Saturday, July 10, 2010

“I’m half alive, but I feel mostly dead” 5 July 2010

I can’t grasp how I will be able to do much good when the majority of the people I work with seem to have no passion for what they do. Today I came close to having a regretful freak out. Thankfully I decided to just walk out of the office and go home to just breathe. Maybe I shouldn’t even be writing an entry right now because I am so overwhelmed, frustrated and angry. My job here will no doubt be trying to show these teachers that the kids need them, that they themselves NEED to go to class and stop bullshitting around and TEACH the students, and that I am NOT here to do their jobs FOR them! I hate that realization more than anything. However, I can’t place blame on them, it’s just how they are and I know many teachers back in the States are just as bad. Of course not all of them are that way and some love the students and understand that education is key BUT that amount of people that show they care are far and few between. Right now I feel like I’m dealing with leeches that had no intention to suck the life out of me but have drained me to my last drop. I need the strength to get up, be strong and come back with a better attitude and a plan. That plan needs to come fast and that better attitude seems way too far off in the distance.

What a difference 48 hours makes. 7 July 2010

Well, well, well. I don’t think I stopped smiling yet today. Granted it’s only about 2pm but it has been a great day. I went to school with a whole new outlook on things thanks to an impromptu meeting that all the Life Skills volunteers had yesterday with Jane, the head of The Ministry of Education. I was able to tell everyone the concerns I was having and listen to theirs. We all have incredibly different experiences and I got great advice. My biggest concern had been the “sustainability” aspect of our service. I had been so hung up on thinking I couldn’t do anything at the school by myself but I was told that everything positive I do, whether or not I have a teacher with me will be setting a great example for the students and teachers. Now I know I can go into a classroom with the students and if I am by myself at least the students will be benefitting and learning while the teachers possibly recognize that being responsible means going to your class. Maybe the passion I bring to class will show others they need to step up their game or change professions. So, I went to school today with a new mission; Do it Dintle. The day started off with me telling my counterpart what I plan on doing and how excited I am now that I have new insight. We took a trip into the village to go and speak with a couple of students that haven’t showed up in quite a long time. Seeing these kids out of school and lounging around their houses made me sad. We all hated school when we were younger but the difference is most of us had parents or someone who cared about us telling us to suck it up and get to school. These kids seemed to be living with their families who almost pretended to be concerned that they weren’t going to school but at the same time sitting there with them. Both kids said that they’d come to school the next day and though I don’t believe they will I hope that they do.

Something else happened today that has both made me excited for tomorrow and terrified at the same time. A Form 3 student (15 yrs old maybe) came into the office and shyly asked me if he could have a counseling session with me. Of course, though I have no experience as a guidance counselor I happily said yes because even though I don’t know what I’m doing it’s my job. I am nervous I won’t know what to say to whatever issue he is having. I can’t even imagine what it is about…school work, teacher issues, home issues, sex, drugs, etc but I hope just listening and giving the best advice I can give will help him and allow him to trust me. It’s somewhat weird because this student clearly didn’t want to speak with my counterpart, the actual guidance counselor, so I wonder what is on his mind and what my counterpart thinks of it as well. Either way I have to report back to her anyways so I hope it’s not something too extreme or if it is I hope I can handle it.

I hope my feeling of happiness is not temporary. I would love to enjoy going to work everyday and smiling and laughing because I don’t know if I would come home the same person if I was as sad and frustrated as I have been.

Here comes another one of my random thought streams:

~ I’m back on the peanut butter train. I know I said in an earlier blog that I would never touch the stuff again but I felt I could hop back on because we had parted for a solid month. Making a sandwich reminds me of my Mom because whenever she made us all sandwiches when we were younger she would draw a heart in the peanut butter with the knife before she put on the other slice of bread. At home whenever I would make one for my brothers or sisters I would do the same and here I find myself doing it even if it’s my own sandwich. It’s one of those silly things that makes you feel good and being so far away from everyone I love it just seems right. Love you Mom.

~I really need to learn how to cook and learn what to buy because the amount of carbs I’ve been eating can’t be good. I tend to eat yogurt with granola or cereal every morning, then for lunch it’s usually a grilled cheese or rice and this vegetable soup-gravy and then for dinner it’s pasta and garlic sauce. I mean, they all taste great but it’s not good for me. Here, there are fresh vegetables available but it’s hard to know what to buy and what will stay fresh for how long. Plus, to get those vegetables I would have to take two separate khombi’s one way just to get them. Living by yourself you quickly realize that you don’t eat a lot of certain things and more of others. I have carrots and apples in the fridge and I occasionally grab one and I have these vegetarian chicken patties that I eat every now and then but not as much as I should I guess. I would LOVE some broccoli and an orange or banana every now and then but I don’t want to waste food and money if I buy them and they go rotten. Hmmmm, I have some Julia Child kind of thinking to do.

~I found out the other day to my great disappointment that during the long 9 months of summer here my freezing cold shower won’t help because the sun will constantly be heating up the pipes. So, in the winter I take a freezing cold shower and in the summer it will be nice and toasty, crud.

~Watching The X-files in the dark when you’re alone in Africa is a terrifyingly awesome experience.

~I want to learn to play the guitar here. If you’re lucky you can find a small (kind of ghetto) guitar here in one of the China shops for around 260 pula which is about 45 U.S. dollars. All I would need is some sort of “teach yourself” book and a lot of time…I have tons of time so that’s not a problem.

9 July 2010

I am still feeling like I’m riding the happy train. Ok, I apologize fully for my previous sentence. I guess I could just erase it but that wouldn’t show you how weird I am now would it? Most of you already know that fact about me anyways…

Yesterday I had a guidance counseling session with that student I wrote about. It was good. I won’t lie; I felt a little awkward sitting behind my guidance counselor’s desk trying to give him advice when I feel like a kid myself most of the time. This student, who was 16 I found out, was worried about his marks (grades for us Americans) slipping because he can’t seem to concentrate or retain information. At first I thought, ‘this is easy, I can talk to him about school stress no problem’ but it didn’t take long for him to tell me what was really bothering him. He told me about how depressed he’s been feeling for almost a year, he doesn’t want to hang out with friends or do the things he used to love. ‘Shit’ I thought to myself, I’m definitely not qualified for the deep stuff. However I felt all I could do was be honest and we talked for about an hour about things he could do to start feeling better. He said he used to write raps and rap often and he hasn’t been doing that. I gave him paper and told him I wanted him to start writing down his feelings over the weekend and maybe even turn it into a rap. He actually got excited and told me he wanted to show it to me when he was done. I honestly don’t know if I told him all the right things, especially when he said he thinks about sex a lot and it is hard to go near girls or concentrate. That was a shock; I wish I could go back in time and see the look on my face. Hopefully I kept it together and I didn’t look like a deer in headlights. I gave him the best advice I could; that thinking about sex, especially at 16, is completely normal and he shouldn’t be worried about that at all. Most of the children here in Botswana don’t know enough facts about sex and adolescence in general so it was good to give him some guidance that I don’t think he has heard too often. He also lives with a teacher on the compound because his parents aren’t around (whatever that means) so I felt like he saw me as someone he could trust and talk to which was fine with me. I hope I helped! Man oh man. And that only took me to 7:50 a.m.

Later in the day we had a class. I won’t explain how it went I will just give you a snippet of the conversation:

Guidance teacher: “What are some ways boys can control their sexual feelings especially when they get an erection?”

Male student: “Exercise!”

Guidance teacher: “Good, good, go for a run and if your little brother asks you why you’re running around the yard just say, ‘I’m exercizingggggg to control my feelingssssss!!!!!’” Of course there were some giggles, including from me. She then proceeded to say, “Miss Duggan will you tell the class another way the boys can control their feelings and erections?”

Miss. Dintle Duggan: “Well…they could masturbate…”

Guidance Teacher: “YES!!!! YES!!! Touch yourselves, pleasure yourselves! Release your sperms! Even girls, you can touch your private parts too!”

Female students in unison: “HOW!!?? How?!!!!”

Guidance teacher: “By massaging your clitoris, don’t be afraid. You will release the pleasure. It’s good, it’s good. And boys you will feel tired afterwards. In fact, don’t fall asleep in class; you will wake up with an erection!”

Saved by the bell, but maybe not soon enough…

I don’t think I’m even going to write a comment, it speaks for itself. All I’ll say is this: My future consists of erections, sperm, wet dreams, growing breasts, menstruation, and giggles. Jealous?

That evening I had a meeting with a Bots 8 volunteer and a teacher from my school who are working on getting a grant for the Reneetswe Happy Home Care Centre which is an organization that helps OVC’s (Orphans and Vulnerable Children). It was so great to see the change that is happening there. Father Tshiamo, the priest who is also working on the project is full of hope for these children and it was inspiring to see all of them so passionate about the cause. I am going to start being a part of the plan as well so I will be able to help keep the ties between Peace Corps and the Batswana at the centre going once the other volunteer leaves in a year. The OVC’s need the grant so they can fund the income generating projects so they can make money to buy food, get petrol for transportation, and be able to learn necessary skills. The project is extremely important and I am excited to be a part of such a great cause.

~Crickets, Ants and Spiders, OH MY! I will only write 7 words pertaining to this issue: GET THE F OUT OF MY HOUSE!

Have you ever heard someone say, “My heart is full.”? Well, unfortunately not only have I heard it before but I have been a user of the phrase. It wasn’t until today that I actually felt it. I know, I know, I’m a total cheese-ball! The boy I had a counseling session with came into the office with a friend and had the biggest smile I have ever seen on his face. He handed me a stapled packet of papers and said he wrote what he was feeling like I said to and put the words into raps. He wanted me to read them then and there. I was absolutely amazed while I was reading his words. The raps he wrote had to do with sex, feeling abandoned, not being able to concentrate and other thoughts. Reading them made me feel like I may have a place here after all, not so much with the teachers but the students, which is what I prefer anyways. His feelings were clear and touching and made me happy he was able to get them out in a healthy way. Some of his words were intense and I can tell he’s going through a lot of painful things but just expressing himself in the beautiful way he did was a fantastic start. He told me that he feels more confident and more like his old self now that he spoke to me and started writing again. His smile was infectious. I went to class later with happiness that soared through me like crazy! I hope I remember days like this when the hard ones creep back in.

Sunday, July 4, 2010's A LOT of BLOG

So…I haven’t been able to access internet for quite sometime so I decided to start a continuous document so I don’t forget to tell y’all anything when I finally can blog. It will no doubt be long! Gotta love flash drives and copy and paste, huh?

Life is a Rollercoaster… 15 June 2010
I know I have mentioned before the emotional rollercoaster that one can go through being secluded and so far away from home. Today, my second day at work, I had one of those rollercoaster days. I was sitting in the guidance office at school which I guess I should get used to calling MY office, and I was thinking, “Why am I here?” Mostly because I was bored out of my mind! I have to arrive at school at 6:50 and I am a co-teacher with the guidance counselor. That basically means that once, maybe twice a day she has a “Life Skills” class and they last a whopping 40 minutes, that is if she shows up to class on time. Don’t get me wrong I think my Counterpart (the guidance counselor) is one of the sweetest people I’ve met here but a lot of Batswana tend to be late for things and walk real, real slow. Class is important to her but teachers tend to show up late and sometimes not at all. Thankfully the students behave well unattended for the most part. I will have to get used to this weird schedule quickly or I may go insane.
Anyways, the reason I had a “why am I here?” thought is because the classes my counterpart taught were great and the kids seemed to understand and grasp what she was saying. The Life Skills theme for the week is Sexuality so you can imagine the trouble I thought she’d have when teaching 13, 14 and 15 year olds about menstruation, wet dreams and homosexuality (which is illegal here in Botswana by the way) But the kids gave great answers and although there were some giggling moments those were expected…I mean I had to hold in a few giggling fits myself when she said things like, “Girls, if a classmate gets an erection, support him, don’t laugh…and don’t touch it!”
The class went well even for its briefness and the children seemed to benefit and this was all while I was just observing like I will be doing for the next couple of months. I felt a little unneeded and concerned about if Botswana was really my “Peace Corps” dream after all. Will I feel like I’m helping at all? Will I make any needed changes? Am I even one bit useful besides being a new face to stare at? Of course that was my downer moment on this rollercoaster ride.
On the way home I had to stop in the General Dealer to pick up a loaf of bread and some Chakalaka (you may be thinking, what the hell is Chakalaka? Well, it’s delicious! I don’t think it’s in the States…) and the sun was setting in front of me. I couldn’t help but think to myself, “Mary, you made it to Africa; this has been your dream since you were 13.” It made me feel good despite the feelings I had earlier and I tried to rationalize that maybe I needed to give the school, the teachers and the students a second glance because maybe it’s not as good as it seems. I wasn’t thinking about going home but I was definitely missing my family very much and prayed for some sort of sign. Later that night I got a call from my brother Jimmy in China who I haven’t talked to in almost 3 months, I almost didn’t pick up because I didn’t know the number but at the last minute I did. Hearing from him was definitely the comforting sign I needed at that moment. We talked about his plans to visit me after I’ve been here a while and he told me how strong he knows I am, which at the time I wasn’t feeling all that strong anymore. That was my rollercoaster ‘up’ moment.
I still don’t know exactly my game plan for how I am going to begin my service here. I know these first few months will be very emotional and difficult but I can only hope that something will inspire me and little things will need my fixing. I guess I am lucky to see that the students seem to grasp certain concepts but at the same time I need to figure out if they are just regurgitating facts that have been jammed in their brains or if they actually understand it. My role here is behavior change, which is a pretty difficult thing to grasp with no formal training. How will I know if they understand what we’re teaching them? If we are not there when they are wrestling with if they should have transactional sex for a cell phone or if it’s ok to tell their Uncle to stop molesting them, etc then how do we gauge? I want to empower them, I HAVE to empower them or I’ve failed. I guess on some level I know what it would feel like to be a parent, constantly wondering if your kids are going to make the right choices in life. It’s tough to wrestle with myself but something that keeps me here is knowing that what if I weren’t going to be here for the next 2 years? How many lives would I miss helping? How many of these kids would slip through the cracks? In a way, as hard as that is, I know it’s better to not see the change if it’s happening rather than not trying to change things because I know I won’t see it. Along with teaching the students, an equally challenging obstacle if not more will be with the teachers. Gaining their trust and helping guide them to love their jobs instead of praying for a transfer. I’ll have to be patient. I never realized how impatient I actually am. I bet my family and friends could have told me that would have been a problem of mine;)
My Peace Corps service won’t be 2 years filled with praise and recognizable changes, they will happen over time and some I won’t ever get to see…that is where my heart sinks a little bit. However, I hope my time here is not wasted and that one day, even if I’m old and gray, I will be able to say I was a part of a team who helped stop the spread of HIV.
I hope kids here in Africa will one day say, “Mom, what was AIDS?” as if it was some terrible disease that was only a part of history. One can only hope…

Change will come, it just has to. 17 June 2010
Here at the school there are announcements that take place every MWF and students sometimes get up in front of everyone and read what the theme for the week is i.e. Sexual harassment, peer pressure and they give a short summary and/or definition. I have seen two students on different days get up and read something, and both times a teacher got up after them and basically insulted them. The teachers have said how the student fumbled over their words or that they mispronounced things and that they should do a better job. Now, keep in mind that they have to read everything in English which is their second or third language. The strangest part is that the teachers are not saying these things to embarrass the students and the students don’t seem to feel insulted because it’s just a matter of fact thing. Since I am doing a needs assessment these first few months I of course would love to change this behavior, but it seems like it would be a big struggle. I think Pink Floyd said it best, “Hey, Teacher, leave them kids alone!” However, I have also noticed that it occurs between teachers as well. They are very blunt with each other. In America if a co-worker said, “You really dropped the ball in that meeting” or pointed out to everyone that you sounded stupid while giving a lecture you would no doubt feel terrible , but here it’s just part of the norm…weird, weird, weird.
On another topic, I have a cricket infestation in my bathroom. Ok, I know they are harmless but they freak me out…they come out of my sink drain and their antennas are just freaky! I haven’t killed any yet because I just don’t have the heart but I don’t know how long that will last. They are loud and annoying and chirp, chirp, chirp all night. I fear if I kill one then the others will join forces and kill me in my sleep. I also decided to keep all the spiders alive and their webs unharmed, I’d like to think it’s because I know they’ll kill the mosquitoes but another part of me fears their retaliation. Yes…Africa is making me crazy.

It’s days like these that remind me the Devil is real and he loves to see pain. 18 June 2010
Today was bad. I witnessed my first stint of Corporal Punishment. I knew it was only a matter of time before I did but I hoped I would delay its arrival. Actually the first time was in the morning when I was sitting in my office with the guidance counselor. I heard a dreadful noise coming from outside the office. It sounded like someone was using a textbook to kill a fly on the wall as hard as they could. Of course I knew that wasn’t going on. The guidance counselor must have seen the horrified look on my face because she said, “That’s corporal punishment” to which all I could say was, “Oh…” with my mouth hanging open. The teachers are allowed to punish the students with a certain size stick, I don’t know the exact length and width. I see teachers walking around with homemade ones, from a tree branch, etc. For the most part I think it’s just an intimidation factor but I haven’t been here long enough to figure that out. The punishments are supposed to be supervised and I believe the whips/whacks can only happen on the palms or buttocks but I’m not completely sure. The sound I have heard twice from the office of the Deputy Head who administers the punishment is loud and atrocious! The second time I heard it I was alone in the office and I didn’t even realize I had stopped breathing momentarily until I gasped for a breath. It is a horrible, horrible sound and I actually got so nauseous I thought I would be sick.
In the afternoon I got a shock. I was walking with a teacher and we stopped in front of a classroom where students were doing work silently. The teacher got so mad that (even though they were behaving) they were doing their homework when they should be doing it at home. Granted, the kids are left alone so often that I almost thought she was going to praise them for working even though they could have been talking and misbehaving. Boy was I wrong. She started yelling at them in half English half Setswana to get out of the room and “How could you all be doing this when you know you’re not supposed to! Do it on your own time, NOT MY TIME!” The students started to file out without looking threatened or even bothered by her outburst. I am thinking it happens often because they did not seem phased at all. She stopped one student and asked him something in Setswana and apparently she didn’t like the answer so she hit him in the face. He backed up and she walked towards him again and hit him hard two more times in the face and then proceeded to push in down into some desks. The other kids just watched or went about their business; their expressions emotionless. The student got up and just waited for her to be done yelling. I was frozen. We are told not to bother picking any battles when it comes to how the students are punished. I am wrestling with how to deal with it. I’ve said to some teachers already that I don’t agree with it when it has come up in conversation (before I had even seen any) but they seem to laugh and say that I just don’t understand because it’s the only thing that will work OR that they survived it in school and they turned out fine so there’s no harm in it. It’s a battle I know I can’t fight the way I would want to because I would lose but it’s not a battle that I am going to run away from either. I have a lot to think about when it comes to how I express my concerns. The worst part is that my school is gentle compared to a lot of other schools. I have only heard a total of 5 whacks through a door and witnessed one (though it was uncalled for and horrific) physical encounter. I have heard horror stories from volunteers who have been here for a year or two already and have been told that some beatings which are not done properly lead to unconsciousness, hospital visits and blood spattered walls and floors. If this is a test of strength for me well hell, I don’t want any more tests.
To top off my terrible day I had some news from home that crushed me. I know everything will be ok but it is so hard being here when all I want to do is be home to help when my family goes through hard times, in actuality I want them all around so they can help me too. I am so glad that I am able to talk to them on the phone every once in a while but hearing that they are going through something makes me want to be there more than anything. However, I know that they are strong without me. There is nothing for me at home anyways in a career sense and though I haven’t felt like there is a place for me here either I know I have to give it a chance, I owe it to myself. Life surely knows how to suck sometimes.

When things aren’t happening, make them happen! 21 June 2010
I decided to go on an adventure today. My counterpart had to go to Gaborone for a family issue so I had a choice, awkwardly sit in the office all day or go exploring. I chose the latter. I walked to the primary school (about a mile) and loved seeing the younger kids running around and playing! They came to their classroom doors to wave at me and announce to everyone else that there was a “Lekgowa”(White person/foreigner) coming. I spoke to a few teachers and asked how I could be of help to them over my 2 years here. They mentioned that running a Christian-based activity for the students could help i.e. knitting, jewelry making, etc. Of course my number one goal for Peace Corps is capacity building and sustainability and if I were to run an activity by myself the kids would have fun but it’s all about making sure when I am gone they are still able to keep whatever I bring to them going. I am interested in helping them but will have to find another teacher to co-facilitate with me so it’s sustainable for the future. Seems simple enough but I’m sure there will be many obstacles. Also, you all know I definitely don’t know how to knit or anything like that so I will have to figure out if I have any creative talents! The kids are young so they do not know English as well as my students at the Junior Secondary School so the language barrier will be difficult for any of the games I know.
After my visit at the school I went to the Clinic to see if I could be of any help for my two year service there. All this is part of my “Needs Assessment” for the first few months. The volunteer before me held some typing classes for the staff in the clinic and the Primary School but since I am not very good with computers I have to find other things I can bring to them. I met with the head nurse and she said I could come whenever I was free and if I wanted I could learn how to weigh the babies, etc. Of course that wouldn’t be a sustainable thing in a certain sense but I know going there and being around people in the village would help me integrate better! I am excited to help at the clinic because the people that go there are not only there for the common cold, etc but they are there to receive ARV’s for HIV/AIDS and it would be a great opportunity to talk with people about those issues. Also, I noticed a lot of young mothers and teenage pregnancy is also an issue here and I’d love to address that as well. Overall it was a good day and I feel like branching out of my school to work on secondary projects will really help with how I’ve been feeling lately.
I still have a lot of hurdles to jump and hills to climb but I am slowly realizing that positivity goes along way for my own mental well being. Easier said then done but I’m not giving up yet!

On to something else. I have a huge gas leak in my house. I have two large propane tanks for my stove and ever since I moved in there has been a tremendous smell. I have a headache all the time and today is bad because I feel really lightheaded. I know I’m stupid for not doing anything sooner but I blame it on stress. Today I will find someone to translate for the landlord so he can attempt to fix it but I already had a few other volunteers over the other night and they had no luck. Ugh. Life.
27, June 2010
The gas leak has not been fixed yet, but I hardly notice it anymore…does that make it safe? No. HAHA I am going to just start somewhat of a stream of thought. Forgive me if there’s no order or sense to it:
~Yesterday I hand washed some clothes along with two pairs of flats. The sand here really makes the shoes gross and dirty fast! So anyways, the shoes were taking longer to dry then the clothes so I left them outside overnight…big mistake. On the compound where I live there are about 15 chickens and a few roosters. They decided, in my opinion, to purposefully crap in my newly scrubbed shoes. What else could I do but laugh really.
~The loneliness I feel daily is ridiculous. It’s not the being alone part, that’s actually relaxing and nice, it’s the missing family and friends part. I can’t explain it but sometimes my heart actually feels like it’s aching inside my chest. During training I never once seriously thought about going home. Here I think about it every 20 minutes. However, this weekend I was able to see some other volunteers and just talking with them made me feel better about being here, mainly because a lot of them are going through the same thing. The best advice I got was from a volunteer named Ashleigh and she told me “just think of these first two months as your time to socialize and just get to know people” which is exactly what we’re supposed to be doing but I never actually sat down and thought of socializing as my ‘job’ for two months. That advice has already helped me yesterday and today. Don’t get me wrong, it sucks trying to awkwardly talk to people who sometimes clearly don’t want to talk to you but for the most part it’s been nice. I am going to really try and stick it out through the hard, awkward parts of my daily routine and wait for the weekends when I can see friends. Of course I know that’s not the healthiest way to go about things but it’s what I need to do now to survive the feelings of isolation. I look forward to the weekends where I WANT to stay in my village and be with the people, but I’m not quite there yet!
~Ok another funny thing I thought I would share is that sometimes Batswana think that people in Peace Corps are spies for the U.S. Government. That’s not the funny part. The funny part is that we are supposed to do everything to not look or act like spies (obviously, how could we act like spies when we’re NOT spies) but anyways, for our needs assessment we have to ask them questions. Some of those questions, after putting some thought into it, seem like questions spies WOULD ask!
~Here’s an example of how some men act in Botswana (it’s a text from my neighbor who I’ve spoken to several times on my way to work.) “Hei hw ar u doin? H’vnt seen u ovr the wiknd, wr u on vacation, aniwy jst chckin on u. M js copin wth lyf. Nd jst MISSIN u, jst wsh I cud c u. Hv a gr8 nite.” I hope you’re able to decipher it haha Anyways, this guy is 24 and though he’s very attractive with washboard abs (he does yard work without a shirt on) he A: is too young B: is my neighbor C: told me he has dreams and sometimes they come true D: told me if we were to get married I would live here because then I would be a Motswana NOT an American anymore and I could visit home a couple times a year (gee, thanks). I have learned these things over two conversations totaling 30 minutes maximum. I also met a guy on the street who said “You must marry me!” and I said “Why?” and he said “Because you are white and white women know how to love and women here only know money.” So much for my hopes in finding a beautiful African man to bring home to good old Duxbury, MA! Haha The men here ARE in fact beautiful and they are kind but like I mentioned in another blog, they are don’t quite understand that just because you’re white doesn’t mean you have money or aren’t a gold digger, are better at sex, are HIV-free, are even nice or any of the other misconceptions they hold. They claim they love you when in reality they lust for you. I will have to teach them the difference ;) haha Kidding
29 June 2010
~Michael Buble sang it best, “I wanna go home, let me go home. I’m just too far from where you are, I wanna go home.” {That’s for you, Emma(} I do want to go home but at the same time don’t worry about me everyone, I take my sarcastic humor wherever I go and it helps me get through the hardest times! Just think back to the chicken pooping in my newly washed shoes and the classroom lectures on wet dreams is enough to keep me laughing and pushing on! If I didn’t love you all so much I’d live here in my misery forever but since I have people to miss I like to think that I am blessed. Just knowing you’re all reading my silly entries and missing me too helps me ALL THE TIME!
~My favorite parts of the day are when I come home and I read a book or turn on music and dance around the house!
~Today, I was sitting in the staff room with the teachers and like usual they were speaking Setswana all around me. I don’t have a problem with that at all, it’s their 1st language and I don’t expect them to speak a less familiar language just because I am there, the only thing is that it’s frustrating to try and integrate when I can’t even follow a conversation. Anyways, I was sitting there with a smile on my face like usual just pretending to feel comfortable and a teacher says, “Dintle, you’re always so quiet and shy.” I just shrugged, smiled and said, “Yeah, I guess but I’ll get better.” What I really wanted to do was scream at the top of my lungs, “WHAT DO YOU EXPECT, I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT THE HELL YOU’RE SAYING!!!!!” That wouldn’t help of course! Situations like that make me a wee bit closer to crossing that line over to insanity.
~I miss a lot of things but one is Camp Wing! I miss everything about it and since CWDC is in its first session I find the want to be there crippling sometimes. I did spend 8 years of my life there so you can imagine. The thought of belly flops during counselor swim, “You screwed up”, Scavenger hunts with the Senior boys, Whitewater Rafting trips, Jim singing ‘Rattlin Bog’, Winkle Picking, Scott Gary (obvs), Extended day when you’re so tired you can’t stop laughing, Poopsies for beers and gossip, The chaos of pick-up, Wesley and his “Mr. Mustache” haha, The Vermont trip, Moo C.O.W.’s, The whale watch field trip, the look and smell of the staff room after about the 3rd session overnight (ewwww). I will even say I miss the staff meetings, the longgggg day after an overnight, cleaning the stage, collecting the Lost and Found and sometimes throwing someone in it or being thrown in, etc, etc. I wish everyone there now the best summer, but don’t have too much fun without me!:)
~Almost every adult male over the age of 21 has at least one kid…not necessarily married.
~I am shooting to come home in April for a couple weeks to visit. How I will afford it I just don’t know but a girl can dream, right?
~Sometimes the sand is so deep I think I am sinking.
~The sunsets and sunrises here are amazing. They are usually a deep red and orange or purple and pink, depending, and the colors spread across the horizon. Who needs street lights when you have a full, bright moon and billions of stars leading your way. However, the moon was no help the other night when I took a HUGE digger when I didn’t see the lip in the side of the road. It was one of those slow motion falls where your arms are flailing and your feet are doing a ‘running man’ motion while you’re making these horrendous ‘whoa, whoa, WHOAAAAAAA!!!!’ noises. How embarrassing. Good thing I was accompanied by an old woman who in her frail, old woman state helped me up and dusted me off in the darkness…perfect.
~My vocabulary has suffered tremendously(not like it was anything spectacular to begin with). I forget easy words, draw huge blanks in conversations, even when I’m crazily taking to myself which has started happening more often. I thought I would have better vocab skills because I’ve been reading A LOT! I’m already 12 books deep here. I’m attempting to pull a Mandy Moore from ‘A Walk to Remember’ and read as many books as I can. OK, her character picked intelligent books from her teachers list whereas I am just reading trashy vampire porno’s and Stephen King novels, but whatevs.
~I’m already planning my trips for when I’ve finished my two year service. It is probably all not plausible but I’m thinking my first stop: Egypt to see those good ole pyramids. Then a cruise (which may consist of me and a row boat)across the Mediterranean to Italy and do a pop over to Spain, Greece and France, basically wherever my little heart takes me. Then a stop in Ireland to see my roots and fellow Irish Homies. Finally, rounding it off in Scotland to see what cliff I’ll be marrying Prince William on. Very doable. Of course none of this is logical. In fact it’s not smart to want to use all my readjustment allowance money from Peace Corps to travel but you only live once! In all honesty I definitely plan to at least see Egypt and hopefully Ireland and Scotland…the others would be an amazing bonus! A girl can dream…especially if that girl has been bathing in a bucket and eating rice and ketchup!

Peace and Love, Dintle