It has been an absolutely crazy couple of weeks, in the best way. I’m super glad to be busy and to know I have things to do. That is a challenge among many PCVs–feeling like you don’t have enough work and that your time isn’t productive. I had been worried that I would feel like that, since it was a slow start at first with the holidays. Thankfully, I’ve found several things to do that I’m very excited about!
To start, I spent about two weeks working on a grant application to start a garden on my NGO’s property. We have support groups–some with female sex workers and some with men who have sex with men, all of whom are HIV positive–and one of my coworkers and I are planning to have them work on the garden. Food security is a major issues for those populations, so the garden will provide some nutritious food as well as teach them a skill that they can use at their own homes to then grow food and either eat or sell it.
Along with that, I’m working with a coworker on a website for the NGO. I’ll be posting the link soon so you all can see where I work and what we do. It’s been an interesting time, trying to figure out what should be included and how we can appeal not only to an audience in Botswana but also an international donor audience.
Finally, another coworker and I have began looking through facilitation guides for economic empowerment sessions. All of our support groups have issues with money–many are poor and often when they do have money, they don’t know how to manage it (an issue that plagues many young Americans as well). We’ll be doing workshops with them on getting jobs, budgeting, and how to keep your finances in order.
Needless to say, I’ve been running around like a chicken with my head cut off.
I was given a break last week when I was in Gaborone for a Journey of Life training. The training is mandatory for all those who work with NGOs. It wasn’t a super useful training for me, as the program is focused on children and I work primarily with young adults, but there were some interventions for parents I’m hoping to use.
Regardless of the actual training sessions themselves, I had an incredible time this week. We stayed at a resort in Gaborone (a very serendipitous mistake on Peace Corps’ part) and it was absolutely inSANE.
Our room had a giant king sized bed and air conditioning with a rainfall shower, there was a pool with a covered pool bar, but the best part was the BUFFET.
We ate at the buffet for every meal and it really was not good for staying fit. Luckily it was only a week. They had Indian food, Setswana food (including game meat, like Eland), a waffle maker, cheese plates, dessert every night, and the shining star, a stir fry bar. I had stir fry twice a day for the entire week. Absolutely incredible.
I can’t even describe how wonderful all that food was. And the hotel too. I left the hotel only one time the entire week and I don’t regret it one bit.
Now I’m back at site, and getting into the groove of work again. I also have a new little family member! Her name is Toothless (for anyone who’s seen How to Train Your Dragon, you’ll see why) and she’s an absolute adorable little gem.