Friday, May 7, 2010

Heavenly Sunlight Filling My Days with Glory Devine

Hello, Friends! So, looking at some of my fellow trainees videos, I have found that I am one of the few slackers who hasn't updated yet. I'll do my best to fill you in.

I have been in training in Molepolole (pretty close to the capital- I think of it like Dallas and Ft. Worth). I live with a host family there. Mine, in particular, is amazing! I have a mother and a father, a little brother who is 14, a sister who is 11 and a sister who is 1. They are super cool. I usually get up at 5:00 or 5:30 in the morning (by that time the roosters have been crowing for three hours), get ready, sometimes pack a lunch and meet four of my peers/neighbors for our hour long walk to school. Our training takes place on a church compound for the most part. My language class has four other ladies about my age in it. We actually meet about ten minutes from the church in the office of a member of parlement. We break for tea, then right back to Setswana (usually the lessons are between 2 and 4 hours a day). After lunch we are all together in the church auditorium for lessons on HIV/AIDS and community development theory (jealous?). Occasionally we break early and get to go to the village sports complex and play basketball/volleyball/soccer or just run around in the sun. These days are our favorite for obvious reasons. Then we go home. I try to get in the way in the kitchen until my family gives me something to do. Usually that is cutting vegitables, and plating the food. Then I have dinner, take a bath, and try to be in bed by 8:00. I know it's hard to believe that that would be my bedtime, but culture shock is exhausting.

The people I have met here would blow your mind. I would recomend Peace Corps service solely on the quality of peers you have. Seriously, they rock my face off. They all have big hearts and winning smiles, several of them have advance degrees and years of experience in world-changing. One of them told me a story yesterday that honest-to-God started with "When I met Mother Theresa..." A couple of them have served in the Peace Corps before. Basically, they're amazing.

That being said, I still miss my sweet mind-blowing, face-rocking, world-changing friends in America. All of whom I couldn't be prouder of. My Peace Corps friends have to be so sick of hearing about you and all of your coolness.

Botswana is pretty great in my book. It was hot, and sunny, and deserty when I got off the plane. Feels like home to me! It was pretty rainy for a week, but it's back to sunshine now. Perfect.

My host mother gave me the name Tumisang (TOO-me-sa-ng) or Tumi for short. She said that means 'anounce me'. I have also heard that it can mean 'famous' or 'more good things'. It can be for a girl or a boy, like Kelli. I really like it. My last name (my host family's last name) is Tese, which means 'beautiful thing'.

That's all for now. Love you guys!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Every New Beginning Comes from Some Other Beginning's End

I'm leaving for the airport in a few hours. I'm completely stoked! And, I'm a little tired from all the packing and goodbye-ing. So, this is going to be short.

I've been saying last goodbyes on the phone and in person all week. It was especially hard saying my last goodbyes to my best friend on the phone tonight. The worst part is being unsure of the communication situation for the next few months. I'm saying goodbye to my parents at the airport in the morning. And, after that no more sad goodbyes, only happy hellos!

So, while this week was sad and sappy, next week will be equally as happy and exciting!

I love all of you, and can't wait to meet some of you! This will probably be the last update for a few months, but then I'll have plenty to say.

Peace, friends!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Santa's New Bestie

Next Friday can't come soon enough. And, at the same time, there is more to get done than I think is possible for that amount of time. I read in one of the stack of papers I was filling out for staging that I have to read the entire Volunteer Handbook before Friday. It's not a long book; it's just the least interesting of all the books/pamphlets the Peace Corps has ever given me, and there have been a lot since I started applying. It's full of safety regulations, baggage regulations, protocol for marrying a host country national... these kinds of things. I also tried for a time to get through some of the language lessons (I got through three, and I didn't even learn all of that). Then, I found out via facebook that no one else has really paid much attention to those, and I shouldn't really waste my time with it, when I have so much else to do. That was a relief. Also, I haven't packed one thing yet. Only six days left. I should probably get on that soon.

It's funny the things that people are concerned about when they hear you are moving to Africa for a couple of years. The number one question that I get from friends and family: Are you going to keep your hair the same length, or are you going to cut it short? At least 5 or 6 people have asked that, and not all of them women. To answer, I'm not going to cut it. I intend to continue with cutting only once a year. I still haven't figured out what my hair style has to do with it, but there's the answer. For most of the other questions people have about Botswana living conditions, and culture, the answer is 'I don't know.' I've never been to Botswana or Africa for that matter. And, most of what I hear from the Peace Corps is 'It depends.' Oh uncertainty, how you taunt well-meaning Peace Corps Volunteers.

I just learned my favorite fact about Botswana yesterday. My friend, Megan, is a kindergarten teacher. She was telling her class about me joining the Peace Corps and moving to Botswana. She got out a globe and pointed to Botswana. Then, all the kids started freaking out. "Ms. Metcalf! That's where Santa lives!" All of them agreed. Santa lives in Botswana, and Ms. Metcalf's friend gets to meet him. So, good news: I get to meet Santa. We'll probably become best friends. Jealous?

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Really Stoked and A Little Crazy

I am super excited to be leaving the country finally! However, I don't think it has totally hit me yet. It comes in waves. Like today when I saw the date April 11th somewhere. My first thought was "I'll be out of America by then!" My second was, "I'll be in Botswana that day, probably meeting my host family." That's when it starts to sink in that I've never been to Botswana or even Africa before, and I'm moving there for 27 months. My former roommate, Sara, is moving to Japan to teach English a couple of weeks before I leave . She's never been to Japan. We were talking the other day about our impending departures, and agreed that we feel really stoked, but also a little like crazy people.

I can't wait for my next two years in Africa! I have no doubts that it will be an amazing and stretching experience. Beyond that, though, I'm not really sure what to expect. But, I guess this is also about teaching myself how to be flexible and patient in the face of uncertainty. Lord knows that what I took out of the application process!

As for the crazy person part of this post...
I remember thinking while working in the international office how thick the students' files were. It takes a lot of paperwork to get out of the country. Just explaining the application process to the perspective international students made me tired. And, that was just paperwork that went through our office, not even personal life things like packing or saying goodbye to friends. Now, I am experiencing first hand what the students had to go through. Between applying for a passport, packing, shopping, moving all my stuff to my parents house, and doing my Setswana lessons, I don't know that I'll have much time to worry about actually living in Botswana. I think it will just be a relief to board the plane.

So, instead of thinking about things I am nervous about (learning the language, wearing a skirt everyday...ect.) I have decided to make a list of things I am excited about:
  • My new Peace Corps friends
  • My new Batswana friends
  • Learning a new language (it's on both lists)
  • My new job- I get to fight AIDS
  • Meeting my host family
  • Learning to cook new foods
  • Traveling
  • Learning about a new culture
  • All the African sunshine I'm going to get walking around
I'm going to stop there, because the most common advice I've heard from PCV's is not to have too many expectations. Peace.

Sunday, February 7, 2010


Today is the fourth anniversary of the day I decided to join the Peace Corps. It was super bowl Sunday of my freshman year. I, of course, was oblivious to that fact, and was instead, looking online for possible career paths when I came across the Peace Corps website. I called my mother to let her start preparing. "I've decided to join the Peace Corps after college." To which she responded, "Over my dead body." And, then added, "Can we talk about this after the game?" "Of course, we have several years to talk about it." She thought it would be one of those ideas that would blow over in time. But alas, it is four years later and once again we were on the phone during the super bowl talking about the Peace Corps. Only this time I was giving her the web address to the packing list I found.

So, after a year and half of applying for the Peace Corps and jumping through hoops, I finally received my invitation to Botswana! I called earlier this week and accepted the invitation. Now I'm just working on my aspiration statement and updated resume. Also, I'm trying to learn Setswana. It is a beautiful language, and it's really cool. They have a clicking noise in their alphabet! But, it's also really hard. We'll see how I do with that. Anyway, I leave in exactly two months for staging (kind of like orientation) probably in Philadelphia. And then, three days later I'll leave for Botswana with my new Peace Corps friends.

I thought about starting this blog earlier in the process, but honestly it was just a year and a half of speculation and uncertainty. The important thing is that this might actually happen now!

Also, I haven't decided how I feel about the name of this blog. Let me know if you like it, or if you have a better idea than Texswanan.

Alright, I guess I should get back to that aspiration statement. Peace out.