Saturday, April 28, 2012

Traveling opens new windows to the world

I'm sorry it has taken so long for me to update!
I only have 11 minutes left on my internet time so I'll make this a rather quick update to my life the past few weeks.

I'm currently living in a village called Kanye.  It is "winter time" and although the nights get pretty chilly, the weather is quite tolerable!
I'm staying with a 79 year old woman and her 102 year old mother! I do most of the cooking and as such have learned to make many local meals consisting of sourghum, mealy meal, brown flour, and other yummies found throughout the village center.
I'm learning more and more in Setswana, in fact, my given Setswana name is "Kitso Nare".
-->Kitso meaning knowledge
-->Nare meaning buffalo
Haha! I've learned that keeping a good sense of humor has the ability to tackle any situation.
Next week I will be able to shadow another volunteer in the northern region of the country! Because I'm traveling to a region found "above the malaria line" I have to begin taking Mefloquin to prevent from getting the nasty disease!

I miss everyone on a daily basis, but I am staying very safe and making many new friends.

In fact, being a "likoa" here (white person) kind of makes me quite the celebrity.  I've had people ask me anything from "Do you know Obama" to "What is Arnold Schwarzenegger like?". I only went to the local supermarket twice but by the third time I was there, people kept calling me their "tsala" or friend.

Luckily for me, a smile goes a very long way in Botswana.  When I don't know what people are saying, I just smile and they laugh and pat me on the back.

As for my living conditions, I've learned to master the "bucket bath" technique in which I heat up my water in a pale on the fire in our backyard, lug it into the bathroom in a different bucket and then proceed to bathe with it.

I'm so excited for this adventure I'm living.  In fact, I think it's finally seeping in that I'm living in Africa.

Ga go na mathata (no worries)

Until next time!


  1. Ms. Walker's classMay 7, 2012 at 12:58 PM

    Hey Nina a.k.a. Smart Buffalo!
    We've learned that the porridge sometimes has a caterpillar (phane, name of caterpillar) in it. Have you tasted one? You're cooking! LOL.

    Questions from my class:
    1. What is the temperature day/night there now?
    2. Are the people you are living with nice?
    3. (Mine) Do they receive and special benefits for being your host?
    4. What does the porridge taste like? Is it good?
    5. How many words can you say in Setwana?
    6. Describe the house where you are living? (modern?)
    7. What do they dress like there?
    8. What's your favorite thing about Botswana so far?
    Tia Ms. Walker and class

  2. Hi Ms. Walker and class!

    I'm currently in the city of Francistown (the second largest in Botswana) and in a hotel...can you believe it?! I'm so beside myself with excitement that I can take a HOT SHOWER!!

    To answer your questions:
    1.Paletche (the soft porridge) does in fact have phane in it...mostly in the northeastern regions. I have received many recipies to cook them in it, however have not gotten the galls to try it myself yet!
    1. Right now in Kanye, the days get around 89 degrees Farenheit and the nights can get down to high 50's, low 60's. To me, being from Colorado, I think this weather is perfect, but you should see the locals walking around in their winter jackets and gloves!
    2. The two women I am living with are very nice and always very eager to teach me Setswana. The eldest woman (i call her nkuku which means grandmother) has only 4 teeth, but always manages to smile at me when I come home.
    3. The only benefit for hosting a likoa (American) is a bi-weekly food basket that is meant to help supplement the current food and laundry soap within the house.
    4. The porridge does take a little getting used to since they eat it here very plain. I like to add a little brown sugar and milk, and it's almost the same taste as oatmeal!
    5. I've been learning lots of Setswana. In fact, I just took a trip up north and felt comfortable enough to sit next to people on the 15 hour bus rides and hold a steady conversation in the language. I'll see if I can try and figure out how to add audio to this blog so you can hear how it sounds!
    6. The house where I am living is pretty modern. It has running (cold) water and electricity! Here in Botswana, both ammenities can go out unexpectedly however, so a couple times that I've been making dinner, the power has shut off and we've eaten cereal by candelight instead. hehe
    7. The dress is very similar to that of the U.S. except a bit more conservative. Women usually wear shirts with sleeves and knee-length skirts or traditional dresses. Children wear uniforms to school, and men wear anything from jeans and t-shirts to nice suits.
    8. My favorite thing about Botswana. That's a great question! There is so much to love here! Within my village of Kanye, my favorite things are the children. A group of 15 of them wait for me to get home to braid my hair or just to practice their English. The youth here are so full of energy! I love it! Also, I do love the demeanor of the Botswana people, they are always so honest and eager to help, especially if you smile at them and try to speak Setswana. One thing I've learned is that no matter where you are in the world, a smile goes a long, long way. And finally, my favorite thing I've done so far since I've been here has been this past week when I shadowed another volunteer in the northern region of Botswana. I'll soon post a blog entry about it with pictures!!!!!
    Thank you for all of the questions!