Thursday, May 31, 2012

VIEWER'S WARNING: SOME CONTENT MAY NOT BE SUITABLE FOR THE EASILY QUEASED

The past couple days have been quite pleasant and fun-filled!

I had a great weekend, mostly spent my time walking around Kanye and meeting different people. Then I spent a lot of time at Kogae CafĂ© (the “likoa” hang out apparently) with my friends and shared some friendly conversations and drinks.  I was even able to have a few full-on Skype conversations with my parents, TJ, and Ben! It completely brightens my day when that happens. 
Sunday in it of itself was quite the adventure for me.  While I awoke early to do laundry and attend church, I decided after I had changed into my “church-going” clothes that I was in fact too lazy to do so.  I changed into jeans and a t-shirt and decided to take a box of Kraft mac’n’cheese over to my friend Jessica’s house.  We cooked, ate some yummy comfort food, and watched Back to the Future on my laptop.  It was the most normal afternoon I’ve had in a while. 
(Well, I don’t know if you can call it entirely “normal” since there was a bucket of cow blood sitting on the counter behind us and they were slaughtering a cow in the front yard…)


A year after someone passes away In Botswana; it is customary to have a ceremony to pass out the late relative’s clothes to the family.  In order to do so, there must be a LOT of food (since ceremonies here always involve feeding EVERYONE that attends, and due to the fact that there are no invitations besides “word of mouth”, the list of attendees gets quite long).  Hence, the cow carcass was being spliced and gutted while the fresh flesh was slung over the wooden fence.  Out of curiosity, I grabbed my camera and jogged over to the bloody scene.  Once I arrived, I instantly regretted my decision.  Appendages were being shaved clean with sharp machetes and the stench made my eyes water.  It was dreadfully gruesome and something I never wish to relive.  (Of course, after talking to my dad, the hunting enthusiast, on Skype, he said that I should learn how to do it…YEAH RIGHT!)

I was glad to leave the grisly cow slaughter far behind me as I left to the Education Center and met with a couple of my peers for our very own “Creative Outlets Club”.  I learned quickly that we have a pretty talented bunch of individuals here in our group of 46 volunteers.  I enjoyed sitting on the roof of the Center, listening to the singing and ukulele-strumming of my fellow trainees, and reading a couple of my poems.  (A girl named Chelsea even let me take her ukulele home with her so I can learn!)
Anyway, minus the deplorable cow butchery scene, I had a really great weekend. 
Although today day wasn’t particularly intriguing, a couple things really made me smile. 
First, I have been walking almost every morning to the Education Center with my friend Jessica.  It’s a great way to start the day, the air is just brisk enough that it’s not too hot and not too cold, I love the stares/conversations we share along the way, and it gives me at least an hour to get into a good mood and wake up before I get to the Education Center. 
Secondly, today was condom-demonstration day at training! We had a long lecture about the technicalities of condom allocation throughout Botswana (they are provided free by the government, although the actual distribution part becomes extremely shady).  Then, after handing out phallic-shaped objects to practice on, our presenter showed us the exact way to roll on a male condom.   He proceeded to grab my water bottle and roll a condom over the bottom of it to show how stretchy they can be!
My favorite part was that he proceeded to demonstrate the proper way to utilize, insert, and remove a female condom.  Although they are not as widely distributed here in Bots, I learned that the female condom is an extremely clever option to safer sex and female empowerment.  I am a bit embarrassed to say that I hadn’t even seen one before today, but now that I have, I feel much more comfortable teaching it as an option to women and girls not only as a family planning option, but as an extra precaution to preventing HIV/AIDS (considering a woman can put it in up to 8 hours before having sex). 
Even past all of this, the highlight of my day came when I Skyped with my Tia Janet’s 4th grade class!  (We are a part of the Coverdell World Wise Correspondence Match Program, to learn more about it, please click here).  I met each one of her students and learned a little about them.  It was so nice to put faces to names from all of the great questions I’ve been receiving on my blog!  We are supposed to speak again tomorrow after my training session just as their school day is starting.  I’m hoping I’ll be able to answer questions they may have regarding Botswana, volunteerism, Peace Corps, or anything in general. 
So like I said, the past few days have been fun-filled and eventful.  What else? I do want to send a shout-out to my cousin Natasha, who just turned 25 (a quarter of a century old!) and has a brand new grown-up job.  She’s paving the way to making a name for herself in the architectural world! More shout outs to my cousin Amanda who is nation-trotting and geologically excavating with a geological engineering company (not quite sure the specifics..? But still excited!) and to my cousin Hannah (aka Bonanza) who has overcome so many great obstacles in the past couple months and is moving into her own place soon!  I’m so proud and honored to call these great women not only my cousins but my best friends.  Even though I can’t see them as often as I need, and we don’t necessarily speak as much as I’d like, I know that we are all making our own marks in the sand, and we’ll eventually meet for a bonfire on the beach in the future.  Ha, look at me getting all poetic.  (Cheers to Andre as well and his new grown-up job in the DTC!)
I think that’s really it for now…I will be going to a brie (pronounced “BRY”, it’s what the Batswana call a bar-b-que) at the local dam this weekend, so I’ll be sure to bring my camera.  Apparently, there are supposed to be lots of baboons near the water, so that will be fun to see.  I’ll also be headed to the village of Molepolole with one of my friends on Sunday so she can pick up her new cat (and so I can just see what the village of Moleps is all about).  Oh! We are also headed to a diamond mine/diamond exchange on Friday, so I’ll keep you posted about that.
Tsamaya sentle bagaetso! (Remain well, everyone)
Boroko (goodnight),
~Nina

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