Live Like A Peace Corps Volunteer

You've Been Challenged!

Live Like a Peace Corps Volunteer Challenge        
(Botswana Edition)

Ever wonder what it is like to live as a Peace Corps Volunteer (PCV) in a developing country? Do you think you have what it takes?
The “Live Like a Peace Corps Volunteer Challenge” is a project started by volunteers in Mongolia to help raise awareness about the Peace Corps within the United States. Those taking this challenge will get a small taste of what life is like for volunteers here in Botswana. The challenge will take place on the first week of each month from January 2011 until December 2011, and also during Lent.

This March, the Peace Corps will celebrate its 50th anniversary and we wanted to find a unique way to celebrate it and to carry out one of the main goals of the Peace Corps. This project’s goals are to increase the understanding of life in Botswana among people in the US.

This project is just getting started, but you can find out more information here:

Click here for Botswana specific  challenge guidelines: 

For clarification purposes on some of the rules listed on the challenge-and if you want to live just like I do- here are some edits/additions:

1. Water: I do have water in my kitchen, bathroom and toilet room as well as a tap outside- WHEN its running. To live like me, you can only use water between the hours of 6am-9am and 8pm-9:00pm every day (or for a more mild version, roll the dice to see how many days). This includes flushing the toilet, bathing and dish washing [you can use the toilet at work]. You must use this time to fill up buckets and other containers for later use. In addition, you may not use hot water from your tap. Hot water must be made using a stove top kettle. This includes bathing water. (You will be surprised to see how much water you generally use in one day!)

2. Electricity: I have electricity connected in my home and village, but it frequently goes out. To live like me, you can only have electricity on any 5 days of the 7 day week. 
Your computer can only be used as long as the battery lasts during power outage days and your cell phone cannot be used at all (the network is down!). Be careful about how many times you open your fridge! (you will obviously use electricity at work, but no personal computer or cell phone use while there! honor system..). You may use your electric stove if that is all you have, as my stove here is gas powered so it is not affected during power outages.

3.Internet: I have an internet dongle for use in my house, however it does not always work and is extremely slow. To live like me, you may use the internet for 5 days of the 7 day week (you can use it at work, for work purposes).
When you use it you may NOT 1. load more than one tab/page at a time 2. view any video or live stream (yes! including youtube, hulu, facebook videos, and any web/podcasts) 3.
upload more than a few images at a time.

4. Meals: To live like me all meals AND snacks must be cooked from scratch (no convenience foods or ingredients). They must be composed only of LOCAL ingredients (yes this includes butchered meat and any produce) and be heavily starch based. I also have to travel 70km (43 miles) to get my food so you should go to another town or city to get your food. This only happens a few times a month and I have to take public transport to get there. Everything you buy from the store you will have to be able to fit in one or two bags that you will be taking on the bus with you. Your choices at the supermarket are going to be severely limited and it will take you a long time to figure out what is local. Try a local Co-op, whole foods store, etc and really look at the labels and ask where the items are from.

ALL OTHER rules on the challenge website pertain to my life in Machaneng, so if you are brave and want to live like me for a week, follow all rules stated on the challenge using the above to guide you on water, electric, food and internet use.

Once you have decided what level of challenge you will take, from the options listed on the website or from my version I will call "Machaneng Challenge", please leave a comment on this post announcing your commitment to the level. In addition, there is a place on the website where you can let them know your commitment.

Thank you all for considering participating! I believe you will learn a great deal, even in one week of participation. As an added incentive, anyone who does the challenge will be sent a special something from me, with love from Botswana.
I look forward to hearing your thoughts about how the week went for those of you taking a challenge!

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