Hello, Gaborone!

We arrived in Gaborone, Botswana on July 24 after 17 hours in flights and about 30 total hours of traveling. 

It was quite eventful. Needless to say, 30 hours spent traveling have me a head cold and it took two days for my luggage to actually arrive here. Thankfully, it did. 

Unfortunately, I haven’t gotten to see much of Botswana yet as our first week of Pre-Service Training (PST) has kept us in lockdown at our hotel compound until we’re over our jetlag and are aware of how to stay safe while traveling. 

Botswana isn’t particularly dangerous, but most of us haven’t been to Africa (including me!) and it’s important to be aware of risks that can happen while traveling in an unfamiliar place (i.e. pickpockets). 

The compound we’re staying on is called Ave Maria, which is a hotel/conference center. It’s Jesus themed (I think it is, or was, a convent) but conviently has a cash bar, which we’ve enjoyed. 

Our days have been long, starting at 7am for breakfast and ending with dinner at 6:30pm. We have sessions on everything from Botswana, to our jobs, to teambuilding, and to a medical interview where we picked our preferred malaria medication. 

Most notably, though, we’ve had our first Setswana lessons! It’s a beautiful language, and makes me wish even more that I could roll my R’s (I’m practicing though!) 

Tomorrow we’ll be heading to our training site for the next 11 weeks, Molepolole to get our host families and start integrating into the community and improving our Setswana. 

Ke a loboga! (Thank you!) 

About to head to the airport…

…and I can’t believe this day is finally here. I’m insanely nervous, of course, as are some other people I’ve met and talked to. 

The last couple days we’ve been in Philadelphia for “Staging,” which is basically a time for us all to go over basic expectations and get to know each other. 

I’ve loved getting to meet my fellow volunteers (and prepare them for the inevitable One Direction documentary nights) but I won’t lie, those sessions were LONG. 

Especially when we spend a lot of the time talking about safety and security. It’s definitely important, but it brings to the surface all of those internalized fears, which are even more prominent being a woman going to a different country. 

It definitely will be a huge adjustment, but at the end of the day this is something I’ve wanted to do for years, and I’m ready to just get started and start to adapt and integrate to the culture of Botswana. 

Even more difficult was getting my luggage together. One suitcase I had was 70lbs and the other was 35. I’ve definitely done some moving around and am planning now to have two suitcases and two backpacks. 

Yup, I’m going to be rockin’ a backpack on both sides of my body. Wish me luck (and don’t laugh at me). 

Until next time! I’ll be in Africa! 

Two weeks away!

I can’t believe how quickly staging is coming up! It really is insane to me that I’m about to be leaving for Africa, and it’s even more insane how many things I still have left to do (ie. actually packing my bags).

I’m incredibly excited, but the closer I get the more I’m starting to have some nerves too. As I pack up my house in Bloomington and make sure my cat is settled for when I leave, I realize how much my life is going to change, and I think it’s finally hitting me what a huge thing this is.

The anticipation is always the worst part–there’s such a combination of nerves and excitement about what the experience will actually be like, so I’m excited to just get there to Botswana and start my PC adventure!