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.