Thursday, October 20, 2011

Hosting A Trainee

Last week I got to host one of the new Peace Corps Trainees (these are volunteers in training, they came in September and will be sworn in as volunteers in November). The new volunteers got to take a brake from the long tedious days of Setswana, lectures on project design management, the science behind HIV etc. and stay with a current volunteer for a week to see the ins and outs of what they do.

Monday I went to Mahalapye to pick up my trainee. I actually had a little bit of trouble getting a hitch out of my village so ended up taking the bus which got me to Mahalapye a little later than I had wanted. Luckily some of the other volunteers in the area had met up with her at the bus rank. My shadowee was Tracy who is from Kentucky and serving here in Botswana with her husband John, who was shadowing another volunteer up in Francistown. I had a few errands to run, mostly dealing with my rent, and then I showed her the Regional Administrative Center (RAC) where the District AIDS Coordinator (DAC) works. Tracy is actually in the  DCL (Disctric Community Liason) program and not a CCB (Community Capacity Builder) like me, so I thought it would be important for her to see what the DCLs do in the DAC offices. Once we were done there we headed over to SPAR to pick up some groceries then headed out to the hitching post to catch a ride back to Machaneng. Luckily it wasn't too long of a wait.

tracy and me

One thing I wanted to do for my shadowee was make sure they got feed really well. I remember back in training I was very excited during my shadowing visit to eat some pizza and have a break from sesewa, palache, and the other monotonous foods they eat here so I wanted to give my shadowee the same break. Over the course of the week we made pizza (from scratch), hummus and flat bread, taco salads including salsa and guacamole from scratch, omelets, brownies (from scratch), and my Aunt Jana's Peaches and Cream French Toast. Everything we made turned out great and I am 100% Tracy enjoyed it, considering we had no leftovers at the end of the week! She told me I was a great cook so if I haven't learned anything these past 18 months I can say I have learned to cook. Though we ate well all week, we also ran/exercised everyday, so I think we earned it :)
flat bread and hummus with cherry tomatoes and feta cheese. Soo classy! (Photo taken by Tracy)

peaches and cream french toast (picture take by tracy)

taco salad (photo taken by tracy)
The rest of the week was spent taking her around the village and showing her what I do. Right now my main project is teaching the staff at the clinic how to type and use the computers, so majority of our time was spent doing that. One morning we headed over to the Police Department so Tracy could get some crime statistics as part of her shadowing assignment for her training portfolio. When we received the results I was actually very surprised by them. Over the past year (September 2010-August 2011) in Machaneng there has been:

9 Drug related crimes
18 Burglaries
28 Sexual and Domestic Abuses
44 Break ins
236 Thefts
And a whopping 442 Violent Crimes!

Crazy!! I was really surprised by this and it kind of made me a little concerned. What exactly is defined by a "violent crime"? And maybe I should look into getting some burgular bars over my door…? If all else I do have my can of pepper spray my Papaw gave me before I left.

Another part of the shadowing assignment was to host a focus group discussion. The US Embassy in conjunction with the US Peace Corps are currently researching what the youth (in-school and out-of-school) believe to be the main problems in their communities, attitudes towards the economy, and views of the US and the US-Botswana relationship. I actually had already done a focus group discussion with the PACT Club at the Jr. Secondary School back in September. This time I was wanting to get a group of the older out-of-school youth, to participate in the discussion. I had told the Out-of-School Youth Officer about this before I left for Namibia, and then Tracy and I checked in again early in the week to make sure it would happen. As far as we knew it was a go and 4pm on Thursday we would be hosting this discussion. Thursday came around, we headed over the Officer's house to find no one there. We waited around for a good hour and still no one. Finally a lady came by and I asked her were Ookeditse (the Out-of -School- Youth Officer) was and the lady told me she had gone to the hospital in Sefhare (a near-by village) because her son was sick. Since Tray had to go back the next day to training we weren't going to be able to complete her assignment. Opps :( On the bright side while we were waiting some neighborhood kids ventured out from wherever they were and did their shy stare at the makgoa (white people) thing that they usually do. Being bored we decided to entertain them by playing a few rounds of "Refilwe/Wame Bua" (Simon Says). I don't think they really understood but they sure did have a good time following whatever motions we were doing. On our walk home we were called over by a group of Primary School girls who were playing a game with string. Basically two girls stand a good distance apart with a string wrapped around their ankles or knees. Then the other girls try to jump in and out of the strings without breaking it. It is kind of like Double Dutch but less scary because you don't have a jump rope swinging at you. After we watched them a couple times they then asked us to join in. It was much harder than it  looked but good fun.

Friday morning I took Tracy to the preschool to play with the kids. Fridays are their Physical Education day at the preschool so it's fun to go over and play games with them, that get them up and moving around. We played versions of sharks and minnows, duck duck goose (they do zebra, zebra, lion), and many other fun little games. If I am having a bad week going to the preschool usually makes it better. The kids are soo adorable! After we spent a few hours there I took Tracy back to Mahalapye to catch a bus back to Gaborone and then to Kanye.

I had a great time hosting and I hope I will get another shadowee when the next group comes in April. I hope Tracy had a good experience and was able to learn some things from me and have some fun too.

sooo cute! (photo by tracy)

"Nothing ever becomes real till it is experienced." John Keats

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