Saturday, January 10, 2015

Go Ledzwa (Happy New Year!)

After two weeks of the most movement I have ever seen from our power company, coming randomly multiple days within those two weeks (there are no appointments, I leave the house with the intention of sprinting back at some point after the phone call "We are at your house, where are you?"), but it worked out, a couple times they actually picked me up across the village, and riding in a car is always a treat. I like to just ride around for hours with the ambulance driver because she always lets me sit in the front (and what lacking-in-independence-Peace Corps Volunteer doesn't LOVE the front seat? You show me a PCV who doesn't get even the slightest inner joy and I'll show you a LIAR). We are not allowed to own or drive cars during our service, unless you are on official leave.

Due to a tiny issue, I haven't gotten to really use it yet. I got the power hooked up, it all works, but I only have 2.38 units. The power here, same as phone airtime (minutes, data), is prepaid. SO you go to your local general dealer, buy some electricity, type some numbers into your box fixed to your wall that shows how many units you have left and boom, a magical Bots fairy comes and throw electricity glitter into your house. Long story short I can't upload units onto my box until it's registered and everyone was on holiday forever and ever. But it should be good to go in a week and you will never have to listen to me again because I'll be in "Posh Corps" and will be too busy flicking on and off my lights to appreciate the wonders of Afrika.

The one night I had my lights on in my house was scary. I had always thought that my house had fewer bugs than others, so I took in silent smugness that I was just naturally a superiorly clean person. Well, that may not be entirely true (shocking Mom, I know), turns out lights and bugs are like fucking magnets. I understand light attracts bugs, I have seen a stoplight and know it is supposed to resembles the moon or whatever. But it was like an army invasion in my house, with species I had never seen before. Then they all panic themselves with the sudden dose of extreme light and drop dead on my floor. I've been using candles since (plus I can't afford the units until I put more on).

For the holidays I was lucky enough to be able to spend a week on the beautiful Indian Ocean in Mozambique. I love traveling and noticing exactly how different each African country is, and now, even though I am still an outsider in Botswana (and forever will be) I feel like it is not a foreign place. I know exactly where I stand in Botswana and generally what to expect from Batswana, but I love the feeling of complete oblivion that accompanies a foreign country. There have been times where I have been fully relient on the help of strangers to navigate some aspect of a new country. And it is amazing because when a stranger pulls through for me, actually goes out of their way to help, it gives me a little more faith in humanity. 

After being gone for the holidays readjusting from being surrounded by 3-7 people every single minute of my day, to being surrounded to no one every single minute of my day is an emotional rollercoaster. Let me set the scene. The first day is nice, you're exhausted from traveling and cranky because you've smelt like a foot for the past three days, so the alone time to take a proper bath, walk around naked, or sleep for 14 hours is appreciated. The second day rolls around and you are convincing yourself being alone is wonderful and you are 'discovering yourself' but now you are starting to go through pizza withdrawal because you made the noble decision to eat pizza on vacation. The neighborhood kids come over and expect a friendly welcome, but you have not uttered a word to a child in two weeks and the thought of mustering up fake enthusiasm for toy cars is exhausting, so no, no thank you. 8pm comes and you are stare longingly at the phone, willing it to buzz, but it's OK if it doesn't, you like being alone. It rings. You rejoice. Third day, you are mentally writing down things to say to your friends once the internet works, most likely very humorous and nothing pertaining to anything of importance. You realize you have thoroughly 'discovered yourself' so move on to making lists of all the hobbies you can pick up to keep you busy through the year and/or new year's resolutions (because why have just one when you have 22 hours of free time a day?). Fourth day, you are planning return trip to hang out with friends asap.

BUT ALAS, I am home, the schools started up today and I will start working probably next week, when everyone REALLY goes back to work. My projects this year will probably be very similar to last year but I am going to focus mostly on a nutrition initiative at my clinic. I received some awesome materials to make a vegetable garden  and we are going to try to get food donations from around the community so we can create a direct feeding program for the severely underweight and malnourished kids under five in the community. The plan is the parents bring them in 2-3 times a week, preferably even more, for a substantial meal and nutritional education. There are a number of things that need to happen in order for this to be a success, so we shall see. I am also really looking forward to starting the fitness classes up again at our Brigade (technical college) as it was pretty popular last year and I love it. Nothing brings friends together like ten people sweating up a tiny classroom in Africa heat. As of today I have a little over 9 months of service left.

** I'd like to throw a shout-out to my papparoo who went to multiple stores in order to obtain Starbucks' pumpkin spice latte mix for his daughter to put in the Christmas care package. He sure must be bored in retirement.**


  1. Wondering how you are doing - I presume you are out of Botswana now - I'd love to hear how things went for you!

  2. Hi! I have been out since August :( missing me some mosetse. Even Dukwi! It was a rough last few months with some security stuff but otherwise all things as normal. They are starting a preschool in mosetse so the kids don't have to go to Dukwi anymore.

  3. Sorry to hear about the security issues - but I guess if you miss it, it's an overall positive. I still think of Dukwi every day - 24 years after arriving back home.

    Best regards!