Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Greetings! Penpal letters from Spain!

Photo on Left: The chicken Diana and I slaughtered when she visited.

I wish I could post more photos tonight, but internet isn't great. To those of you who receive my newsletters, sorry for the long delay for the April issue! Things have been rather chaotic the past few weeks.

The good news is, the Botswana Book Project has gathered the funding it needs and has sent a shipment of books to Botswana. We will receive them by the end of June and all 3 of the New Xade projects have been selected as book recipients! That means that if I manage to get transportation for our books, the primary school library will receive 7 boxes of books, the adult education center will receive 7 boxes of books, and the S&CD OVC project will receive 7 boxes of books!

I have not yet managed to write something for the click-botswana blog. I'm having difficulty thinking of something to write about and getting inspiration for it. Unfortunately, I have to meet with my friend this week and I was hoping to have something to show him by tomorrow... help?

Our standard 7 students finished their first letters to their penpals in Spain last week! I sent them out a couple days ago and am excited for the schools' response to them. I have to admit, I was a little discouraged about the content of the letters. A lot of students did their best and wrote about their lives, the community, and the school, but a lot of other students copied each other, copied the letters that they received (including sentences like "I am from Spain" and "I am a sikh") and asked for things like clothing, electronics, and a plane ticket to Spain to live with the other students. They wrote things like "We are the poor people," "We don't have money for food," "We are hungry" and other statements like that. In the end these same students signed off with comments like "I want to be your best friend," "I love you 100%" and other words of admiration.

It was disheartened to read some of these letters and a little upset. It would be one thing if people were starving on the street, but I don't believe they are... I think some people in my area, especially some of the kids in my village, have been so conditioned to manipulate outsiders' perspective of their situation for handouts that they feel no qualms about asking anyone and everyone for handouts... and using any method of convincing to do so. I constantly get approached by people on the road or in the clinic, "Wame, I am hungry. Give me food." And it makes me mad that these kids would do this to another kid who lives across the world from them who just wants to be their friend and engage in cultural exchange. Once again-- different if it were true and they really were desperate, but I don't believe they are. The government does too good a job handing out foodbaskets and feeding kids at school. Speaking in such dramatic tones makes a mockery of real suffering. All too common occurrence here in Botswana: I'll walk into an office and see someone working. I'll comment, "Wow, you're working hard" and they'll respond, "Yes, too hard. We are suffering." Suffering. Some people don't really know what suffering is... it makes me sad to people use the word so liberally when there really are people out there suffering.

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