Friday, June 24, 2011

Settling In

I’ve been a Peace Corps Volunteer for a little over 2 weeks. I’ve moved into my house, gotten some temporary furniture (bed, desk, 2 chairs, 2 nightstands), and purchased some on my own (a kitchen unit- kitchens in Botswana don’t typically come equipped with counters and cabinets, and a pantry), and borrowed a wardrobe from a fellow PCV who has built-in closets and didn’t need the ones that his office provided (thanks, Patrick!). I’ve put pictures, maps, and cards that people have sent up on my walls. I bought a couple of floor mats to keep my feet warm when I get out of the tub and take my shoes off at the door. I got some canisters for my kitchen to keep the bugs out of my cereal and stuff (bugs yet to be seen, but this is not the season for them). I love my house! It’s freezing cold right now, but it’s got tons of room and hot water is amazing. My bathtub is deep enough to submerge myself completely in scalding hot water, which I’ve been doing regularly. I have washed my hair (and CONDITIONED it) 3 times this week. Record-breaker! Today, I blow-dried my hair for the first time since arriving in Botswana. Mostly for the warmth, but I’m definitely having a good hair night. You know, for my wild evening of eating chocolate in bed while reading before bedtime at 8:30 (5 minutes from now).

I have gone into work every day and done little things like accompany my co-workers to various offices for tasks, attend meetings, and run errands. There is a lot of down time. I am supposed to be working on my community assessment, but was having a difficult time figuring out where to start. I decided I’d start with my office and interview all of my colleagues- the 4 in my office and the 10 or so in the Gabs office. I have come up with an interview form for myself to ask them questions about themselves, their jobs, and the organization. I plan to do something similar with some of the government officials, hospital/clinic administrators, school heads & teachers, prison officers, and other NGO workers in the area, police, and local kgosis and Village Development Committee members to try to get a feel for Moleps, its needs, and meet the locals. My co-workers are pretty great. I think I hit the Peace Corps jackpot when it comes to NGOs, colleagues, and counterpart.

I got Internet! I went into Gabs for a meeting last week and got permission to go to the Orange store. It took over 4 hours (the details of which I won’t bore you), but I was able to procure a dongle. It works, very slowly. I’ve been able to upload pictures on Facebook. I’m going to try video next and then see if I can get pics up on the blog.

I haven’t gotten hopelessly lost yet. I would say I haven’t gotten lost yet, but that would be a lie. It happened when I was in a car directing someone to my house, of course, so I couldn’t even pretend because there were witnesses. Oh well.

I’m missing everyone at home. I know my sister just got promoted to Captain in the Air Force. My parents are spending the summer on the Finger Lakes and the smell of diesel here reminds me of their boat and the fun I’m missing on it with them. Colin’s working on home improvement without me, about which I feel both guilty and slightly relieved because he’s solely in charge. Wedding season is underway and I’ve already missed the wedding of our good friends Tom & Michelle, who were married last weekend in the same chapel where Colin and I were married 7 years ago. Still to miss are Jody and Josh, Dana and Andy, my cousin Nicholas and his Lauren, and April and Brendan.

I’m also missing my fellow PCVs. We spent all of April and May living on top of each other and now we’re spread out across this country, many without another PCV for miles. I’m lucky to have a fellow Bots 10 PCV in the same village (Patrick) and a few Bots 9 volunteers, too (Nicole, Rachel and Sandy). There are many volunteers close by. But I’m still missing the rest of the Bots 10 group! It’s strange not to see them every day. I miss my host family, too. They text me every few days to check in. I know they want to come visit, but until I have furniture, I’m not quite ready for that.

Tomorrow there is some excitement for me and some of my fellow PCVs! Michelle Obama will be in Gabs and we’ll get to meet her at a little meet-and-greet. We’ll also get to meet the new ambassador. Pretty exciting! I’ll share the details when it’s all over. I’m hoping to be able to take some pictures.

It’s after my bed time! Early morning tomorrow for travel to Gabs. Thanks for reading!

1 comment:

  1. I just caught up with your blog.
    Belated congrats for your swearing-in and officially becoming a PCV!
    Everything sounds good
    for your new site assignment and living situation.
    It was nice to catch up with your progress.
    Continued best wishes!