On revealing the truth

Two weeks ago I did this post where I told you six facts about myself, but one of them is a lie.  It is time to reveal the truth, so if you haven’t read the first post yet, quickly go over there and make your choice, then return here and see if you guessed correctly.

Back?  Okay, here goes.


I’ve been on television.


In the eleventh grade I was selected along with two classmates to represent our school in a quiz-competition hosted by a locally produced edutainment show.  I sat behind a buzzer in a real television studio and answered general knowledge questions.  Sadly, we didn’t win.  In the buzzer-round we were done in by the fact that the language used was not our first language and to topic was on economics, a subject none of us were taking at school.  They never told us when our episode would be broadcast, though, so I missed it.


I had my first girlfriend ever (and along with that my first kiss) only in the year I turned twenty.  I did get engaged in the fourth grade, though.


What’s worse, she seduced me.  I was a loner at school and just never developed the confidence needed to ask a girl out.  (To my matric farewell (our version of senior prom) I took my sister’s best friend.  She came home with me afterwards so she and my sister could have a sleepover.)  First year in college, when a girl actually showed interest in me I didn’t know how to handle that either.  She seemed to enjoy calling the shots, though.

As also mentioned, I did get engaged in fourth grade.  My best friend was a girl and we regularly spent time with each other as our parents were also good friends.  (In fact, even before we went to school her mother had already given her blessing that we could get married, or so I’m told.)  Once she gave me a note asking me to marry her.  Of course I said yes.  We never actually became boyfriend-and-girlfriend, though, and at the end of that year they moved to a different town and I only recently managed to track her down on Facebook.  She’s also married and has two kids, so I guess the engagement’s off.


Once, on a hike, I almost died when I was trapped against a cliff by an approaching wildfire.


But it did happen to my sister.  During her gap year after school she was part of an organisation that did outreaches to schools and adventure camps with the kids.  During one of these camps they were hiking with a bunch of kids when a fire which had started on a neighbouring farm spread to their area.  They were trapped under an overhang by the approaching flames but thankfully the wind direction changed and drove the fire away from them.


I once ate a billy goat which was a gift from a king.


During my gap year with the same organisation we went on a mission trip to Zambia.  While Zambia is a democracy with parliament and president, the traditional leaders still have a lot of influence over the people and we went to see the chief of the area where we were working to get his official permission to work there.  The chief was very happy that we visited him and actually broke protocol by speaking to our outreach leader (a native Zambian) directly and even inviting us into his house.  Later that afternoon a man on a bicycle with a young goat in the basket arrived at the mission station where we were staying.  Some of the locals slaughtered the goat for us and a member of our team cooked it.  (But not before two of the girls in the team gave it some water, played with it, and named it Jerry.  They did not partake in the feast.)


My last job was as a high school principal, in spite of having no teaching qualification and only two years prior teaching experience.


As you’d know if you’ve been reading this blog for a while.  I had grown tired of being abused by the church where I worked and on a friend’s suggestion handed in my CV at a local private school.  They were desperate and I was willing and I got the job without the correct qualifications on the understanding that I would start with my teaching certificate the following year.  Two years later the principal and vice-principal resigned within a week of each other and the owner of the school asked me to stand in as acting principal for three months.  He apparently felt I was doing a good job, as three years later I was still doing it.  I never did finish my teaching certificate, though, as between being the senior English teacher, vice-principal and principal my time and energy was in short supply.


I’ve made my own peanut butter.


On the same visit to the chief at #4 the guys were shown the judgment tree – a big tree near his house where people, especially those accused of witchcraft, were brought to stand trial.  At the same time the girls were entertained by the chief’s wife and her entourage.  They were given a large bag of unshelled peanuts (called groundnuts over there).  Another Zambian member of our team showed us how to make peanut butter from them.  Basically you put the peanuts in a hollowed-out tree trunk and crush them with a thick stick until it’s completely smooth.  It tastes a bit different from the type you buy in the store, which has oil and syrup added to it.  I quite liked the natural variety.

Did any of these surprise you?  I’d love to know.

8 thoughts on “On revealing the truth

  1. I wouldn’t have guessed! It’s particularly cool to have been given a goat by a king!

    That almost-being-incinerated-by-wildfire experience happened to me, years ago – up the back of where I lived. Like an idiot I went off to have a closer look…and damn, those things can move fast when the wind’s right. I ended up grovelling in a shallow dip with a couple of firemen while the flames roared up – and then a wind change deflected them. Phew! They had asbestos jackets. I didn’t.


    1. It was quite a large bag and it took hours pounding it into very little peanut butter. But at that point we had already been in Zambia for a week and it tasted wonderful. Made it worthwhile.


    1. I thought so as well until I started writing them down. You should try it. You might just realise your life has been more interesting than you thought. I’m in fact thinking of doing a second one with some fun facts that didn’t make it into this one.


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