Tuesday, April 19, 2011
I have more pictures, but I figured I would post what I have on my computer at this point. Pictured above is my host mom, Flora. She is sitting outside of our house, near the garden. Lately we have been dancing all around the house to both American and Batswana music. I wonder what the neighbors think we are doing.
The two children above are Tikololo (left) and Bophelo (right). Tikololo is Flora's nephew. He was with us for the first week, but is back with his mother. He was staying with us because his mother was at the cattle post. Tikololo's father, Flora's brother, works and lives in a different part of Botswana. That is actually the norm for families -- many of the men visit their families on the weekend, but often have cattle post and work responsibilities elsewhere. Bophelo is Flora's four-year-old daughter. Bophelo means "life" in Setswana, which I love. Most names seem to have a meaning in Setswana.
Things continue to go well. I am beginning to cook things by myself, although I need Flora's help to start most dishes. I try to watch how much she portions out, but she does not need to actually measure anything. I suppose it's the years of cooking traditional Batswana cuisine.
Learning Setswana is going well, although grammar is complicated. Setswana has 18 noun classes and they all correspond to completely different subject markers, possessive prepositions, adjective concords, etc. Definitely enough to make your head spin. But I have loved learning it because I think it is the most important part of PST (Pre-Service Training). If we don't know how to communicate to the people at our site, how do we hope to do any real development work? We can know everything there is to know about HIV and how to be culturally sensitive about it, but if we cannot actually speak the language, what good are we? That is what is driving my learning at this point, anyway.
The volunteers before us said that it would get cold, and they aren't kidding. We have needed light sweaters everyday and it will get progressively colder. I am glad I have my sneakers and layers of coats, including a vest. Good planning.
I will have more pictures to upload later this week.