I was at the tap, fetching water, when my evening reverie was interrupted by teenage girl with a red umbrella coming down the path towards me.
"Hello?" she called.
"Hi." I don't like my evening reverie interrupted.
"Are you visiting someone?"
"No." I've lived here almost a year. Get with the program.
"You stay here?"
"Yes." Brilliant conclusion, Captain Obvious.
At this point the girl's enthusiasm started to rub off on me and we engaged in an actual conversation. As it turned out, she's spent most of the last year away at school and her family lives on the very fringes of the village. She had no reason to be aware of my existence. I had a reason to be a wee bit ashamed of myself. Oh well. We moved on.
She came over to my house for a visit this afternoon, and she wound up taking me on the most entertaining and informative walking tour of Loopeng I've experienced in the last 11 months of living here. We climbed up one side of the valley, into the bush, and she pointed out the various neighborhoods, the old sections of the village, where certain families lived, old cemetaries, the remains of kraals and farmhouses. She showed me various edible flora, and even had me try some of it. There were a few historic sites as well, including where a cheetah was killed half a century ago, a solid metal pipe stuck into a stone (King Arthur, anyone?) and an abandoned bakkie deep in the bush.
The best part, of course, was being accompanied by her four dogs. We were hoping one would catch a rabbit for dinner, but alas, no such luck. Maybe next time. I hope to go again sometime this winter, when I'm not quite as deathly afraid of stepping on a snake.