Saturday, October 15, 2011

October 15.  Forty-two years ago today we met in Cambridge Common, at the peace march against the war in Viet Nam. And here we are today so many years later still supporting peace among peoples in this beautiful world.

We're still marching.  Occupy Wall Street

That desire for peace, and for doing the little bit that we can to make the world a better place, has guided us ever since, and here we are, still working, now in Botswana.
We had an outing to the dam near Kanye.  No swimming,
however, because of a liver fluke called Bilharzia

It has been an eventful almost two weeks since we have last written. Our Pre-Service Training (PST) is almost at the half-way point, and right now we are on a “shadow”visit to a volunteer, Kelli, who lives in Thamaga, a beautiful village even smaller than Kanye.  The idea is to experience life at site in our program of Life Skills.  Kelli is an awesome trainer. At 24 years of age, from Tyler in East Texas, she is a natural PCV.  Aside from being from a land very similar to Botswana (hot, dry and dusty), she is honest, practical and has a great sense of humor, which are, we are learning, essential qualities to survive the Peace Corps.  Leaving our temporary home in Kanye on Monday, with the chickens and roosters all about, felt a little unsettling, even for a brief time, as we have so little that is permanent right now.  
So here’s the update on experiences in these past several days all of which are supporting our adjustment to this new country, culture and way of life. You see here a picture of a large village celebration (which we are finding the Batswana love!) at the Kanye Kgotla (chief’s gathering place), complete with amazing dancing.  
We volunteers were given honored seats at
this cultural event preceding, by a week, the enthronement
of the new Kgosi

Our training class also made an impromptu trip to a dam, and as you can see we were not dressed for the event, although the picnic and short hike were fun anyway.  PCV’s are nothing if not “patient and flexible.”  And we caught an amazing glimpse of one of the few unusual animals we have seen thus far --- a grasshopper.
We are looking forward to seeing lions, zebra and giraffe,
for now, it's donkeys, goats, cows and chickens,
and this six inch long grasshopper
Most of our weeks are spent in classes and here you see Dolly, our amazing LCF (the Peace Corps adores acronyms --- Language & Culture Facilitator) teaching us Setswana. Her hair this day was especially fun.
Dolly's "uplift" hairdo is as uplifting as her spirit.  She
has been a good teacher!
Setswana is not easy to learn, but Dolly makes it enjoyable and her patience with us is endless.  Plus we get to drink Botswana’s beloved bush tea during class!  Another cultural event was our neighbor’s birthday party for their 5-year old. We kid you not, the party was 10 hours long, beginning with cooking preparations, a huge lunch, candies, games, Bible reading, prayer for the children and dancing for all.  We spent the American 2 hours at the party, enough time to eat and visit with the family and neighbors, plus enjoy the children’s fun.

The neighbors started cooking over open fires at noon
for this five-year old's birthday.  The dancing ended at ten,
late for Kanye
Birthday parties for five year olds are celebrations
for everyone in the family, in the neighborhood

The end of our day, at the home of our host family, the
Baakanyangs, where we eat dinner every night.

So that is the scoop for now. We will be back soon with pictures of our current site visit after we return to Kanye later this week. As much of an adventure as this continues to be, you are first in our hearts and we love and miss you every day.


Doug said...

Great pictures. I want that hat. Funny, it's so easy to picture the two of you back in your apartment in Cambridge, circa 1971.

That march doesn't look like it's going down in Botswana. Or Wall Street, for that matter. But what the hey, up the revolution. We're having Molly Nolan and Jed Abrahamian for dinner on Saturday to discuss strategy.

I'll have to learn blog etiquette as I go. For now, love from Brooklyn.

Doug and Karen

ninaj99 said...

So glad to get caught up on your adventure. I think Mexico and Botswana have some important things in common, especially a love of celebrations (fiestas here, of course). We have somehow been able to extend our American 2 hours to 4 on as as needed basis. It's challenging! Love to both of you, Nina