Sunday, May 2, 2010

3 weeks and counting


I am sitting at Lemepe Lodge in Molepolole using my friend Cailtins computer. It is Sunday and they are our only days off. It is beautiful here, we can sit poolside and have a beer if we want. It has been a great escape from our long days at training. Our group is becoming more together and we have learned to laugh at the things that could make us go crazy!

I love being here. It's not as plain and simple as that and there are some MAJOR ups and downs which occur daily but overall it is great! The Batswana are friendly and willing to help give directions or practice Setswana. The culture is incredibly different than Americas (obviously) but there are great opportunities to teach and learn from one another.

Since my last post I have fallen into more of a routine around my house. My sister, Dombo is very helpful in helping me speak with my mother. My brother, who I thought was a teenager is actually 28, so that was an interesting shock! He doesn't speak much at all so I haven't been able to gauge if hie English is strong. My batheing situation is the same but I have gotten used to it (well, as much as I can I guess.) It is hard to get used to standing in a bucket no more than 2 feet long and 1 foot wide and washing yourself. It is VERY hard to wash my hair, I go back and forth daily on if I should just shave it off or not...if it wasn't for fear of having an oddly shaped head I would have done it already!

Next week, from Wednesday to Sunday we will all be traveling to our 'shadowing sites'. That means we will be satying with a current Peace Corps Volunteer and we will live with them and go to work with them. I was lucky enough to be going with another trainee to my shadowing site. Her name is Nicole and she is great so we will no doubt have a great time! Also, we will be staying with someone who we have met before and she is really great as well. Everyone is looking forward to getting out of Molepolole for a change. My shadowing site is about 3 hours away but others have a longer route (up to 14 hours North) and others are not going too far at all. I am extremely excited!

My Malaria medication is fine now. I haven't had much trouble sleeping anymore and no nigtmares or crazy thoughts...I think everyone is about the same as well.

I experienced hand washing my clothes last Sunday and it is quite an experience. My clothes actually got clean and smell nice....that is not to say I like hanging my underwear and bras out for my whole neighborhood to see but you do what you gotta do. That has become my motto actually, "Do what you gotta do". That and " What doesn't kill you only makes you stronger." Words to live by so far!

I walk to and from school everyday! It takes about 45 minutes each way so I have found that I look forward to just being able to walk around after sitting in lectures all day!

The heat is a little much, though I never know what the temperature actually is. It is technically their Autumn here, which worries me because this is their cold season...crap. But maybe I'll get used to it. I've noticed that sweating like a hog is just something I will have to get used to!

I have also been dubbed the sarcastic one here. It's no surprise if you're reading this and you know me that I am completely sarcastic all the time! I make people laugh constantly by telling them about my experiences with my host family (i.e. bucket batheing, eating Bogobe which is this thick porridge, having leprosy sized bug bites, etc) and I think it makes people just feel better.

I do miss everyone, but not as badly as I thought. That is not to say I don't think about everyone constantly and wonder what they're doing or if they miss me, it's just that I have made a close knit family here with all the other trainees and it is a good escape because we are all in the same boat. We've all left loved ones, we all get scared, we all have similar horror stories but also similar happy tales to tell. I know in some way I am in a constant state of shock and that maybe I haven't let certain emotions in yet. That is something I think about a lot. At home I would cry at a commercial or a baby crying but here I have earned a tougher skin. I hear wild dogs killing each other at night and see donkey's with their feet chained together. I see people struggle with having enough food or children who have been beaten in school. I am not immune to it, I just have to accept that here, in Botswana, sometimes life isn't a cushiony as I would like. Also, it is such a non-violent country and people are happy for the most part so you learn to live, not ignoring such things, but not focusing solely on the negative.

I know I've been rambling but I hope I have covered enough points so you all feel like you understand what my life is like here. I am happy most of the time and only sad sometimes. The saddness is normal though so I don't want anyone to worry about me. I look at all my pictures often and I hope to receice some letters from you all soon! I'd love to hear about what is going on!

Love and miss you!


  1. Mary Duggan I am so jealous! I miss you! - Danielle

  2. Danielle, I miss you too!!! I can't wait until I have electricity so I can start watching some x-files haha That is, if I ever get electricity;)

  3. mary! i miss you so! i can hear your voice when i read your blog (not in like a creepy way just in a pleasant blanant way. im glad to see that you are enjoying your time and sorting out everything that needs to be sorted out! i love your mottos and i am so proud of you! thanks for keeping us updated!
    love you boo

  4. Hey lovely lady!! Sounds like an amazing experience. The first few weeks are the toughest, but you're forming great bonds and they'll help you get through the tough times. Love you beb!

  5. Hey its Marybeth. I miss you tons! I hope things are going well! I am excited to stay updated with what you are up to!