Happy Anniversary to me…to us!
Well at least I think those are the right words for this occasion.
Exactly 6 months ago today, I landed in the country once known as Bechanaland, to begin my Peace Corps training and my 27 months of service.
After 3 nights in a cozy hotel in the capital city, all 75 volunteers, known as Bots 15, were piled in two government owned buses luggage and water filters in tow.
We rode almost 4.5 hours to Serowe. One of the biggest villages in the country boosting 50,000+ inhabitants and famously known as the birthplace and home of the first president.
Upon arrival some of us quickly changed on the bus in preparation for meeting our host families for the first time.
The good, the bad, and the ugly of cross cultural integration reared it’s head during the 10 weeks we had living with new families. All the while sharing food and stories about each other, plus learning lessons along the way.
Learning to tell when shapes in the dark aren’t decorations but in fact some scary creature from the bush!
Learning how to bucket bath and not leave the bathroom floor completely soaked when you are done!
Learning to cook traditional food over an open flame.
Learning to share your own recipes and that night you cooked for your host family.
It is an experience I wouldn’t trade for the world...but you couldn’t pay me a million dollars to do that part again!
120 hours of Setswana language study, 10 weeks of learning about HIV/AIDS, Orphans and Vulnerable Children, how to report programs from the field , PACA tools and our site placement information, were were ready to Swear in as Peace Corps volunteers.
6 months ago, I would have never thought that:
spotting a “Wilder Beast/Wild Beast” would be entertaining on a cold Saturday morning.
Or that paying 4 pula for ice cream would become an addicting treat after training sessions.
And how moving to your new site and house will feel like exploding excitement coupled with a million “OMGeeees” during the day and then at night seeping with 1 lonely thought of “WTF am I doing here??!”
Or how comical it is to pee and poop behind one door and then go over to the next to wash your hands.
1 year ago I re-designed this site with the accents and colors you see below. Unaware that I would receive an invitation to a country with a flag that looks strikingly similar.
Now I have no idea if it is a sign from the universe that mother Africa called me here but it’s pretty mind blowing!
6 months ago planning for projects weren’t on the radar yet.
Nor were 15 days of In-Service Training (IST).
And let’s not forget learning how to deal with the daily harassment from the male species.
3 nights in a cozy hotel with,
75 new Bots 15s
4.5 hrs to the village of
50,000 people for
10 weeks of PST training and
2 buckets for bathing and
120 hours of Setswana…
can only equal:
New life skills,
a great deal of personal and spiritual growth
6 months down and 21 to go…
Happy Anniversary to all the Bots 15 volunteers. We made it this far…so there is no point in turning back now!
See you soon, Go siame!