Unfortunately, my internet connection has gotten worse and worse. Pictures claim to be uploaded, but then they don't show up. Sigh. So, I apologize. I know these posts are FAR better with pictures, but you will just have to use your imaginations.
Finally, the rains have started to come. We had a big heat wave beginning of last week, but the start of this past week was relatively cool. Mma Mosinyi (my host mom in Shoshong, the woman who's compound I am staying on, if you all forgot) is a health education assistant at the clinic. One of her main duties is to conduct the child welfare center, which is the growth monitoring for all children in Botswana under 5. Pretty much - we weigh babies. So I was helping her out with that one day. It is in a different building in the clinic, and we were FREEZING. In November. This is SUMMER. We were so cold we had to go home and change into pants. It was the BEST day.
Along with the rains come the mosquitos. So I spent some time a few days ago perfecting my mosquito net. It is expertly attached to rings in the ceiling with dental floss.
I have been busy, but also spending a little bit more time in the afternoons at home so I can wind down and relax. I do want to get out there and check on people more than I have been doing lately, but sometimes taking time for ourselves is really important.
Earlier I mentioned that a Peace Corps trainee came to visit me, and that I would report on that. We had a great week. It was so busy, and I am slightly worried I may have given her the wrong impression that all weeks are like that. But what I have realized is that I can make appointments and things to do every afternoon which make my weeks jam-packed. Or I can just not do that. It all depends on how I am feeling.
It was quite a beautiful week, though. The first night we walked around Shoshong and just met some people. Aunts of mine from next door called us over and made me sing a Christian song in Setswana that I have memorized. So that was funny.
Celia (the trainee) and I conducted a focus group with students from the junior secondary school I have been working at. We asked them about their perception of problems in their community and how youth can solve them. We also asked about how the US can help. The questions were sent over from the US Embassy. We were tasked with doing some investigating from them. What was fun, though, was that the kids also asked us questions about the states. They were surprised that we don't see celebrities all the time, that men don't pay lobola in order to get married (bride price, which is usually 4-9 cows depending on the village customs), and that there are actually poor people in America.
It is interesting to me what aspects of American culture these kids are exposed to. In terms of music, they know Chris Brown, Beyonce, Rihanna, Justin Bieber, Lil' Wayne, etc. TV shows that have made it over are The Bold and the Beautiful, Days of Our Lives, Friends, and many other older seasons of shows, such as Leverage and the Good Wife. It really exhibits to me how important Peace Corps volunteers are. We are different than ex-pats in the fact that we (for the most part) really care about becoming a part of the community, learning about the culture, etc. And WE represent America. We have the power to change so many perceptions, such as thinking that every American has a maid and a mansion.
While Celia was here, a woman approached us in the village, asking me to help her with an organization in a nearby village. When I visited them, they had a constitution set up, an executive board, and goals. They are comprised of 8 youth who want to teach others about HIV/AIDS, create awareness, and provide counseling and support. This was one of the most exciting things to happen this month. Finding passionate people to work with is a Peace Corps volunteer's dream.
We also saw a cultural competition in Shoshong. A lot of my local friends were singing, dancing, performing dramas, etc. It was great.
But it is only getting hotter and hotter. This next week is supposed to be a heat wave with some temperatures around my region getting to 41 degrees Celsius. Pretty rough stuff.