Since a few people have asked, I am not going to post the baby’s name or any pictures of her, since I disclosed her status. But if I know you and you want to see her beautiful smile, please email me. She continues to do wonderfully, even more so now that we have implemented a nap schedule for her. After weeks of politely suggesting and asking, I went to a supervisor and pushed for naptime to be officially implemented for the baby. Not only is she a baby, but she is an incredibly sick baby (TB and HIV), so her body needs these recovery periods, especially since she lives in a dorm with 60 other girls, so waking late and sleeping early just aren’t possible most days. And for some reason this particular child hates sleeping. Until we started her nap schedule, when I could tell she was tired I would take her to her crib and gently hold her down as she screamed for about five minutes until she passed out. I get that this isn’t a fun process, but it’s a necessary one and with a schedule in place her body will become accustomed to falling asleep even quicker. I got into a bit of a blow-up with one of the aunties about this whole nap idea, but I think we’ve gotten past it finally. A few of the aunties smilingly told me that in Swaziland children don’t need to be put down for naps, they just fall asleep where they’re playing when they are tired. Luckily I have the support of our supervisor, so we smile and remind them that we aren’t telling them how to raise their own children, but this is an officially mandated policy now.
Almost three years ago I wrote a post about my bewilderment at discovering that in Mozambique, only five continents are taught (Europe, Africa, Asia, Antarctica, and America). I had never thought this was a debatable thing. I was relieved when I pulled my map out for the first time this Saturday and learned that in Swaziland they have seven continents: North America, South America, Europe, Africa, Antarctica, Asia, and Oceania. Wait, what? But this is, of course, one of the joys of living in a foreign culture—you learn that so many of the things you took for granted as immutable, unarguable facts simply aren’t.