Thursday, October 27, 2011

Goat Attack


Last Saturday, Peace Corps Botswana had a party for the Peace Corps' 50th anniversary. Lots of folks came to celebrate the anniversary, including RPCV's who were here with the first wave of PCV's back in 97. After the party, I went to the training site for the new group and hung around, answering questions and sharing stories of what it's like to be a Peace Corps Volunteer in Botswana.

The Peace Corps gave me a lift today from the training site to the capital, where i have some medical appointments and on the way, we hit a goat in slow motion. We were crossing a bridge and suddenly the beast was standing in the middle of the road. staring us down. There was nothing we could do but watch as the goat approached. Before the collision, our driver even had time to say, "... there's nothing I can do. Sorry!" and "THUNK!" or more like "THANK!" the goat went down. We stopped as abruptly as we could, and turned to look back. There was the goat... on all 4 legs looking shocked but none too worse for the wear except for a blotch of red on its head. Scattered in the street was our front license plate and one of the goat's horns. Goaty promptly ran off, stunned, leaving his horn in the road like a discarded junk food wrapper. Luckily for all of us, the truck was big, or the goat would've rolled over the windshield and crushed the car, instead it just got de-horned. De-horned. Ouch, I wonder if it feels like getting your nails ripped out...

Picture: Trainees in training



Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Ke a sha (I am burning)

It's 12PM and I'm sitting in my darkened living room in my underwear. Too much information? Probably, but I don't care. Ever since moving to New Xade, I have been forced to be ok with my body, my friends' bodies, complete strangers' bodies. In my house, in friends' houses, on combis, busses, and grocery stories. Male and female appendages everywhere. And it's hot. Too hot. So hot that walking home puts you in a trance, but you know you have to keep going or you won't live to see tomorrow. Ke a sha, I am burning.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

NXYO Movie Show

At 4 PM on a Saturday Night, when the streets of New Xade are usually filled with little boys with wire trucks and old men with beer bottles, a mob of children are crowding around the entrance of the dilapidated Community Hall, begging passers-by for 1 pula to see the Television-Show. What is going on? The New Xade Youth are having their first weekly film screenings.

Beginning at 3PM every Friday night and ending at 7PM on Sunday, the youth are screening movies to the community at the low rate of P1 (approximately US 13 cents) for children, P3 for adults (and P2 for youth committee members). If you are lucky enough to scrounge up P1 worth of coins, you can push your way past the sticky fingers of unlucky children, enter the darkened room of the community hall, pick your own plastic lawnchair, and enjoy the audio and visual effects of Terminator 3, The Green Zone, and other such Action Movie "Classics."

An advertisement on the wall of the building reads "Come enjoy films of Jackie Chan and Bruce Lee!" But really, we all know that no one cares if it's Jackie Chan, Bruce Lee, or Matt Daemon, so long as there is action, suspense, and lots and lots of noise. And just in case I forget to mention, unlike the bar down the street, this busy establishment is 100% alcohol-free (as a I told a young teenager standing outside defiantly sucking on a large bottle of black label). At 8PM last night, the exhausted youth returned to my house clutching P24.50 worth of coins, in the American equivalent of pennies and nickles. We may have broken even financially, but for all intents and purposes, this activity was pure profit.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

After 1.5 months in country, I still do not know the proper response to a knock at the door when I'm lying stark naked in the bathtub...

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

A Bunch of Little Hair Things

My hair is long enough now that I can hold it up using 3 small hair things. I was putting my hair up today when I thought, there must be something profound about this movement...

Here it is: Life is sometimes like those hair-things. You need more than 1 small elastic to hold your life together.

In my case, there are lots of small things that hold me together. Food is one. Coffee is another. The dream of going to graduate school is yet another. My constant SMS's to friends here, the hope of seeing one good project to completion, the garden in my backyard, all small things that, in large concentrated doses sometimes give me much grief, but in combination, hold me in one piece, keep me from going insane.

I woke up this morning with the full intention on spending the entire day out in the community giving our village development committee computer training. I waited for them all morning, working on grad school applications, next thing I know, it's 4PM and I've been staring at admissions websites all day, eyes bugging out of my head. How did this happen? Where did the day go? Too much of a good thing can really drive someone crazy...

Monday, October 3, 2011

a rock and a hard place

lately i've been finding myself stuck between a rock and a hard place. or is that all the time and lately i've been more noticing of it? Maybe one end of botswana there's a big rock, and at the other end there's a huge hard thing.

...

anyway. I find myself not enjoying going out and not enjoying staying in. I have funding for projects that are not yet ready for funding and waiting for funding for projects that don't have any sort of funding. There is simultaneously a lot going on and nothing going on. A lot happening that isn't right, but would take forever if it were right. My garden has stunted growth, so i locked my gate, yet the goats are jumping the fence now with more and more ease (it's like one of my nighttime fantasies-oh-wait-is-this-real episodes when I'm trying to fall asleep, counting goats jumping my gate, then of course getting their leg caught and screaming for help all night). I am social and yet i have no idea what's happening in the village at any given time. I have friends, yet I find myself helpless when I need help...

in a nutshell, i miss home and i'm running out of things that help bring relief.
8 months till home.
Not that I don't love it here. But the men and the phone calls, the solicitations, the toner-less printers, the bureaucracy, the rules, the boob grabbing, fat calling, begging for food, water, airtime, money, and the absolute indisputable truth that murphy's law (everything that can go wrong will go wrong precisely at the wrong time) is the only thing that is ever reliable... it's getting tiresome.