Tuesday, August 10, 2010

“MORE COWBELL!!!!” 13 July 2010

Today when I was walking home from school I heard a cowbell. Now, this is not unheard of here in Botswana. There are cows all over the place and a lot of them have bells on. Anyways, I didn’t think much of it because I hear it so often so I kept on walking without even turning around; you see one cow you’ve seen them all, right? The cowbell’s dinging started to speed up all of a sudden which caught my attention. I turned around to see the before unseen cow running down the road, directly towards me. I froze and watched it bombarding at me! The noises coming from the crazy cow snapped me back into reality because it was clearly running for its own life with no regard to any innocent bystanders. Therefore I started running myself. Why is it that when people are running from something they run in a straight line? They should clearly run in a zigzag formation to make it harder for the attacker to catch them like I did today. When I looked back I realized the cow had made a right turn into a field and all I saw was the dust it left in its wake and some small children in absolute hysterics. Apparently I, the Lekgoa, looked like an idiot running all over the road. I gave them an ashamed wave and turned to continue walking home only to step in the biggest pile of donkey crap I have ever seen. God does have a sense of humor.

On the same subject of cows, the other day I was walking from the Primary School by myself and I passed a bunch of cows grazing and lounging just off the road. One cow looked up at me and I said out loud, “Sup Dikgomo” with a head nod in their direction. ‘Dikgomo’ means ‘Cows’ in Setswana…don’t worry I’m well aware I am getting closer and closer to being committed to an insane asylum. I think speaking ‘gangsta’ to cows in a language you barely know is one step away from a straight jacket.

Today my brother and his girlfriend will be arriving back in America from a year in and around China where they were teaching English and traveling. I am so happy they get to be home! It is also a great feeling to know that a year may not in fact seem as long as I thought. It seems like only a couple of months ago I was saying goodbye to them. Maybe it feels a little different because I spent a month with them in China this past October but even that feels like it was yesterday! 23 months to go and I can handle that…right?

Like an idiot I didn’t bring my hair straightener even though all the blogs said to. For some odd reason I decided to bring a curling iron though and let me tell you, it’s great to have 2 choices in hair style: The big frizz ball or the curled up Prom Queen…

I witnessed a goat giving birth to three little goat babies (‘kids’ I guess). I don’t know why people insist on saying childbirth (or animal birth?) is a beautiful thing to see. It is nothing short of the most painful and brutal thing to ever cross my sight! The babies were so cute though. They couldn’t quite stand and were just wobbling until they decided to sit in the sun and rest. Adorable.

A teacher asked where I was from today. When I said the United States she said, “Oh, my cousin is in America.” When I asked what state she replied, “Belize.” Hmmmmm…

“Water, water everywhere yet not a drop to drink.” 20 July 2010

By ‘water’ I mean men and by ‘not a drop to drink’ I mean I’d rather go thirsty. Boy does that water look good though. I think Tyra Banks should come to Botswana and have “Botswana’s Next Top Male Model” because she would have plenty of gorgeous men to choose from…too bad most of them just seem to stare directly into your soul and try and will all your clothes off, or ask you to be their wife, or ask to come ‘check you’ which I don’t even need to explain. Men all over the world probably think the same when it comes to the matter of women and what they want to do to them, but here the men seem to have this crazy confidence that allows them to actually SAY what’s on their mind…let me tell you it gets tiring.

It is starting to get warmer during the day here. I am scared. Coming from New England I know what hot is, but normally you can always find refuge in an air-conditioned house or car. Or, even better you can jump in a pool or the ocean and cool off. Here there is minimal hope for any of those luxuries. On top of that, the mode of transportation is bus or khombi. On either of these you feel like a bunch of sardines and there is always someone who smells like they haven’t ever used a stick of deodorant in their lives. Sweaty, smelly sardines…if sardines weren’t already smelly enough.

A few neighborhood kids came over my house the other day. I taught them how to play a few card games: Spoons, Old Maid, Memory and Slap Jack. We had a blast but the best part was I decided to put on some music. I chose Michael Jackson which the kids proceeded to dance just like the King of Pop himself, it was fantastic. I think next time I will have to get a video of it because they were actually really good! Mini- Michaels! They also love Beyonce and knew the ‘Single Ladies’ dance by heart, brilliant.

~This is going to be completely random and unrelated to my experience in Peace Corps but I just have to ask because I was watching a movie the other night and was bothered by it: Why is it that in movies and on TV everyone always knows how to dance? “Would you like to dance?” One character will say to their date. “Oh no, I’m not a good dancer.” The date will answer, most likely blushing. “But I insist.” He or She will playfully beg as they take each others hand. They enter the dance floor and start dancing better then trained dancers themselves whether it is the salsa, tango or a form of swing. I hate that. I really, really hate that. Ok, that’s my little rant for the day.

~I had my first hard boiled egg ever. Oh how Peace Corps has opened my eyes.

22 July 2010

~This morning, just to spice up my daily routine, I added Bran Flakes AND Cheerios together. My excitement for the creation was way better than my appreciation for the taste.

I just finished washing 42 articles of clothing by hand. Let me tell you, it is not fun. Mainly because I had to wash my whites first with hot water which is a process and then washing the darks in cold water but having to change the water several times because of the running colors and dirty water. Next time you are all tossing your load of laundry into the washing machine and pressing start, think of Dintle bent over in the bathroom scrubbing out stains and dirt one by one. Now I wait for them to dry in the African sun, who needs a dryer? This is life at its best!

28 July 2010

Walking home I passed a child playing with a tire which is the most popular form of playing I may add. He said, “Good, how are you?” I said, “Good, how are you?” and he answered, “Hello.” Sometimes the little things make my day, even if those little things are laughing to myself at a 5 year old who can’t speak English properly…but the reason I’m allowed to get a laugh out of his lack of knowledge is because daily I am laughed at (to my face I may add) at the terrible use of my Setswana. At least I kept my laughter hidden.

~I am down to my last razor cartridge. I refuse to buy a 4 pack of Venus razors for 150 pula (We are only paid about 60 pula per day) so I am holding out for a package from friends. This should be rather interesting, and hairy…

~I can now add lizards and beetles to the insects that are taking over my house, and it’s not even bug season yet! There’s one lizard or gecko that lives in my bathroom and often scares me by scattering from behind the sink to behind the toilet. I’ve come close to a heart attack when he does that. I say ‘he’ because I’ve named him Peter. I thought Peter and I had an understanding that he needs to stay behind the sink or toilet while I bath or brush my teeth but apparently not. I’m not afraid that Peter or any of the other lizards (nameless at this point) will hurt me. It’s the Flatsies that scare me. What’s a ‘flatsy’ you ask? Well, a flatsy is a spider that haunts my every waking moment here. They can be small or freaking HUGE and they stay flat against the wall with their creepy eight legs protruding out of their bodies, hence the name flatsies. With a normal spider you could hit it with a shoe and it would die. With a flatsy you can’t even move fast enough to hit it. A flatsy is so smart that it knows what you’re thinking. It zigzags as fast as a bullet when you try to kill it making it nearly impossible to kill. Today I bought “Doom” which is an insect killer and once one of those flatsies shows itself I am going to doom the hell out of it. However, I have heard horror stories that even “Doom” can’t end their reign. We’ll see flatsies, we’ll see.

29 July 2010

~THIS JUST IN: I KILLED A FLATSY!!!!!!!!!!! Is it sad that this rivals the time I read that students raps as the best thing that has happened to me yet? Man that was amazing! I may have used ¼ of the can of “DOOM” but what the hell, victory is mine Flatsy! SUCKA

2 August 2010

On Saturday the 31 of July I was invited to a Teen Club meeting in Gaborone with a few other volunteers. The Teen Club is a club strictly for teenagers who are HIV positive. When we got there I was both saddened and amazed by the children. Though they are HIV positive they do not seem to let it take over their lives, they continue to be children and smile, laugh and play. I believe a lot of the reasons they are able to accept their status and go on in a positive manner are because of the amazing people who work at the Baylor Clinic and the Teen Club that they are able to be a part of. The clinic is a pediatric center and mainly does work with children living with HIV/AIDS. It’s hard for me to imagine being so young and having HIV. Most of the children in the program contracted the virus through their parents so though it is sad when ANYONE contracts the virus, it is extra hard to learn that most of these younger teenagers had no control and played no role in their outcome whatsoever. However, their strength, happiness and ability to just be children is incredible. Of course they have stress and they don’t always understand but I have faith that if they continue in this club with the great people who help out they will strive! The club takes place the last Saturday of each month so I am going to do my best to attend them when I can. I feel in love with the children, the staff of Baylor and the other volunteers immediately.

Today was a marvelous day. Two Bots 8 volunteers and I went shopping with raised money to buy books and other little things for the center that helps with Orphans and Vulnerable Children. The money was raised by students at a private school in Gaborone by picking up litter to help the environment and knowing that the money would go to a literacy project for the less fortunate. We all took a bus to the OVC center and brought over 120 books, some mats and pillows, a rug and a table to create a book corner. The private school students read books with the orphans for a bit while we put together the corner. We were unable to finish it all today but will be back later this week to put the final touches on the room. The children were so excited to see the new and donated books that were brought for them.

~The other night I took a hot shower for the first time since our orientation at The Big 5 Lodge in mid- April. Just when I was getting used to freezing cold showers that literally take my breath away I was teased with this luxury. Oh the finer things in life.

5 August 2010

News of a volunteer in our group being transferred to Mali was a shock and quite saddening. We don’t even get to say goodbye to people when they leave. So far two have ET’d (Early termination), two have resigned but remain in country pursuing jobs and now this latest one being transferred. At first I was a bit envious that the others quit, were let go or were transferred because they got to go home. But now, even though it is hard and I miss home I am in it to stay. It is very scary knowing that this will be my life for two years. However, the relationships I am making within the community feel as though they are long-lasting and genuine. That of course doesn’t mean my stalker neighbor. He’s just annoying and his “I miss you”, “you’re my only friend” and “sometimes men kill women for not loving them and it’s ok because it’s how they feel” is just ridiculous. Don’t get too scared for me, I think he’s just lonely…but of course those could be the last words I write because he could be outside my window ready to cut out my heart and devour it to make us one. Was that a little overboard? In all seriousness, I don’t feel threatened by him; he has the maturity of a 12 year old. I think I wrote about him before…he thinks he predicts the future through his dreams…so if he tells me he had a dream he might kill me then I’ll get scared. Still a little overboard? Sorry, I’m having fun with my own silly scenarios.

6 August 2010

~Another Flatsy dead! This time it was a baby Flatsy, but don’t let its perceived innocence blind you from its evil ways. I almost killed Princess Lilly in the process (another lizard I have decided to name) because I didn’t know she was behind the mop head. I would have been saddened by her loss if it had occurred but equally grossed out if I had to pick up her dead lizard body. And I met King Tut today. He is a very large lizard who also lives in my bathroom. He has yellow stripes on his body. With my luck these lizards are poisonous and here I am making light of my infestation.

Yes, that is all I want to write about today…if you have any problems with that then you can fly to Botswana and take it up with me…but bring some bug killer, would ya? The good stuff.

That's all for now! Inservice training this Sunday for two weeks!