Sunday, August 15, 2010

Trade Show, Mosadi Mogolo, Typing, and IST, Oh My!

First of all I want to personally thank everyone who has sent me a letter, card or package for my birthday or just to give me some encouragement. I enjoyed all the little presents and everytime I go to the Post Office and find out I have a letter or a package I am estatic! The words of encouragement are great especially when things get rough and they make the good days even better. I cannot thank you all enough. I constantly re-read all the letters and cards I have gotten as a reminder of all the love and suppport I have back at home. Thanks again and I love and miss you all!

Sorry I haven't updated in awhile. I guess I have been a little busy and just have not gotten around to writing. So here's what I have been up to the past couple weeks.

Machaneng had their annual Trade Show a few weekends ago. This is kind of like a county fair but on a lot smaller scale. A volunteer from another village came to Machaneng with one of her friends who works at the Jr. Secondary School in her village and went to the show with me. Friday night there was supposed to be a beauty pageant, which I was pretty excited to see, but it didn't end up happening. But my good friend Sliza (she is a famous Rumba artist from Botswana) was performing at Machaneng's Community Hall, so I got to watch her. It was pretty cool but ended up being a late night. She didn't end up performing until well after midnight so I wasn't home until pretty late. The next day we walked around the show grounds to see what was at the Trade Show.
They had animals (cattle, sheep, goats, rams, chickens, etc) and lots of booths showing off people's produce and art work. In one of the booths they had different plants you could buy and one of the was a Paw-paw tree! I was pretty excited! The Show reminded me a lot of walking around the 4H buildings at the Fairfield County Fair, only not as much stuff to see. We also ate some traditional food (mabele and goat meat) and watched a little bit of a football match that was going on. Later that night there was another performer but I didn't end up going because I was very tried from the night before. I heard the best Trade Show to go to is the one the happens in Gaborone (the capital), but I guess it is not going to happen this year because there has been a huge outbreak of foot and mouth disease so they don't want to contaminate the animals. Hopefully I will get to go next year, apparently there is always a great selection of jewelry, pottery, and baskets you can buy.

The next weekend was the final for the Mosadi Mogolo Cup. Machaneng won their Catchment Area games a few weeks ago so they got to go to the finals. There were 8 teams from the Mahalaype Sub-district area who got to go and compete for the medal. The Mosadi Mogolo Cup tournament is put on by the clinics in the Mahalaype sub-district area. The purpose of the tournament is to get women (aged 25 and up) involved in physical activity and to teach them about HIV/AIDS and the Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission (PMTCT) program. Scoring is based off of the points in the game and how well the team does on a quiz about HIV/AIDS and PMTCT info. This was the third year the Mahalaype Sub-district put the tournament on. This year they invited many important people from the Health Sector to try to show them what our district is doing to help educate women, in hopes of using our tournament as a model to be replicated in other districts within the country. Maybe after a few years it will become a national tournament and not just a district level thing. The day ran fairly smoothly. It started off with the first game at 8am (which surprisingly started only 30 minutes late), then around 10am they had an opening ceremony with some speeches and entertainment. After the ceremony they proceeded with the rest of the games. As one of the organizers I got a free Polo, which was a nice surprise. Unfortunately, Machaneng lost their first game that day so they didn't get to go on to the next round. I felt bad for the girls because they had been practicing really hard these past few months and they really wanted to win. Hopefully they will do better next year. Because my team lost their first game we didn't stay for the whole thing to see who won the whole tournament. I thought that was a little weird, but considering I had been up since 5:15am I wasn't too upset we were leaving early.
This past week I have been helping the Staff at Matlhako Library learn how to type. This is the first step in the Library's plans of how to get more people to use the library. So over the next few weeks I hope to teach the staff how to use the computers (typing, word, power point, excel, etc.) and how to look up things in the library. Once the staff is educated in these things they will be able to set up sessions to teach the members of their community what I taught them. I am hoping this will then get more people to come to and use the library. The girls were soo excited to learn how to correctly type, but they thought the way you have to hold your hands was awkward. It was pretty entertaining watching them, but they caught on very quickly. I am very excited to go back again this week to teach them more.

Another thing I am looking forward to is IST (In-Service Training). IST is a 2 week training session to regroup and share our experiences about the first 2 months at site. We also will have more Setswana lessons, which I desperately need, and learn some stuff about grant writing, proposals, and other useful things for the next year. I am pretty excited because I will get to stay in a lodge with a nice hot shower and a pool and I get to see my friends and be around other Americans! It will be a nice break. One thing we have to bring with us to IST is our Community Assessment Report. This is basically what we have found out about our village and what our village's needs are. This means over the next week I am going to be super busy trying to get that together for IST! I wish I had started typing that up earlier! At least I will have something to keep me busy for the next week and a half :)