Sunday, April 18, 2010

I'm here!

So, finally I can blog! You'll have to get used to the fact that I will rarely get to go to an internet cafe in the next 2 months or longer!
I've been here 8 days so I will do my best to remember the highlights:
The plane ride and whole journey to get here was long, tiring and foggy. Once landing in Botswana I felt much better! Especially the people who I will be sharing the next 26 months with!
My birthday will be one to remember for a lifetime! I was made to feel like family!

Orientation was a long and blurry 4 days. We had about 8 hours of Setswana so far and since coming to our host family site I have realized that is NOT enough AT ALL! Everyone has a different host family experience so far...mine is VERY different however!
Most volunteers have running water and electricity but me, nope! I have a nice sized room and a small common area to read and it's where I eat most of my meals which mainly consist of either some sort of potato dish or this nasty porridge which I can never finish. I'll have to get used to it because it is Batswana staple food, ugh.
My host mother can say maybe 10 English words total so I spend most of the day sitting in our front yard in slience....sometimes I point out something and she tells me what the word in Setswana is. It's only been 3 days but if I don't learn more FAST I might go crazy!!!!!
It gets dark around 6 here so having no electricity makes my nights pretty boring and sad. But I live close to a few volunteers so I will most likely go over to theirs and study at night. I also have a host sister who is 17 and a host brother who is a teenager as well I think. They speak English but so far have not been around to help translate. That has been the hardest part. My mother, Evelyn is wonderful and takes great care of me despite the language barrier!

I have had some bad experiences with the malaria medication they put me on but now I feel better. It is called Larium and the side effects are extreme: anything from nausea to suicidal thoughts. I have been lucky to only have trouble sleeping. Others in the group are having worse experiences while others are fine.

Here are just some interesting things:

My Setswana name is Dintle which means 'more beautiful'.

I am already sunburned.

They don't have sliced be grateful for the little things.

My neighbors party into the wee hours of the morning...loud music and singing.

Goats, Donkeys, wild dogs, chickens, and cows EVERYWHERE!

Friendly people who are some of the most beautiful people I have ever seen.

I met a famous Batswana named Sliza who is a singer.

All in all, I am having a humbling, amazing experience! I can't wait for more to come!

You can call me if you want and it will be free for me BUT very expensive for you so get a calling card: 001 267 72627511 OR 00 267 72627511



  1. Wow! I can't even imagine how different it must be over there. Your Setswana name makes sense =P How did you find that out? You should have brought a book light, you could have borrowed mine :) I am definitely going to have to buy a calling card. I am so happy for you Mary and I can't wait until I get to come and visit you and hear all your stories in person. I miss you and love you so so much. Get on those Setswana lesssons! No sliced bread?? Wow I would die haha. Love you!

  2. Mary! This is great, sounds like you are having a great time. We are all putting together your first package!! I see if we can call you from work one day on my calling card to all say hi! Miss you and so happy right now that you are having a great time :)

  3. Hey Mary, Sounds like quite an experience. Can't wait to hear more. So proud of you for doing this. I don't know of many people that would have the cojones to go out there! Most people are afraid of change. Glad to see you're embracing it. Question: Do they have butter to go with that unsliced bread??

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  5. Sliced bread sucks - hunks are where its at. Get some Sliza tunes for karaoke - and if possible, show off them skills. Hang in there with the meds - you'll get used to them. Rock on, Dintle -- and if you can't sleep, meet those neighbors!