This is our site at Goodhope Senior Secondary School where we arrived on November 10. Although our PC training experience was intense and amazing, no training could have prepared us for the initial shock of our arrival. Driving through miles/kilometers of scrub, low trees, and cattle we came upon upon a behemoth collection of buildings surrounded by barbed wire. The grounds are littered with uncollected trash, the aftermath of what may be an impasse between teachers and the government after the April teacher/civil workers' strike. Here you see our first efforts at clean up.
|Carol in our "backyard"|
|And here are our neighborhood|
helpers in the litter pick up project!
On the bright side, we live in the Staff Flats Block in a well-equipped home with many amenities, including excellent water when we have it. Water outages are a daily experience and electricity can be off again on again, as well. Botswana has been developing very fast, but not everywhere at the same time and rate. So there is a “swiss cheese” effect - ancient and modern side by side.
We have met several faculty neighbors who hail from not only Botswana, but also from Zimbabwe, Zambia, India and the U.K. Students, mostly boarders, are from all over Botswana. The friendliness we have experienced is incredible --- everyone we meet wants to say hello - dumela - smile, ask questions. Paul Motsegerwe, Head of Guidance and Counseling, has wonderfully assisted in our settling process. It was something of a surprise to some that PC has such “old” volunteers as ourselves. In one class of teenagers, the topic of our ages came up with a question of why we are serving here. Paul casually remarked, “They want to do their deaths with dignity.” Wow, try to not take that personally!
Our welcome began with an introduction at the morning assembly on our first full day to the 2400 uniformed, smiling, absolutely beautiful Forms 4 and 5 (11th and 12th grades) students, and continues. We are known as Masego (Carol) and Tshepo (John), as the Batswana feel the importance of inclusion in community with Setswana names, which we have now had almost since arrival in-county.
|In a light moment before exams began, our|
counterpart Paul visits with students.