The opinions expressed in this blog are mine, and mine alone. They do not represent the views of the Peace Corps or the United States Government.

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.


  1. Thank you so much for posting! I have a friend that is a PCV in Bots and I love reading about your experiences there. Please keep posting! :-)

  2. Amelia – love the pictures – Flora has such a great smile – feel very fortunate that you have dropped into her home – Tikololo and Bophelo are precious – Bophelo reminds me of you when you were a little girl – which was a blink of the eye ago – I am continuing to read the McCall-Smith books – they do help me envision the country you are in, so when you speak of cattle posts, I have a context for the role cattle have in Botswana culture, and how it is that fathers often must spend much time working elsewhere etc – your blog entry gives a lot of insight and information in brief space – love it – what are you cooking? Bye, dad

  3. Hi Amelia. Don't you just marvel at the internet. Photos of where you are almost RIGHT NOW!!! Wonderful light there at least for those two shots. Still cold and damp here.... almost feels like winter just wants to hang about and not let spring get its toe in the doorway. I look forward to more photos. And more of your world and your view of it. Thanks.

  4. Yes, it gets cold! I had my mom send my winter coats and sweaters - So sad the USPS did away with "slow mail" because it was so much cheaper. Maybe your mom (or mum in Botswana since they use British English) :) could send one item in per box to save shipping costs. I think the cost goes up when a package is over 4 lbs.

    Go siame!