from a snowy walk in the Rattlesnake, Missoula, Montana

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Only in Botswana...

They say that the Peace Corps changes you, it does. I am only a few months shy of being in country for one year, but months ago I was already able to recognize some of the ways I have changed....

I live next to a cattle kraal, where cattle are placed when they are being inspected for bride prices, children or other cattle selling activities. I have spent many many many an hour watching and laughing at men attempting to load cattle up a ramp onto the back of their trucks. Cattle are unwilling to venture up the ramp when there is a truck at the other end (its like they know...) On Sunday, instead of watching tv. I watched with great joy as cattle escaped from the kraal, they climbed up the ramp and jumped off it--yes, cows can fly. The escaped cows then waited around till every cow escaped from the kraal. Then they fled into the darkness.

Living without electricity is a daily adventure. So is testing the bounds of food science. I think that in America...we are ninnies when it comes to germs...we are also ninnies when it comes to "food safety" Stateside, I would never never never dream of eating milk or any food for that matter past the expiration date. Mo Botswana--I paid for it. I am eating it damn-it. My potatoes are a little moldy, no biggie, just heat it up. Your milk smell? Nah-you will just have the runs for a few hours. Have I given myself food poisoning, you bet. I have I learned from it...sure ain't.

At Jwaneng bus rank you can buy "Russians" aka foot long hot dogs. They are worth the 12 Pula you pay for them! I always treat myself to Russian to make it through a bus ride. I was sitting, getting ready to bite into my spicy Russian when a man sneezes on it. Yes, sneezes on my Russian. At first I was repulsed. I even gave the man a death glare. However, after careful inspection of my prize-worthy Russian, I decided it was safe to eat. So I ate it.

Free time:
What do I do for fun in the bush? Why a lot of things, mostly, my weekend activities surround me sitting under a tree or on my stoop watching goats. Its really a good way to pass the time.

What annoys me:
Public transport fare. Within the time I have been in Botswana, the prices were raised 5%, thats noting really. But a combi ride is now P3.50...not P3.30! Out rage!

What doesn't annoy me:
Water shortages. Its an excuse for me not to bathe (especially in the winter....)
The fact that it takes about an hour to get 15 kilometers.

Fire and Floods....

Several weeks ago, I had a small house fire. No, nothing that major...but a candle tipped over ruining some important items. Luckily I caught it in time and was able to put it out with water. Needless to say, I was heart broken when I discovered I burnt some pictures and a quote bag my dear friend Amanda made me. I was determined to salvage what I could. I set out the remains of photos and quotes to dry on my flood and went about my life.

The next day I left....only to return many many hours later and my house was flooded. I am still not sure how my tap was on...but it was. Water stood inches and inches in my kitchen and had spread into my bedroom and living room. Again, it could have been a lot worse....

As I was cleaning up I noticed that a quote was burnt on a picture from masters cohort it was "The world is full of a number of things. I am sure we should all be as happy as kings" -Robert Stevenson

I had paused to reflect on that poetic irony...treasures were lost, my house flooded all in a matter of hours. Not to mention my patiences and will was tried. But the world is full of many things. And I am as happy as a king.

I have found one of the greatest things Peace Corps can teach me, is the ability to reflect. My day to day life seems mundane at times. I can't count relationships I am building on my VRF...but I can count my daily treasures.

So here is to being here and living in the moment.