September is officially my favorite month so far. It is pretty warm, but I can still wear a light sweater (if I am wearing a dress with no sleeves or a tank top) and not feel like I am dying. And there is the perfect amount of wind to make walking around bearable. But the best part is the incessant smell of jasmine EVERYWHERE. Jasmine is my favorite natural scent. When I went to China my senior year of college, I bought jasmine tea. One of my favorite lotions smells like jasmine. So when I walk around Shoshong I am reminded of these memories. It is amazing. I am not sure exactly what makes the scent, but pictured below is one of the culprits.
Wiser volunteers have told me that there is an ebb and flow of service. Sometimes life will be so hectic, we won’t feel like we even have time to stop and say hello to our neighbors. Other times we will be twiddling our thumbs and wish for ANYTHING to do. I am pleasantly in the middle of these two extremes.
I am busy everyday. I have people to meet, things to do and a comfortable amount of work hanging over my head. I rarely feel stressed to get to an appointment, but I do my best to be on time. And I have been involved in exciting and fun things.
#1: I attended a talent show at one of the primary schools. Of course, one of the judges was MIA so I got roped into doing it. The kids are such great dancers. It was so much fun! Of course I forgot my camera, so I don’t have any photos (sorry mom).
#2: My peer education group is going really well. I am not yet sure how we will actually teach peer education (how it will be organized in the village and how we will ensure that the same people come so we can do sequential classes), but I know that the people I am teaching are learning something. And they are learning it from each other, not from me. So if it doesn’t come to fruition, at least 30 people are bettering their HIV knowledge and public speaking skills. Not bad.
#3: I have continued teaching study skills to some classes at the junior secondary. I have become close to a couple of students, one of whom actually told me she wanted me to be her role model. Let’s hope I don’t screw this one up.
#4: I think I am reasonably well-liked in the village. Second thing I hope not to screw up.
#5: A couple weeks ago I attended a training to be able to facilitate films about HIV/AIDS. One of my favorite Motswana, Keoagile Ralepape, attended with me. He used to work at my clinic in the PMTCT (prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV) program until his funding ran out. He is now my counterpart for showing these videos and leading discussions. We just watched an AMAZING video called Mother to Child (pictured below) that we hope to show to women both at Shoshong Clinic and at health posts in surrounding areas.
If you want to purchase this 45-minute video, or see what these are all about, go to www.steps.co.za.
Life is good.