Wednesday, August 21, 2013

A nine year old is my best friend.

Botswana- the country
Batswana- the people 
Motswana- a singular person from Bots
Setswana- the language of Bots, although practically everyone speaks English, especially the young.

I have been in bots for about a week, and at my host families for 5 days. My host family is comprised of my host mother Mesego, and her grandson Lesego, who also lives in the house. Lesego's mother and three other children live next door with her 87 year old mother, as well as a plethora of her sisters whose names I cannot and will not ever remember or be able to pronounce. The community has been incredibly welcoming to us and we've had quite a few ceremonies to meet city officials as well as chief of our wards. There are many wards within the village and each ward has a chief who is born into the role. Their job is to oversee their designated community.

Every volunteer gets a Setswana name from their families when arriving and community members will always ask your English and Setswana name. No matter what, after you say your Setswana name, they will laugh. I've realized they aren't laughing at me, it's just what they do. Most people get names like "blessed one" and "gift from God" but nope, I am Gaone which means young one. I like it, I think it's endearing and not cheesy, it's the name she calls her children. 
Things I've learned about Botswana....a vast generalization:
1. Motswana  women have hands of steel. They can pick up a metal kettle that that has boiling water in it and think nothing of it, while I, very clumsily try to pick it up with a towel while also trying to not light the towel on fire and swearing profusely. It's an ordeal. I'm pretty sure she takes baths in boiling water.
2. They LOVE cooking oil and salt. I've grease stained 3 articles of clothing so far. It's been 5 days.
3. I don't know if it's peace corps or bots, but we EVERYTHING. "Oh, you stood up...*clap clap clap clap*"
4. Get this, cows actually WEAR cowbells. And they are everywhere! I watched a little boy chase cows through my front lawn last night.
5. They love sorghum. I hate sorghum. I love corn flakes.
6. Donkey carts are an acceptable method of transportation.
7. Every single family is different. It's awesome comparing our homestays with other volunteers because often times they are quite different, for example: I have electricity, a stove, a fridge, a TV (although there is only one channel and I'm already sick of it), and my room is huge. Some people don't have any of that and some people have that plus more. Also, many people have had to kill their dinner with an axe...not my cup of tea. 
8. Walking around topless of near topless in front of PCV's is ok (luckily, I have not experienced this). 

I could go one for hours, but I will leave it at that for now. I barely have Internet so who knows when I'll even be able to post this.

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