It is beautiful, absolutely beautiful. We have only been staying in a lodge (for lack of a better word) for the past 3 days. The lucky ones (myself and my roommate Sara included) sleep in gorgeous little cottages. We have mosquito nets even though the area is supposed to be pretty malaria-free. It is a slight adjustment sleeping under a mosquito net but it generally makes one feel like a princess. We are all now on malaria medication. We are currently in orientation because we move to our home stay in Kanye on Thursday. We are all pretty nervous about living with a family, and none of these families have hosted Peace Corps volunteers before. We don't know what to expect but it's exciting.
Orientation consists of briefings on security, cross-culture learning, and LOTS of Setswana. We have been studying Setswana for 2-3 hours per day. I know how to have basic conversations with everyone now. I have been greeting everyone who works at the lodge, because the more you say it, the easier it becomes. I want to do it until I don't have to think about it. The language facilitators are amazing. They are Batswana and have all taught language before.
Examples of Setswana:
O robetse jang? - how did you sleep?
Ke robetse sentle - i slept well
Ga ke a robala sentle - i did not sleep well
Le kae - literally means where are you but actually used as "what's up"
Le teng - response to "le kae," literally means I am here, but used as "I'm good"
My fellow trainees (because we aren't considered full volunteers yet) are great. Everyone seems enthusiastic and willing to learn. I am hoping that we all swear in as volunteers on June 7th. The statistics show that ten percent of volunteers do not make it through Pre-Service Training. I hope we break that rate. The diversity of our group is also amazing. We have two older married couples, an 84-year old man, and a wide variety of races and backgrounds. It all helps us to learn better and develop deeper perspectives.
A few volunteers and I took a trip to a local supermarket, kind of like a smaller Cost Co. Everyone was so friendly. Walking outside and not being in our bubble re-affirmed my commitment to be here. There are always moments where we question if this is the right thing for us, but I am so sure at this moment. The culture is beautiful and I can't wait to learn more.
Sala sentle! (Stay well)