Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Happy Belated Thanksgiving!

This past weekend I got to get together with a few other volunteers to celebrate Thanksgiving. A guy who works for Voice Of America here in Botswana, was very kind and opened up his swank house to us. It was a nice time to relax, eat some good food, and remember what we are thankful for. Of course I was sad to not be celebrating Thanksgiving with my own family, but this was a pretty nice replacement, and next year I will get to be with them on the holidays again, which makes me super excited!! Here are some of the highlights from the day that I am thankful for:

-Deep frying 9 turkeys and eating massive amounts of good American food
-Having soo much food left over that I got to take some back to Machaneng
-Waking up to the smell of pancakes Sunday morning
-Swimming in the Pool
-Drinking Mimosas and Bloody Marys
-Good Coffee :)
-Watching American Football games, and getting to see one of the Dallas Cowboy Football Players Tackle one of the Cheerleaders!
-Having amazing internet access which allowed me to Skype and say Hi to my Mom's side of the family who were having their Thanksgiving Lunch, some of whom I haven't seen since before I left
-Watching funny youtube videos
-Air conditioning
-Amazing showers
-And spending time with my Peace Corps Family

marinating the turkeys 

Dallas Cowboys and Miami Dolphins Game

the pool

my plate of yummy food :)

pancakes and eggs for breakfast
Before we ate all of us went around and said what we are thankful for. This past year has brought me so many experiences and I have much to be thankful for. Just to name a few:

-All of the new people I have meet and become friends with
-All of the experiences and times of growth I have had here
-Getting to see one of the natural wonders of the world (Victoria Falls)
-My cat "Dijo" who is very entertaining on those boring days
-All of the people who have reached out to me in my village, to make me feel a little more at home
-The kids who come by my house to hangout
-All of the successes be it big or small
-All of the failures, which have taught me to pick myself up and keep trying or try something new
-My family coming to visit for a few weeks, showing them a little bit of what it's like over here
-Having the opportunity to live and serve with the Peace Corps in Botswana
-All the support my friends and family have shown me through this experience. I could not have made it this long with out YOU!

And I could go on forever. I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving, and I hope we don't ever stop thinking about what we are thankful for and all the blessings we have in our lives! Thank you to all who are following my journey by reading this blog. I am sorry I haven't been as good about updating, but thanks for reading anyways!

"We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures."  ~Thornton Wilder 

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Some Good and Some Bad

So let's start off with the bad. I was cleaning up my computer and accidentally deleted my "My Documents" folder. Since I am lazy or a complete idiot I haven't backed any of my files up since January when I first got my new computer. This means all of my documents that I have had since January for various projects and such are gone. :( I am not exactly sure how this happened but it did and it's very upsetting. I have heard that Windows never actually deletes anything so there might be a way to get my stuff back with some special program, but I am in a remote village in Africa so I doubt I will get that anytime soon. From now on I plan up backing up my stuff weekly or even daily.

Onto some better news. October went by really fast and I can't even believe we are into the second week of Novemeber. I had a lot going on during the month of October which is probably why it went by so fast . The first week I was in Namibia. Then I had a new trainee come and shadow me. Next the Peace Corps Botswana staff hosted a party for all the volunteers in country and some other special people. The party was to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Peace Corps and the 40th Anniversary for Peace Corps Botswana. It was a really great day. The new director, Tim, spoke along with the US Ambassador, and some Returned Peace Corps Volunteers. Their speeches were great and I am sure very much needed. I think all the volunteers left that day with lifted spirits and a sense of encouragement. There were also plenty of crafts from around the country being sold and some raffles going on. Unfortunately I wasn't able to buy any of the crafts I wanted to or try my hand at some of my prizes because the day before my ATM card had gotten stuck in a machine. Clearly I have been having a string of bad luck lately. It was really frustrating because I had asked some guy that was standing by the machine if he was in line to use it and he said no, then later after my card was stuck and I realized the machine was broken and got the help I needed, he said his was stuck to. You think he would have told me that before I went and stuck my card in the machine! So in the end I was a little low on cash that weekend until I was able to get to my bank branch. But on a happier note I did win a Peace Corps Patch for participating in one of the activities they had during the day. I was super excited for the patch which will go on my backpack with all my other patches I have collected since being here in Botswana. I am getting quite the collection.  It was also great to meet some of the new volunteers. There's one from Ohio! She's soo enthusiastic about the state of Ohio she even has it tattooed on her! It was actually really refreshing to be able to talk to her about home. I was also able to spend some time chatting up with a fellow rower! It was great to relish in all my past memories of rowing, which I miss very much. The day was great and I am really thankful the Peace Corps Botswana Staff was able to put this on for us. They did a great job! Just to go along with the 50th, there is a really great project "Live Like A PCV" that some other PCVs came up with for people back home to be able to participate in the 50th Anniversary Celebrations and raise awareness about Peace Corps. I talk about it here and here. If you are interested in trying it out checkout the links, there's only this month and next left in the 50th Anniversary year but you are more than welcome to try your hand at the challenge any time!

Next I headed up to Bobonong to help another volunteer with a project. This project was dealing with repairing a house for the chairperson of their HIV+ Support Group. The lady was in much need of help and the Home Based Care group along with the PCV in the village raised funds to repair her house. I was there solely as an extra helping hand. We didn't get as much work done as we wanted to because the temperatures rose up to 107 F and higher on most of the days, but we were able to get the roof finished and shift some sand that will be used for the outside of the house. It was great to be apart of such a great project and it reminded me of all the mission trips I went on with my church youth group.

After I spent some time in Bobonong I headed to a Halloween Party another volunteer was hosting. It was fun and nice to spend some time with some of my group that I don't see as often. They had some great costumes. Mine was a flop because no one at the party knew who I was supposed to be. Next year I plan on redeeming myself and having the most aweseomest costume ever!
the best costumes at the party...jealous I wasn't apart of this awesomeness!

Since then I have just been working on some projects in my community.  Today I was asked by the doctor and new head nurse at my clinic to load my Mavis Beacon Typing Program and Rosetta Stone Program onto their computers. They want to be able to work on their typing skills when I am not around and work on learning some other languages like French and English. I think it is really cool that they are so enthusiastic about the programs. I might even load the Rosetta Stone onto the clinic's computer so that the staff can use it to work on their English skills.I also have this really great idea for the preschool and will be meeting with the Owner on Friday. I hope after I present the idea she will be on-board and we can get things started on that. My idea is going to take a lot of work, but if we can get the support needed from the community it will be great! I just hope it happens. Have been having lots of bad luck lately so maybe this will be my turning point :)

The next big thing I am looking forward to is Thanksgiving. Once again I am sad I won't be spending Thanksgiving with my family, but I do get to spend it with my Peace Corps Family and it's going to be even bigger than it was last year and we will have access to a pool, so as a substitute I think it's a pretty good deal :)

"The difficulties in life are intended to make us better, not bitter"