from a snowy walk in the Rattlesnake, Missoula, Montana

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Its the small things in life...

We find out our site placements tomorrow, our new homes for the next two years. There will be tears of sadness and joy as we find our pin on the map. 

I have always found that the small things in life can bring you the most joy. This week, my joy is that one of the cleaning ladies at the education knows my name. She greets me "Mma Maleke" and asks me how I am doing. Last night I programed "Bruce" in my computer to talk to me. Thank you Steve Jobs for giving me 6 different voice options to choose from! The sky here brings me joy every time I look up--it is the pretties shade of blue. The sky after the thunderstorm, the way the lightening lights up the night sky. The way my host family ooggles over pictures of my American family, finding ways to complement everyone. 

Monday, October 15, 2012

Half way done...

We are in week six of PST, we are now in new language groups based on our skill level. We find out our placement sites on Friday (eck!). We are half way done with PST, and we have been in Botswana for just over a month now. 

PST is hard. Really, hard. In IYFD, we never talked about PST, nor what to expect. Our year was full of learning tools to be a great volunteer...This two months of training will just be a blip in my Peace Corps service.   

Botswana is a place full of contradictions: poverty and riches, modern and outdated combined. 

For the past week, I had the opportunity to shadow a current PCV in Middlepits, it is a small village on the border of South Africa and Botswana. 

This is where we hitchhiked rides (the Peace Corps doesn't support hitching, but recognizes at times it is the only form of transportation) I hitched with total strangers, in ambulances and police trucks. On on of my rides, a lady used me as a pillow....which was an interesting experience. 

We went to the sand dunes in Gakhibane

And I rode a camel! In Tsabong, the police used to ride the camels just humor the tourists. 

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Dumelang. Mo Botswana ke bidiwa Bonolo Maleke, kwa Amerika ke bidiwa Ashley. Ke moithaopi wa Peace Corps. Ke ithuta Setswana le ngwao. 

I am one of the 34. The 34 who are on the journey to become part of something bigger, something bigger than ourselves. We make up Bots-13, a group of Life Skills Volunteers, who are to help roll out a Life Skills Curriculum initiated by the Government of Botswana and the Ministry of Education. We will be placed in schools, working along side Guidance Counselors and Teachers implementing the Life Skills Curriculum. 

Peace Corps was initially invited to serve in Botswana after their independence in 1966, Peace Corps served until 1997. In 2003, the Peace Corps re-entered Botswana due the HIV/AIDS pandemic that is currently plaguing the world. Botswana and the southern part of Africa has been particularly hard hit by HIV/AIDS. Currently, the prevalence of HIV/AIDS in Batswana aged 15 and older is 25%. In certain regions of Botswana, the prevalence is as high as 49% in females aged 30-34 (Botswana AIDS Impact Survey III, 2008). 

We are in week four of PST (pre-service training), we are in classes six days a week, totaling 40-45 hours a week. Our days consist of learning Setswana, Setswana culture, development approaches, anything health related--from malaria to keeping ourselves healthy during service, safety and security, HIV/AIDS and life skills training. We currently in the village of Kanye, located southwest of Gaborone. I live with a host family, the Maleke’s, my parents are Jackson and Cherry and I have three sisters: Lone, Bettinah, Tshiama who are 27, 25 and 17 respectively. My mom takes great pride in teaching me traditional Setswana dishes! So far I can make soup (not American soup), maize meal, chicken and liver. Yes....liver. 

In the past few weeks I have....

Cooked liver

Safety first!
 Gotten Shots! (and a just box!)
 Voted for president!
 Licked lots of stamps! (ick...)
 Walked in a lot of sand...