Monday, September 17, 2012

So much going on!

Whew! What a past couple weeks I’ve had!

It’s busy busy here in Botswana, lots of great things are happening, and the rainy season is a’comin’!

Let me keep you abreast of the recent going-ons in Gobojango alone. 

First of all, I’m in the process of writing a Peace Corps Partnership Program Grant for the primary school to get shade in their newly built playground.  The students of the school out-scored every other school in our district on their 2011 aptitude tests and therefore, the school received a sum of 30,000 pula to put towards the development of the school. Well, after buying a new copy machine, updating a roomful of computers’ software, spending money on some small prizes to encourage kids to continue athletics, and building a new playground, the development money has run out.  The only thing is that, though the playground is beautiful, the sun scorches the equipment so quickly that children are not able to use it or play on it during the summer months.  So all the hard work that they’ve done to receive an entirely new recreational park is going to waste unless there is shade netting put around the enclosure.  I’m working closely with the deputy school head and arranging for the grant to be posted soon so that the playground opening can happen in late October.

Secondly, last weekend I travelled to Talana Farms in the Tuli Safari Block.  There, I lead an aerobics class with my fellow volunteers, we put on a condom demonstration (both male AND female), and I met the manager of the farms. Pretty much, I played with the kids for the majority of the day and fell in love.  The living conditions in Talana Farms are not the best, and alcoholism is a prominent dilemma that they are faced with daily.  It was a great success, and after sitting with the manager of the farms and enjoying a cold beer under a 600 year-old tree, listening to the wildlife outside, I left with the Semolale ambulance.  On the drive home, I saw elephants, impala, kudu, and spring bock.  Without those small reminders, I would forget that I’m living in Africa.   

I’ve continued to put on health talks in the clinic (except for today since I’ve been sick and losing my voice).  That’s been going well, the doctor likes to record me and show the videos to the neighboring villages of Semolale and Mabolwe.  He hopes that by increasing health education will decrease the amount of recurrent patients who come to the health post.


I’m also creating a garden in my back yard.  I’m hoping that by using perma-gardening techniques that we learned during PST, I will be able to maintain a vegetable garden on my compound.  Lorato, my neighbor and friend, said she would be willing to help me since her family owns the garden on the outskirts of Gobojango.  

This weekend I will be having two things going on.  First, on Saturday, I will be travelling to my shopping village Bobonong for a Health Fair that is going on.  There, I will be an assistant in the DHMT (District Health Management Team) tent, and conducting condom demonstrations.  Next, the following day, on Sunday, I will be leading a training with the Kings Foundation for facilitators within my community.  I have arranged a group of 20 volunteers who work with children and who could be perfect for this training.  Pretty much I’ll be having people come here on Saturday night, then have them leave on Sunday morning.

What’s next? I went to Kanye this past weekend for a wedding.  It was really refreshing to be back in that village.  It was nice to see where I used to live and feel how much I’ve grown since arriving in Botswana.  I met a few of the new volunteers, and almost found it comical how wide-eyed and eager they were to listen to every word of advice I had.  I know exactly how they feel, and by golly, I wouldn’t trade anything in the world to be where they are now and have to go through PST (pre-service training) a second time.  It’s definitely a necessary training…but I’m much happier now that I’m at site.

I’ve started planning for some trips to happen in the near future.  Soon I’ll be heading to the Salt Pans of the northern region to see a flamingo sanctuary and to stay in Baobab Tree house Hostels.  SO awesome. Then, In October, I’m going with a group of other volunteers to Namibia for Oktoberfest. Hopefully, I’ll have enough vacation days to stay in the country and go sand boarding and sky diving. If not, I’m still excited to go to Namibia! November marks the month where I will be heading to the third largest town in Botswana: Maun, for Thanksgiving.  As many of you are aware, individuals throughout Botswana do not celebrate this wondrous holiday, so we are going to go big, volunteer style ;) We are having a huge potluck and are going to somehow get our hands on a turkey and some cranberries.

Then, happily enough, I can report that only a few weeks after that, I will be going back home to beautiful Colorado to see my magnificent family!

So joyous. =D

Well thanks for reading! Until next time, have a great day and don’t forget to tell someone how much you love them!

Friday, September 7, 2012

So, I met the president!

“Come, my friends.

‘Tis not too late to seek a newer world

For my purpose holds to sail beyond the sunset

And though we are not now that strength which in old days moved earth and heaven

That which we are,

We are.

One equal temper of heroic hearts

Made weak by time and fate

But strong in will

To strive

To seek

To find

And not to yield.”                             -Alfred Lord Tennyson

                With each passing day, I’m faced with more opportunities to seize the world in new ways. Yesterday, I ate lunch with President Sir Ian Keretse Khama.  It was wonderful, and flattering to feel so important, but the most inspiring thing was the president’s willingness to listen to the citizens.  During both ward meetings (both in Semolale on Wednesday and Mathathane on Thursday), he alloted as much time as necessary to allow the villagers to come up to the microphone and tell him the dilemmas they are faced with in their everyday life.  

                He joked with the people, ate with the elders, listened to their histories, praised the children, shook hands.  It was so rejuvenating, so nice to see a president who cares so much about his people.  Not that this doesn’t happen in the US, trust me, I was there for the hype when Obama came to Tucson (even for a somber occasion, people were throwing around t-shirts), but it was just so invigorating to see how much influence even one man’s presence can uplift a community.