from a snowy walk in the Rattlesnake, Missoula, Montana

Sunday, February 16, 2014

On race ...

I was in South Africa shortly after Nelson Mandela passed away, I have to say, his passing in Botswana went without fanfare. It was on the news, however, in my observation people weren’t affected by it. Batswana would say things to the effect of “he was a good man” “a hard worker” etc etc.  South Africa was a different story. Everywhere you looked there was a memorial of some sort. Here are some photos from Cape Town. 

Being a white female in Botswana comes with an interesting set of privileges. Often, I find they are uncomfortable privileges. Botswana is a largely black country, whites are in Maun and Gaborone. In rural Botswana where I live, being white is a “novelty” there is a common thought that all white people are amazing at everything. Its uncomfortable. Traveling in South Africa….was interesting. I think that many Americans are overly sensitive to racal issues. White guilt? I am not sure…
As a white American watching interactions between whites and blacks in South Africa (and even in places in Botswana) is frankly uncomfortable. The slums outside Cape Town are literally fenced off. I saw an advertisement to  “visit the other South Africa” which was a slum. Because you should take a slum tour? Like people who are forced to live in substandard abject poverty are animals in the zoo? 
I don’t mean to diminish the racial divide that is in America either…however I have never been so aware of my whiteness before. Perhaps I was just living in an mainly ignorant filled bubble in America. Or a bubble filled with little to no diversity...

Squash gone wild….

 A little garden update…..

 harvesting basil….

 loooook at that beauty.



lil onions! 

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Going on 17...

Someone has always has it worse. As much as I complain, wallow in self pity and feel sorry for myself. Someone always has it worse. That's the painful lesson I learned the other day. 

A week or so ago I helped a form 2 girl at school go to the clinic. Blood donation came and when she tried to donate she was told she has "low blood." She came to me to ask me what it was. I had no idea. People either die from low blood or high blood. That's what they always say. As I sent her on the 2 kilometer walk to the clinic I told her. Let me know and I can help you research what's wrong with you.  

The other Friday I was walking my walk to school. It's 3 kilometers so usually I have time to think. This particular day I was wallowing in self pity, feeling depressed and had general existential angst. It was just one of those days. 

I ran into this girl from school. So I asked her how her clinic visit went. I mean what exactly is low blood?! She looked at me and said. I am HIV positive. It was like a slap in the face. 17 years old and HIV positive. She goes on to tell me that yes, she has slept with some of the male students at school. 

The nurse told her that she needs to increase her nutrition and eat lots of fruits and veggies. The boarding master says that's not possible due to budgets. As I type this right now there is no food at school to feed the students. 

She is getting blood work done to evaluate her CD-4 count and viral load. As of right now the government of Botswana will provide her with free ARVs if her CD-4 count is under 300. Until then she waits. 

Someone always has it worse.