Monday, November 7, 2011

I haven't written a post in a while so there's a lot to write! We got
our sites and leave in only three days! My village is called
Mantshwabisi and it is about 40k from a big village called
Molepolole. The village is very small; there are 700 people, 500 of
which are students or staff at the primary boarding school where I
will be working. There is 5k to the closest paved road. I will be
living in a house on a family compound and will have electricity
(yay!) but no running water (ah!). The school I'm working at is a
boarding school, like I mentioned, for San people which are an
indigenous population in Botswana. They are typically hunter/gatherer
people and have a very different culture then the Batswana. Their
children go to this boarding school since their families live in very
remote areas, far apart from each other and do not have schools close
by. This means that there are children as young as 6 years old living
in a boarding school and only going home three times a year.
Obviously, this is a huge challenge on many levels. Children have a
hard time coping with being away from home so the drop out rate is
very high. My supervisor told me that they have students as old as 16
or 17 still in primary school because their education was interrupted
so many times. Additionally, Setswana (which is what most Batswana
speak and the language I've been learning) is not their first or even
second language, and English is their fourth language. School is
taught in Setswana and English, so the language barrier causes a lot
of issues. The whole issue surrounding the settlement of the San
people and other minority ethnic groups is pretty controversial, but I
will get into that more in a later post. My role in the school is
pretty loosely defined at this point, but since I am the first
volunteer in the village, there is a lot of room to help and also a
lot of flexibility with how I get involved. I met my supervisor who is
the head master at the school and she is super nice and really excited
about me coming there, which is great! However, my house currently has
no furniture! Hopefully, It will be furnished by the time I get there
on Thursday, but I have a feeling that I will be sleeping on the floor
for a while.
Anyway, training is coming to a rapid end. We had a great party on
Saturday for our host families which was really fun. We made it
thanksgiving themed and shared the story of thanksgiving with our
families; in return they acted out a similar tradition of celebrating
a plentiful harvest for us. I was on the cooking committee and made a
massive amount of mashed potatoes which was awesome as I LVOE mashed
potatoes! On Sunday we were all invited over to an Indian man's house
for a party which was really generous and the man was Guajarati so
that was exciting. It was a good party, except he is also a butcher
and they were slaughtering cows (to donate to poor people which is
nice..) while we were there and that was REALLY hard to be around. I
ended up leaving for a while with some other people so we wouldn't
have to be in such close proximity. It was a really fun weekend, and
I've been realizing that everyone is really close in our group and it
seemed to happen overnight in a way. It will be sad to say goodbye on
Thursday. I don't know when I will get the chance to post again since
I will not have internet at my house and will only be able to get
internet at an internet café in Molepolole, so I will try to get a
post up as soon as I can once I get to site. I'm really excited to be
finally swearing in to Peace Corps after deciding to join over a year
ago! I'm definitely nervous for the challenges and mostly at this
point scared of the unknown, but I'm super pumped to get started and
get settled in my own house and village.

1 comment:

  1. Wow! you're doing some awesome work.. Super impressed and proud of u :) I'm following you!!