Monday, October 27, 2014

352 days to go.

As of mid-October I have been an official PCV for one year. Half the battle is over! Peace Corps is really just a bunch of smaller battles. Like battles to get the amenities you are entitled to (gas for cooking, beds for sleeping, chairs for sitting, etc) which every PCV has different luck with. Some volunteers are driven to the furniture store where they select brand new pieces that they want in their house, and some people are dropped off thirty year old wooden-framed broken-springed love seat and chair. But I know volunteers who never even got the furniture they were supposed to, or they ended up buying their own (I was lucky enough to get a lil sumpin sumpin). Good thing I got the lower end of the deal because declawing a cat would be a laughable request here, so Boi has been sharpening her claws on most of my furniture, and I only stop her when it's my bed at 3am.
Battles with yourself. I fight myself often to do things because, well for one I'm really not doing anything else, and two I know I will feel better after doing it. It is so incredibly easy to shut yourself off from you community by staying in your house all the time. Just leaving the house, even for something simple, is work here. No matter where you go, or how used to seeing you they are, people are watching you more often than not, and chances are they are talking about it. Most days I would LOVE to sit in my house and binge watch some horrible TV show, and I'm not going to lie to you, I most likely would, if I could. But not having electricity has, in the grand scheme of it all, been more of a blessing than a curse. It forces me to go out and if I do want to watch a movie that night, I have to sit and socialize with my neighbors, or walk to a friends house, in order to charge my computer. I always feel happier after a day of interacting, even if 86% of the interactions were awkward or confusing. Plus, every dinner is a sexy candle-lit dinner at Gaone's, how will people know when I am TRYING to seduce them? There is still talk of getting me electricity. I'm actually texting with the person who is waiting at the power company to pay, right now, as we speak. Will it work? Will a dragon swoop in and brutally terrorize Francistown which will divert them from paying? Will Gaone ever get power/will it even be a good thing for her socialization skills? Stay tuned.
A Common PCV Battles with...
...neighbors over not sweeping our lawn. They are dirt lawns.
...neighborhood children over the correct time to use the word 'lekgoa' (that time is never).
...neighborhood children. Trying to like them every day is hard.
...supervisors who either 1) don't give a shit that we are there and have no suggestions on projects, or 2) give way too much of a shit that we are there and think we should be there forty hours a week. Everywhere you go there is failing technology.
...our bowels. Sometimes for no reason, sometimes for reasons you know all too well.
...the bus 'schedule'.
...Africa time.
All of these make up a good Peace Corps service. Many are cultural differences that I will just never understand because I wasn't raised thinking that way, but that is why we are here, to figure out these differences and try to understand them. If we cannot understand them, accept them and move on (unless it is to justify beating a person or an animal, then NOPE). We aren't here to change anyone's culture, nor would we want to. We're here to squeeze ourselves into their lives for two years, cross our fingers, and hope something good happens.
Here's to the weirdest year of my life so far, and probably an even stranger next year.

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