Thursday, August 29, 2013

Let There Be Light!

I am so ecstatic right now!

I woke up today with a full night's rest, feeling great! I got up, got ready for work (judging a beauty contest today!), danced to Whitney Houston and Michael Jackson as I got ready, listened to Smashing Pumpkins and Nirvana as I made breakfast, and sat and ate to some hip hop and soul. I like a diverse collection of songs on my playlist most of the time. 

As I was eating, the people from Botswana Power Company, and the electricians I've come to know, came over to inspect my house for electricity. It didn't even matter that they came 2 hours later than what they had told me, I had a good feeling about it and thought about electricity all night long! 

I was so anxious about the inspection I kept asking how everything worked. Also, I'm just a very curious person by nature - always have been. I followed them to each room which got a little awkward because my place is tiny and they'd turn around to find my face there, waiting with excitement, as if they were going to tell me they'd take me to Disneyland or something. They tested this and that in this and that room, talked about trips and circuits and insulation, spoke Setswana to each other and I couldn't understand anything. But finally, they said that my house was ready to go!

It didn't take very long to set up because my house was already wired when I came. They set up an electricity meter which uses a prepayment protocol meaning I go to any electricity vending station and buy units. I take my electricity card so that they record it and make sure the units are good to go with my corresponding serial number. When I get home, I punch in the 20-digit code into my meter and my house is supplied with electricity for however much I bought it for! This is exactly how I pay for airtime on my cell phone. 

Since things work a bit differently here, I always have to keep track and monitor my usage because I will have to buy more airtime or more electricity units when they run low. Which means I have to plan a day where I can go into my shopping village and do that. Which also means I will try to hit every bird with one stone and make sure I do everything else I need to do in town, like buy groceries and visit certain government offices to get my errands done. I just hope I remember to monitor the meter and keep in mind how much electricity I use for certain things.

I'm so excited right now as I type this blog post. This means I'll also (hopefully) be able to bring my tiny refrigerator home and not have to walk back and forth when preparing meals! I will never take electricity for granted or waste it! I'm charging my phone as I type right now. Who knows, I might get a little crazy tonight and turn on the light when I read! Watch out!


Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Sick and Tired of Being Sick and Tired


Today is a better day than the rest, this past week. My sinus symptoms decided to make an appearance again and I've been having to deal with that lately. While I was in the capital (yet again) for more medical visits, I came down with some sort of stomach bug. I started feeling really fatigued and my legs felt restless. By the end of that night my stomach was cramping. When I woke up the next morning I was feeling nauseated and my whole body ached. 

For the past week I've been having major GI problems and vomiting. I couldn't hold anything down and all I ate was rice and fruits. But I'm feeling better today! I'm eating like normal again (which is way too much) and overall, I feel good. 

Let me tell you about being sick in Botswana. Being sick here is way different than being sick back home in America. Normally, you'd drive yourself, or have someone drive you, to the store or doctor's office, pick up some medicine within 10-20 minutes of that visit, and go home to rest and/or someone who will take care of you. Here, I beg to be seen the next day since transportation is nonexistent after 10 a.m. from my village. I wake up feeling worse the next morning but make sure to get to the hitching/combi spot early. The dumpster near this spot gives me more feelings of nausea. I wait and wait until the combi comes which is never a set time. I ride two hours to my shopping village just to hop on a bus and ride another hour and a half to the capital. I get to the lodge where volunteers stay and have to wait until the next morning for the appointment that was made. And that day I ride around town, sometimes getting lost if it's a new place I've never been, and just hope I make it to my appointment without passing out beforehand. Then I rest in bed for the rest of the day and get bored and lonely.Then I do that process of transporting one more time when I go home. That's more or less what happens when I'm sick. It really sucks to be sick here. Thanks for letting me vent! haha

Since I have acute chronic sinusitis, I don't think I'll ever be rid of these symptoms completely but I would have hoped that after surgery it would have been a while since I had any problems again. Oh well. Just focusing on good things how every day this week the electricians have actually been coming to install and hook up wires and a meter and tomorrow my house will be inspected and how if it passes, I'll have electricity by tomorrow morning. Woohoo! Pray for me!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Feeling Great at 28!

Never in my life did I think that, at 28, I'd be in Africa helping people and doing what I'd want, career-wise. Nor did I imagine living alone in a country far away from home.

I've done a lot of things that have surprised me and things that I have come to be proud of. I'm volunteering in an unfamiliar place, keeping my mind open and welcoming and living life one day at a time. And it feels amazing.

Yesterday I celebrated my 28th birthday. I surrounded myself with friends who I've become close to and people who I learn so much from. I was surprised with birthday cake and ice cream and balloons. I also got my first Sanrio goodie bag that I've gotten in 20 years! (Thank you Liz!) I made sure to eat some type of noodles since that is a tradition in my family (symbolizes long life). I met new people. I relaxed with friends. I danced and sang with a five-year-old in the back of a car.

It was a very simple and relaxing day. And it was perfect.

Thank you to everyone for all the love and birthday wishes! I love you guys.

Regina, I love you lady! Thanks for everything!

P.S. Cape Town trip is booked for Christmas and New Year's with some of these lovely people! South Africa, I'm coming back for you!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

First week of Term 3!


School has begun again for the last term of 2013! 

It has been crazy hectic for me - planning events, awaiting answers from non-profit organizations I partnered with back home,  and just getting back into a routine. I have to say, volunteers weren't lying when they told us that once we hit that year mark, it's going to go by so fast because of how busy we get. Hell, this first year flew by for me. (Can you believe next month marks a year in-country?! Crazy!) 

I've been so productive since school started and I'm proud of that! Here are some things I have planned:

•Hosting a Guidance and Counseling Workshop for the teachers
•In charge of the in-school competitions this term
•Facilitating fitness classes
•Partnering with non-profit's back home
•Weekly health talks
•Starting PACT (Peer Approach to Counseling by Teens) club again
•Member of the Fundraising Committee
...and so much more!

As you can see, I wasn't playing around with goal-setting this term. I feel as if I've been gone for medical or vacation stuff and that I haven't been as productive as I wanted to last term so I hit the ground running this time around. It feels pretty good. :)

During this first week I've managed to amaze myself with my culinary skills (pasta and red curry my mom would be proud of!), join my cluster's badminton team (I practice everyday!), decorate my kitchen and make it feel like home, bathe and do laundry because I've had water for five whole days now, and get charged in "court!" haha I'll explain...

So I will try to keep busy but still hope to manage the blog. Now that I can from my phone, (I love you blogger app) I will make it a point to do my best and keep you guys in the loop. Enjoy the pictures!

Pretty flowers blooming in the trees in Winter
New an improved kitchen
This hot water bottle was the best R39 I've ever spent. I sleep with this lil guy every night.
Ready for badminton practice!
Don't take water for granted
Okay, so the fundraising committee hosted an went in which all the teachers were charged for some ridiculous thing. We all had to appear in "court" and explain ourselves. We all were charged different amounts and could even ask for a "lawyer" for an extra charge. I played my part well, argued my ass off, and my initial charges were dismissed...only to find out I was charged another P20 for not addressing the court in Setswana! haha It was a really fun way to raise money for the students and I'm glad the teachers participated and are investing in the students, giving back to the school. The kids ha a great time and so did we. So much fun!
These kids are the best. They walk me to school and cheer me on when I play badminton (even though I'm the worst player. Haha) So cute.
Best spaghetti I've ever made.

A red curry dish my mom would be proud of. :)