’m tired. Even without having study after school today, three periods straight with the same grade (6th grade science, math, and religion) has left me exhausted, even after an afternoon siesta. Nonetheless, I’m determined to get back into shape, so I throw on my sneakers and head out the door for a run.
On the weekends I can go to the second soccer field in the mornings and run on the track that’s around it, but week days the field is occupied by a men’s soccer team (not my preferred spectators…) so I follow my usual route: a donkey cart path to the settlement. The ground is totally uneven, and the road is made of stones about the size of my fist, so I have to stare straight down to make sure I don’t sprain an ankle (and look for snakes, since I’m paranoid). As I weave my way through the now brown hills, I hear voices:
“Miss! Miss!” High pitched and squeaky from some very little kids at my school.
“Tiiina!” From a guy who sells gemstones outside the grocery store in town.
“Hey! You! Hey!” From the woman sitting outside her house, which is made of corrugated metal.
I give each of them a wave, and try to keep going.
I stop when I reach the goat path, which is currently occupied by about 75 goats being hearded back from a day grazing on the hills to a large fenced in area in the middle of the settlement (the settlement is about 10 minutes away from where I live and is where all the tin houses are). I sit and watch them as they comically hobble down, bleating and complaining, sounding frighteningly like my classes on the day of a quiz. It’s distracting, and relaxing to watch them parade by, but I can’t forget that here it’s winter and the shortest day of the year is approaching, so even though it’s 5:00, I only have about 20 minutes before the sun disappears behind Brandberg mountain. I turn to head home.
On the way back, I run into Matias, one of my grade 7 learners. He walks with me for a bit:
“Miss! Are you exercising?”
“Ha, I’m trying! But I’m tired today. Where are you going?”
“To watch the TV!”
“But shades of sin isn’t on for two more hours! Where will you watch it?”
“I know, but I can play the soccer first. I am going to my father’s house.”
“Ah ok. So do you think I can get to my house without walking?”
“Yes miss! Go!”
And spurred on by the knowledge that he’s watching, I make it home, thinking that a cold shower isn’t sounding quite so bad.