*Notes From The Field are weekly blog summaries of life in Botswana as a Peace Corps Volunteer. They are written and published on Sundays.
Notes from the field #2
Monday- August 31st, 2015
What is it about Monday’s? At the beginning of the week shouldn’t your productivity level be at an all time high? This morning started with the normal routine. However while walking to work I wasn’t feeling it. “It” was everything! My work plan today included reading through the Community Capacity Enhancement training manual and working on my Peer Health Educators toolkit. When I arrived at the the office I realized I’d forgotten my usb with the materials. #majorfail
I made a phone call to Skillshare the school at the refugee came that I’ve liaised with to teach the fitness and health classes. I needed to go over some transportation issues with the center manager.
Hmmm what do I do now? The bulk of my work relied on those documents saved on the usb. After about 40 minutes I decided to go back home and retrieve it. When I got to my gate…I decided that it doesn’t make sense to walk all the way back to the office.
For the rest of the morning I read through the training manual and took notes. Once lunchtime came I took a break from the computer screen and made some food.
The rest of the day was pretty uneventful.
Tuesday-September 1st 2015
Another boring day. This morning in the office I realized that my counterpart had requested the venue, wrote the invitations letters and requested the food for the upcoming workshop. We don’t even have people registered yet?!! Now during our discussion last week I thought I would handle the majority of the preparations for this workshop. But seeing as though my counterpart likes to micromanage everything, I wasn’t really surprised. It just leaves me to wonder why would you request the help of a Peace Corps Volunteer in your office, if you don’t really need one?
After leaving work I spent the afternoon working on the Peace Corps Newsletter. I am transitioning into the new role of Editor in Chief, so I am trying to learn as much as possible before the current editor returns home.
Wednesday- September 2nd 2015
In the office this morning I spent the bulk of my time planning the women’s sector meeting. Since arriving to my site in October (2014) this is one of the project I’ve been working on that just won’t stick. Supposedly there is a committee of women in my town that meet to plan programs and activities to bring together the women and girls in the community. In November( 2014) I asked around and found the number for the current chair. I spoke with her on the phone and explained that I am here to assist with anything they needed help with for the next two years. Though she was very receptive during our phone conversation, I never heard from her afterwards. I reached out again in December when we were planning World AIDS Day activities and that was a flop as well.
They say any group/department/country is only as great as their leader. Well almost a year has past and not one meeting has been planned for the women’s sector.
I reconnected with the chair again in July and worked with her for about five or six weeks to plan the first meeting. About two weeks ago after not hearing back from her regarding the action items she had to complete I sent her and email. I told her I was basically checking in and let her know if she needed help to just ask. She sent an email response telling me to plan the meeting and to call all the people on the the list I gave her (these were two of her action items). Ok…I’ll plan the meeting even though this is what I was trying to stay away from with this group. If the functioning of this group is going to continue once I leave then it’s imperative that the members take the initiative themselves to move forward. But in this instance I planned the meeting because it would have never happened if I didn’t. I spoke with about 11 women who said they will attend the meeting.
We shall see who actually shows up…
Thursday- September 3rd, 2015
I went into the office in the morning and then left to do a few errands. One of which was heading down to the town hall to pay my waste management fee. Everyone in the township now has to pay 11 pula a month for the collection of rubbish. I was actually surprised that they weren’t collecting money from the community all these years.
As I walked to the town council from our office I snacked on manoko. Manoko is the setswana word for peanuts. You can get then roasted, shelled or unshelled from the ladies at the vegetable stand. The hot sun beamed on and burned my skin as I walked down the street. There is something so mediative about walking and cracking nuts. Don’t you think? Haha no? It’s just me? OK 🙂
This afternoon was very windy and the skies were actually grey. Earlier in the week I remember thinking how it may be nice to live in London and experience grey skies and rain every now and then. We haven’t had rain in my township in about 10 months. Just blue skies and sunshine.
Friday-September 4th, 2015
Today in the office I spent the entire morning writing the outline for the Peer Health Educators toolkit that I am creating. After work I headed over to the HIV/AIDS resource center to prepare for the women’s sector meeting at 4:30pm. Myself and another lady waited until 5p.m. for others to show. She decided to leave and when I walked her outside the committee chair was parking her car. The chair explained that she wasn’t staying and only came to tell me that she wasn’t staying because she had another meeting.
As you can imagine, I had no words.
Another lady came as we were standing outside. They started telling me when to plan a better meeting time. I told them since they are all standing there (with the chair) talk amongst yourselves and choose a time for next week. They chose Tuesday at 3:30pm. I locked the door to the center and headed home. Another meeting to add to my #PCfails list.
I could hardly sleep during the night because the wind was so loud and boisterous against my aluminum roof. Thunder roared for several minutes and then it rained! Yay! Eventually I fell asleep to the sound of the rain but woke up multiple times. Saturday I am attending a wedding for a returned Peace Corps Volunteer that use to work in my office.
Saturday- September 5th, 2015
This morning I am to leave on the 6:30am combi to town to meet some friends for the wedding. But the torrential downpour continued until about 7am. There was no electricity so no way to inform the others of the late start. We planned on meeting at 8:30 am and then traveling together. We met up at 11am and arrived to the wedding at 2p.m.
It was so much fun to watch. I took video and may add a link to this post later with the video. But it will mostly likely be private and for those that are signed up to the my newsletter.
Weddings in Botswana are hard to explain. It’s better to experience one in person or watch a video 🙂
I ended up staying the night in the village of the wedding. Half of my office was there and one of the ladies has a house there. I slept on a mattress on the floor and that was probably one of the most comfortable mattresses I’ve slept on here.
Sunday- September 6th, 2015
Myself and the two women I stayed with got up and ready at 7 a.m. We stopped by the house of the groom & bride to say goodbye. They also cut the cake while we were there. It was a nice end to the weekend.
The rest of the morning was spent traveling back to my site. Once I arrived home I took a bath and passed out in my bed.
How was your week? Let me know in the comments below.