Before I get into all that I am thankful for, let me update all of you on what I remember during the past week or two. For those of you who wonder how I’m living and curious to see where I live, I am still in the temporary house. I don’t know when I will move into the actual house I should be living in but since we are in Botswana and I was promised that it’d be last week, I’ll guess 2-3 weeks from now. Here is what my typical day looks like:
- - 5:30 a.m. Wake up, brush teeth, go to the restroom and bathe (they say “bath” here)
- - 5:50 a.m. Get dressed and make breakfast AND lunch (no electricity means no refrigerator which means no dinner leftovers for the next day’s lunch)
- - 6:30 a.m. Pack lunch and eat breakfast
- - 7:00 a.m. Throw bath water out on a tree in front of my house
- - 7:05 a.m. Start trekking through the bush to get to my school (I walk 1 ½ km to and from school everyday which is about 1 mi each way)
- - 7:25-7:30 a.m. Arrive at Guidance & Counseling office
- - 7:30-10:00 a.m. Diddle daddle in my office since I just got here and school is now over. Sometimes I work on my Community Assessment Report that is due in January)
- - 10:00 -10:30 a.m. Tea Break (sit in my office)
- - 10:30-1:30 p.m. Read paperwork and books or walk around the school meeting and talking to new people
- - 1:30-2:30 p.m. LUNCH!!!
- - 2:30-4:30 p.m. Work on things with the Guidance & Counseling Teacher who is also my counterpart
- - 4:30 p.m. Start on my way home sweating like a hog in the sun and wish I could drive or get a ride on one of the donkey carts that pass me up
- - 5:00 p.m. Prepare and eat dinner
- - 6:30 p.m. Read, go online for a very short while, or visit neighbors and make new friends
- - 8:00 p.m. Debate whether I should go to sleep or not since it’s already dark and the candles don’t do anything for me
- - 8:10 p.m. Start running around my house killing mosquitoes and bugs while cursing them out
- - 8:30/9ish Lie in bed thinking about anything and everything
- - 10ish Fall asleep
- - 12, 2, 3:30 a.m. Toss and turn and eventually wake up because I am sleeping in a puddle of my sweat (Only when it’s really hot during the day. I always love the crazy rainy weather.)
So for everyone that was wondering...there you go. Of course there are differences as every day comes but that’s what my week look liked last week for the most part.
|My corner desk! :)|
|The temp. house I'm staying in. This was from a Tango call with Trenton.|
If you guys download Tango on your smart phones we can talk for free!
|Sweet affirmation notes that our group wrote to each other|
to read on bad days.
|An awesome performance! For me!|
|Yay for Thanksgiving in Botswana!|
This week I settled into my (temp) house to find running water. YES! I don’t even care if it goes off while I’m brushing my teeth and I’m running around my house, frantic, looking like I’m foaming at the mouth. Even if it was off for the next couple days and I secretly prayed that nobody tells me I smell, I’ll take that over none. I also attended the first of tri-weekly assemblies at my school and was able to meet 2/3 of the students who sang and danced for me because they insisted on me “taking a video of [them] and showing it to all [my] friends in America.” (I wish my internet speed would allow me to upload that video. The performance was amazing!) I was able to travel to the neighboring villages in a small khombi that felt like a moving sauna and met a lot of new people including hilarious coworkers I am excited to be working with once school starts up again in January. I got a great package from a friend back home and stuffed my little face with gross amounts of CHEWY chocolate chip cookies and Sour Patch kids. (Hey, I was being really healthy and being good the whole week, I deserve it. Plus, that makes up for not being home for Thanksgiving, right?) I was invited to Stephanie and Tom’s house, the sweetest married couple I have met since being in the Peace Corps, (let me remind you who they are here) for an American-style Thanksgiving dinner of our own which was so nice. I got to see them and 7 other volunteers that I hadn’t seen for a week! (It felt really long for us!) We may not have had turkey but we ate a pretty great meal with chicken, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, butternut (tastes like pumpkin) and salad. We said thanks and of course I got a little emotional and we talked and laughed and complained (or praised, depending on who you are. Lucky people...) about our houses. It was such a nice day and was glad I was able to still celebrate Thanksgiving over here in Africa.
I also realized the reality of hitching, what we refer to as hitchhiking. Many of our villages, including mine of course, are so small and rural that transportation is almost nonexistent. Up to this point I have been scared of doing it but knew that I would probably be forced to. I know you are all thinking that this is crazy and dangerous but in Botswana it is really just another form of transportation that is used daily and is not at all like hitchhiking in America. I keep telling you that the majority of Batswana are super friendly and welcoming. One day I had to take 5 hikes just to get home from my shopping village! Apparently nobody likes to travel on Sundays. That may sound scary, and it was for me, but everyone who picked me up was so friendly. I know most of you all are thinking, “What the hell are you thinking?!” but it is almost the only way I can get out of my village. For drivers, when a person is on the side of the road waving their hand, it is a way of making extra money since you are driving that direction anyway. For people like me who live in remote villages, it is the only way to get home when no other khombis are around and buses don’t even go into your village. Also, When you wait for hitches, you could be waiting hours on end and there is really nothing you can do. I have learned this the hard way. The other day I hiked to the main road (10 km) and walked down the road to the hitch stop. I waited for a khombi for 25 minutes and it took me to my destination. Easy, right? So coming home I thought it’d be just as easy. Wrong. I couldn’t get a taxi or khombi on this particular day and walked a mile to the bus rank. (Like a train station for buses, khombis, and taxis.) Nobody was there. I waited an hour for a taxi to pull in for the driver to tell me I had to wait for it to fill up or otherwise I’d pay 5x the price. I waited for 30 minutes and he took me to the next village over, really close. I walked down the road to catch a khombi to realize I was going the wrong way. The conductor told me what I needed to do so I got off and walked about a mile back. I arrived at a bus/hitch spot and waited. And waited. And waited. I must have waited 3 ½ hours before I saw one of the staff members from my school across the street, waving for me to come over. I got lucky. If he wasn’t there I don’t know how long I’d be waiting. So what I’ve learned from this is : Always carry a book with me and be thankful that I’ll be in great shape when I go back to America.
Back to what I am thankful for...This week I was most grateful for all my family and friends that I talked to in just this week alone. It is the most people I’ve had the pleasure to hear since being here. I was so happy! Both my best girlfriends called and one of them is now engaged and getting married in New York next June! I still can’t believe it. I wish I can be there and be with her but we’ll see what happens. (I’d love to go to New York again but better, a New York wedding!) I also got a call from my mom wishing me a Happy Thanksgiving and that was nice. I spoke to Trenton and practically his whole family! I talked to his parents, his sister, his aunt and uncle, his cousin (Hey Ty!!), and his grandma and got a warm wish from his grandpa on Thanksgiving Day. That really just made my week. I also got warm wishes from his tias and abuela from his dad’s side of the family. I am so thankful that I have people who love me and support me. For those of you who continue to follow my blog and are reading this right now: I love you with all my heart. I wish for your health and safety everyday and hope you are all happy and doing well.
So be very grateful for what you have and remember that all the basic necessities that are taken for granted everyday count, too. I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving and stuffed your faces with food I can only dream of. Especially a bacon-wrapped Turkey. Please tell me you stuffed your face with a bacon-wrapped turkey so I can live vicariously through you.