I am sitting at Lemepe Lodge listening to Buckcherry (shout out to Emily) while the internet is down here as usual in Botswana. Fortunately I am on Microsoft Word writing a blog surrounded by good friends. It has been 7 long weeks but as I reflect I realize that it has in fact flown by. On Friday June 11th I will be leaving my new family here and heading out to my site for 2.5 months in a ‘lockdown’ type visit. We have all grown so close and in some ways depend on one another and now we have to leave each other. The feelings I have are mixed and hard. I am excited to go to my new home for the next to years and meet Batswana in my village and get my job started. On the other hand I am sad to leave the people who have been with me for the experience I cannot share with anyone but them.
Lockdown will be extremely hard. We are not allowed to leave our sites to visit each other for the first, most important months so we can integrate ourselves into our new communities. Being surrounded by 56 other Americans for 7 weeks and then alone for another 8 weeks will be my biggest challenge yet. I look forward to the challenge to a certain degree but also do not look forward to the loneliness I will feel. At least I will be busy at my school and decorating my home and meeting other people. I plan on getting a tutor and hopefully improving my Setswana…which needs a lot of help ;) Bring it on Botswana!
I found out last night after talking on the phone to my parents and Nora and Amy that my little nephew Keiran has teeth now! I am sad to be missing his growth spurts but hearing his baby jibber-jabber over the phone was great! He will turn 1 in July and I can’t believe his first year is going by so fast! Even scarier, Emma will be turning 20 this month! No more teenagers in the house! Crazy! One of my favorite holidays is 4th of July and I will be very sad that I will miss the annual barbeque at My Aunt and UnclesL I hope the rockets that are sent this year are recovered and some good pictures get taken! There’s nothing like hockey puck hamburgers and hotdogs and family volleyball games…Have fun everyone!
Thursday June 11th we will be officially sworn in as Peace Corps Volunteers. It is a big event and I am excited! My host Mother made me a traditional skirt and she said I am now a true Motswana women! I am even going to miss bathing in a bucket and reading by candlelight. Don’t get me wrong I won’t miss it too much, but I know the experience has changed my outlook on life. I now know how all those foreign exchange students felt…freaking awkward 24/7, but at the same time amazing!
Yesterday we had a Thank You Party for our Host Families which was great! My brother was the only one that was able to make it but he is really shy and when I screamed his name he was so happy! Two other trainees asked me if I would sing a song with them as part of a little talent show that we had. It was called, “Down by the River” I think from the movie “O Brother Where Art Thou” and we sang it Acapella. Julie, you’d be proudJ Oh, and BTV (Botswana Television) was filming the whole thing so if there’s a way for smart people who are good at searching for things online you may be able to find it and watch it.