Saturday was the host family party. We were up early to set up and decorate the hall where the party was being held, cook for over 100 people, and prepare the entertainment. Amelia, Carolynn, Jeremy, Karen and I sang the Botswana National Anthem and then Karen and I sang The Star Spangled Banner. We think we did pretty well if we do say so ourselves. I know someone took video, so in 2 years when it gets up here, you can be the judge yourself. Until then, just know that we were awesome. Blake and Tija demonstrated some swing dancing and then taught a handful of people from the audience the moves. Some of the host family parents gave speeches, performed poems, sang and prayed. Karen performed with her ukulele, and Carolynn performed Amazing Grace. There was also a dramatic performance of the traditional wedding ceremony. We put on a fashion show that basically consisted of trainees wearing the stupidest looking things that we brought with us to Botswana, to include a fanny pack, headlamps, my awesome travel vest, “elderly athletic wear” (thanks, Tom), a full body mosquito net, socks with sandals, and other such ridiculousness. Then the talented cooking committee served us a delicious meal of mac & cheese, chili, cucumber tomato salad, and Rice Krispies treats. Yum.
After the party, we went to a local café that I’ve never been to before. I had a glass of red wine and a milkshake. Of course I had a milkshake. I went home, did my laundry, washed my hair, thoroughly scrubbed my feet and put on brand new socks that my parents mailed to me. There is nothing better than the feeling of cushy new socks. Overall, a good day.
Yesterday (Sunday), my family got up early to go to a funeral. We went to the family’s home where there was lots of prayer and song. Then we drove to the cemetery for the burial. Afterwards, we went back to the family’s house for food. The funeral was boring because it was all in Setswana and it was very long. We stood listening to the pastor talk for hours. Thankfully, it was not hot and not cold.
I got to talk to Colin briefly and we wished each other a happy 7th anniversary. Our friend Craig was taking him golfing. I was also able to Skype with Lauren and Craig and Evy for a little bit, and my parents and their company at the lake, old friends Bob & Ann.
Yesterday afternoon a bunch of us met at the training center to celebrate Tija’s birthday. There was cake and laughter. Last night we had a Peace Corps party at a local business owner’s home. The family owns a grocery store by the hospital and they love foreign aid workers so they invited us over for a braii (barbecue). A goat was slaughtered and we also had beef and chicken. Everything was delicious, especially the authentic Indian food. I’m having those leftovers today. It’s common practice in Botswana to bring your Tupperware to parties so that you can take as much food as possible. I’m pretty sure that’s why funerals are so popular.
After I got home from the party last night, my family threw me a party. They got a cake, chips, cookies, jello, custard, and a large bottle of Oros (think Tang). We took lots of pictures and they made speeches about how much they love me and will miss me. It was very touching. I’m going to miss having them to take care of me! Amo thinks I’m going to starve in Moleps.
Today is our last day of training. We swear in tomorrow as Peace Corps Volunteers. Wednesday, I’m off to Moleps (though I’m not sure yet how I’m getting there…). It feels like we’ve been here a lot longer than 9 ½ weeks! Let the real work begin.