Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Value of Patience


Hello again friends!

I write you now with less than three weeks to go until I move to Gobojango.  For the past few days I’ve done some things worth writing about…

First:  last weekend was our group’s visit to the cultural lodge.  We arrived to the village after about an hour in a bus from Kanye.  For the following couple hours, we had the great fortune to be able to watch some traditional dances.  As we arrived, women singing and holding drums awaited us at the entrance to the kgotla (wall-less hut). We entered and all took our seats as the presenters took their places in a line in front of us.  Then, the kgosi (chief), who walked with a cane, proceeded to dance for us as his peers sang behind him.  Next, they taught us how to grind sorghum between two rocks.  Selecting only a few people from the audience, the main presenter allowed Tate, TJ, and some other volunteers to happily walk to the front to give it a try.  After that, we circled around a hollowed out tree stump filled with water-drenched sorghum.  They then proceeded to teach us how to pound it with large sticks, as they sang a song to keep us motivated.  After all, this is the way the Basarwa (or Bush People) used to pound sorghum back in the day. 

After that, a group of children approached us and began dancing for us in the style of the old traditional dance.  I took a video of the whole thing and will try to upload it sometime so you can all see what it’s like.

Then, the next exciting chapter in our adventure came when the group of older kids came prancing in and danced for us for about an hour or so.  It was awesome.  I also filmed a lot of these, but I was sad that my camera decided to stop working at exactly the time the dancing started getting extravagant!

We finished the outing by eating a deliciously-prepared buffet of local foods including digkobe (beans and samp), motogo (sorghum), morogo (leafy greens with veggies), diphaphata (savory bread), and more.   We also mingled with the dancers and I was able to practice my Setswana.  It was a great end to a great day.

Yesterday I had another opportunity to experience a cultural outing of a different nature.  We started the day with language classes, and though my brain feels French-fried in terms of learning Setswana, I felt pretty comfortable with the way my class is going.  Then, after “tea” break, we broke into groups of four and took busses to our respective assignment areas.  I went with Tate, Elsa, and Ryan to the Kanye Main Clinic for the day.  We waited to meet with the head nurse and I mingled with some of the patients along the way.  I learned that it’s not a good idea to ask people within the clinic how they were doing (“O tsigole jang?”: a common thing to ask someone, and one of the things I feel most comfortable saying in Setswana) because it opens Pandora’s Box of Setswana words that I do not understand as a response and I am left agape as the person looks at me, perplexed.  Finally, when we went into the room with the nurse, we interviewed her and learned all about the clinic. 

Now, although Kanye Main Clinic is a much more fast-paced, multi-faceted clinic than where I will be working in Gobos (Gobojango), I was happy to get some basic questions answered.  I do feel a little more at ease about working at a clinic than I originally had when I arrived here. 

What else has happened since I’ve been here?  I’ve found the reason for my lack of packages from home.  The person who had originally accepted my money for customs had turned in his resignation and none of the other volunteers knew until today.  So now, I created a list of those of us awaiting packages (there are about 8 of us) and it will be handed to the head boss.  He will then proceed to the post office and retrieve the packages himself.  They say we will have answers by Monday…. One valuable trait I’ve adopted in my time in Peace Corps is patience.  Patience and flexibility.  Patience, flexibility, and understanding. Okay, haha, I guess it’s safe to say I’ve learned quite a bit so far in terms of valuable life skills…

Who would have known that it would take me going halfway across the world to finally appreciate the value and virtue of patience? 

Well, thank you for reading; I’ll keep you posted about everything else that happens

Until next time! Be kind to one another =D

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