I had the pleasure of meeting Michelle Gavin, the US Ambassador to Botswana. Let me just say this. I love this woman. She was amazing, honest, frank and funny! Someone asked about President Obama coming to visit...I offered my first born child to make that happen, I am not sure why no one took me up on the offer. As someone interesting in making a career out of development, truly appreciated her “3 Ambassador goals” We were told that in Ambassador school you are instructed to pick 3, not 2 and not 4 goals for your time in office. The one that stuck out to me the most was her focus on long range economic development. To be honest, the diamond mines will dry up, they employ so many and it would be a huge economic failure when that time comes.
On Thursday (the 15th), I became a Peace Corps Volunteer. I took the oath. Something that I did without reservation, although, swearing to defend the constitution agains enemies both foreign and domestic was a little strange...
The past few weeks in PST have been strange, we all finally let our guards down--realized how freaken cool everyone else was, and that yes, they are our new family for the next two years. We all clicked. We were all stressed. We all cracked under the stress. We all laughed, and cried and then had to say goodbye.
On Friday, Sarah, Emma and I were to head to “kwa bush” aka Lehututu and our respective villages. Communication with our counterparts was scarce and we were hoping that our ride to the bush was set up. Low and behold. It was. Kind of. The three of us are in villages that are about 10K-20K away from each other, it only made sense that we were to all ride together. Only one of the two vehicles showed up, we had a truck, with one seat in the front. Three girls, two years of stuff plus house hold furnishings to set up home. We got this. Fortunately, Sarah and I are master car packers (think Penelope moving to and from Missoula), Emma was on puppy duty (Tau is amazing!). We got ourselves, and a dog crammed into the back of a truck, and then road in the back. Yes, thats right, we sat amongst our belongings for the trek to the desert. it was pretty uneventful, except for the fact that our driver sped like a bat out of hell. Legit. It was a good thing we couldn’t really see out the windows. Tau (the puppy) did amazing. Nothing broke and we all have homes. Sans furniture.
My house in Lehututu is nice and tiny! Perfect for one! It has one bedroom, small kitchen and a living-room. The bathroom is outside, still attached to the house, just outside. The school has loaned me a piece of foam, a little plastic kids table and a stove until the Ministry of Education brings me my real furniture.
Its just me and the bats. Yes, bats. I have a bat infestation. I can’t decide how creeped out I really am. I should NOT have watched Contagion this summer! Currently, there are 5 of them hanging out in my bedroom, one just dropped to the floor.....Every once in a while I spray doom at the (doom is bug killer for African size bugs, not effective on bats...).
I live on a compound, there are 3 other houses, a flock of chickens, a few puppies and a gaggle of grey hounds. The grey hounds both like and dislike me at the same time...let me just say that going to the bathroom in the middle of the night, well....is frightening. However, today, as their owner came home the ran to greet him! Just like American dogs do! If you know anything about African dogs, they are not treated like pets, these are pets (American style)! The sight absolutely made my day! My neighbors are all very nice, one lady brought me ice water after my jog today! Since I have no electricity, this was like winning the lottery.
The past two days I have been at the Junior Secondary School, home base for me. The whole things has been a thought provoking experience. I have to say, that the teachers are not entirely sure A-why I am here, B-why they should listen to me, C-why I am not teaching...the list could go on. Oh, the joys of being the first PCV in my village. No one knows what to do with me! Except to speak English of course!
The students leave for Christmas break on Friday, they had exams the previous week. This week the teachers are busy “marking” or grading exams. Today, I was fed to the wolves. Literally. I asked to get to know the kids better, it ended up like pirañas going after dinner. First, they were all too scared to talk to me....then one lone boy asked a question. Attack. They are wonderful kids, I ended up sitting on a chair and they surrounded me (360 degrees, kids climbing on chairs). They are enthralled with my tattoos on my foot, my industrial (ear piercing that spans the top of my ear) and my freckles. A few girls tried to rub my freckles off of my shoulder. How do you explain freckles? Any words of wisdom in describing the culture of America?
HOLY CRAP. As I am writing this, my bat friend just landed next to me. Almost died.
Good thing I am living by candle light...and every thing is romantic looking. Including Mr. Bat.
The kids are aged 13-18 or so, they asked some wonderful questions. Including if I know Justin Beiber and Obama. I wish. Also, more heart breaking questions if I have both my parents...It broke my heart to see the look in their eyes when I said yes. Of course, I have my favorites. Who doesn’t? I keep telling myself, it is like your clients....
So far, a I have met a few people in my village, let me say. People I pass on the street know my name...I don’t know them. A few people have stopped by my house to introduce themselves. Its nice, expect when men come over a dusk time....Lehututu doesn’t have much, they have a few tuck shops and general dealers where you can get the basics aka maize meal, rice, sorghum and tins of beans.
Signing off to deal with my bat crisis.....