Saturday, May 5, 2012

Heading North

So, this weekend I will actually wash my clothes can you believe it!! Haha, there are no washer machines so I'm learning the good ol' fashion way, with a little elbow grease and hanging wire. 

Today we spent the majority of the morning under a mesh tarp learning how to perma-garden (those of you who are interested can click the link for more info).  I didn't want to be one of the trainees sitting on the side watching everyone else doing the work so I jumped right in with a shovel and dug a 6ftx3ftx1ft sized hole.  That was considered our "first dig", then we continued with pick-axes and dug even deeper, softened the hard red clay, and added dried chicken manuer to provide nutrients to the dry dirt.  Finally, after re-filling the hole, carving a damn around the large mound of dirt, and adding more chicken manuer, we planted two rows of spinach! Throughout the process, I became filthy.  Like no lie, my legs are seriously orange right now. But it was fun! I hope to bring this experience with me to my post and maybe even have a garden of my own =)

Wednesday we had our Language Placement Interviews, and while some came out feeling very uneasy about Setswana, I came out extremely confident (I'm not sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing...) In my opinion, I did the best that I could do.  In two weeks, they will let us know not only our permanent site placement but our new groups (depending on how we did in our interview and our placements). 

We also discovered where we will be going to shadow for a week! I will be heading to a village called Pandamatenga (isn't that fun to say?) to stay with a girl named Christina.  I'm getting so excited because this means that I will be leaving my little niche here in southern Kanye on a 15 hour bus trip north.  While we are required to run a series of workshops and even a focus group while we're there, Christina has promised me that she will coordinate with the other two volunteers in that northern region and we can go on a game drive (which is like a mini-safari without paying). So I'll be sure to  bring my camera and take TONS of pictures of the elephants and giraffes that I see.  She also told me that if we can muster it, she's going to arrange for us to go on a cruise of the Okavango Delta! The Delta is the richest region in Botswana, not only in wildlife but plantlife as well! It provides the majority of the agriculture throughout the country, and is known for its lush areas.  No lies, I'm SO excited!!!

Here is a picture of me and my shadowing placement site.  Clearly, I'm very excited!


Another great thing that has happened while I've been here is I've befriended a group of 10-14 year old girls.  It's awesome, they wait for me every day in front of my compound for me to get home from school.  They like to braid my hair (here they call it "plait my hair") and teach me Setswana.  I even made them a dish called scone bread and they practically licked the container clean.  My fellow trainees and neighbors Jeff and Elsa called me the Pied Piper, HAHA!

I would like to interject and just congratulate my little cousin Alana Marie on achieving a leadership position at her school! I knew she would get it, and her perseverance and hard work has finally paid off!!  I would also like to tell my cousin Bree suuuper good luck on her play, I know she's going to be great!

I am feeling the pang of homesickness here and there.  Especially when it gets dark outside and the bar across the street from my house stops pounding the music and I'm left with nothing but my thoughts.  I feel so disconnected at times, and I wish that I could just pick up my computer and Skype someone or even Facebook. But I know that this is something I've wanted to do my entire life and I feel so rejuvenated living here amongst the Batswana.

 I've never really "stuck out" before...but living here sure does make me feel like a superstar.  As I'm walking the 45 minute walk to the Education Center (where we train), I receive countless amounts of attention my way, either from children wanting to wave at me to men wanting to marry me (I've received at least 7 marriage proposals since I've arrived).  Even when I walk to the supermarket down the street from my house, I am approached by individuals wanting to practice their English or just wanting to know why I'm here.  Being a lekoa (white person) may make me easily distinguishable, but it's got its perks for sure.  If I'm ever feeling lonely, all I have to do is go outside and smile at people and I'm already feeling better.  Luckily for me, a smile goes a LOOOONG way in Botswana.

Well, I think I've summed up the past week for you, really we are in the Education Center from 8:30-5 every day from Monday to Saturday so I don't have much adventure stories to tell you.

OH! Besides the hilarity of me taking my Malaria medication!  So I was prescribed Mefloquin (which is apparently the strongest one offered, but with the most side effects) because I was going so far north.  They recommend that you take it with food so that your stomach doesn't get upset.  I waited until after dinner to take it and then I went to bed without a second thought.  Well, at one point in the night, my eyes SHOT open, my heart was POUNDING and I was sweating profusely.  I jumped out of bed, clearly concerned about something and scrambled for my phone.  When I saw that the face of the phone flashed: 22:15, I convinced myself that I was dreaming since there was no way it could be 22o'clock.  When I sat down and caught my breath and reread the Mefloquin packet, I realized that it was in fact 10:15 pm and the side effects of Mefloquin include vivid dreams and acute paranoia.  Boom.  The drug had fooled me! The rest of the night passed very well, in fact one of the best nights I've had in a while.  Once more I awoke because I was talking too loudly in my sleep and I thought someone was speaking to me, but other than that it was amazing. 

Okay, well now I REALLY feel as if I've summed up my week so far.  Please write me if you'd like me to ellaborate on one specific area of my service so far and I would be glad to answer it! (Really, i would be happy to receive any emails!)

I miss you all very very much!
O tsamaya sentle, bomma le borra! (Remain well, everyone!)


1 comment:

  1. Ms. Walker's ClassMay 7, 2012 at 1:10 PM

    Hey Nina,
    Marriage proposals? Really? Have you told TJ? :) Are they proposing in English? Have you been given any rings?
    (I've heard you'd better not jump over any broomsticks with someone!)

    We asked some questions from the last blog. Answer when you get a chance. Let me know when you can skype with my class. We're really excited to talk to you.