Friday, April 23, 2010

I Think I Can Safely Say That I Have Eaten Every Part of the Chicken

I am finishing out my second week in Botswana and it has been full of highs, lows, new experiences, and great times already.

We spent the first week of training in the capital at a lodge getting acclimated to the country and beginning our language lessons. I really dreaded having to learn a new language before I got here but have really begun to enjoy them. Setswana is not an easy language but the learning becomes easier (and more important) when you use the language to communicate all the time.

I moved in with my host family last week and they have been great so far. They all speak some english (except for my host dad) and so we can still communicate when my Setswana fails me. It is a family of all girls (Dad, Mom, and three daughters), so they gave me the name Mopati (Mo-pah-ti). Mopati translates roughly to "male helper for father," or something like that.

We live in a 3 bedroom house with another two bedroom house right beside it. My family has running water and electricity as well as a gas stove. They live a very modern life and eat dinner every night in front of the TV watching the local news. A major adjustment for me from the US has been getting used to bucket bathing. My family has a tub but limited hot water. I bathe (or bath as they say here) by dumping a bucket of water over my head, soaping up and shampooing, and then dumping another bucket to rinse. I don't really feel clean but I don't smell so I guess it is effective.

The food here has been an adventure but very good for the most part. My family has several chickens, and when they want to eat, they catch one and butcher it. I thought that I would be grossed out by seeing a chicken killed and gutted but it wasn't so bad. (Besides, the roosters start crowing at all hours of the night and wake me. They do not just crow at dawn. I would not be sad to eat more rooster). So far I have eaten chicken feet (yes, the feet), livers, gizzards, heart, and intestines. They offered my the head (which is a very big honor) but I politely refused. My host sister expects me to kills a chicken and clean it at some point so that will make for an interesting post.

This weekend I might go to my family's cattle post to milk cows and slaughter a goat. Should make for intersting pictures.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Botswana (Finally)

After 30 hours of travel, including a 15 hour flight to Africa, I am in Botswana. It is much greener than I imagined it. What can I really say about a 15 hour flight? At times I enjoyed it. South African Airways is great. I slept a little but in total it was a grueling experience.

Botswana so far is beautiful. Time to get some training (and shots).

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Fun in Philly

It is my last day in the US for a while and I am in Philadelphia for training. I saw the Liberty Bell today and enjoyed a real Philly Cheese Steak.

It has been amazing so far and the people in my group are great. There are more than 50 volunteers going to Botswana from all over the "US sand I am amazed at the diversity. It is really unbelievable how much we have in common and it has been great to share "war stories" about the application process. For the first time in months I don't have to validate or explain my intention to join the Peace Corps.

Tomorrow I am getting on a plane to Africa. Dreams do come true.

Friday, April 9, 2010

So Long America, It's Been Fun

I packed my bags and headed out for a day in DC before reporting to staging in Philadelphia. Packing turned out to be a much more involved process than I thought it would be. Even now, I have this nagging feeling that I have forgotten something important. I guess we will find out.

I am off to Philadelphia early tomorrow for a day of orientation and then I leave for Africa on Sunday at 11pm. It is still difficult for me to process the fact that I will be leaving the country for over 2 years. I guess it will hit home when I get on the plane for South Africa.

Africa, here I come....

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

I'm Dreaming of a White Easter...

Snow on April 5th. Ridiculous. (But it did give me a chance to try out the new flip camera... enjoy).