I finally found out where I’m living and working for the next two years! This is a long time coming for me. To everyone who has asked me what I’ll be doing, at last I can give you an actual answer. We definitely went out to the Lodge to celebrate finally knowing what we’re doing the next two years…
I’m not going to say the name of my actual town due to Peace Corps policy, but for any Facebook friends it’s on my wall. I’m moving to a large town of about 49,000 people. Primarily, the town was a mining town, but recently the mine has closed. The mine closing is the only reason I’m able to go there, actually. There were volunteers there before in 2012, but when the mine opened it was determined the air quality would be too poor. It’s a bit bittersweet—I’m excited that I’m able to go there now, but I also know that the closed mine means lots of economic issues.
I’ll be situated on the eastern side of the country, and I’m smack dab in the center—perfect because I’m not too far from either the north or the south. Bad news is I have to take malaria meds because I’m above the malaria line.
I’ll be working for two organizations—one national organization that works on the HIV/AIDS campaign (testing & counseling) and one smaller local NGO that works with key populations (female sex workers & men who have sex with men), substance abuse, and economic empowerment.
We’re spending the end of the week getting bussed to and from Gaborone so we can do a workshop with our supervisors. Before getting into that though, I want to stress how incredible it is to have running water after a month of not having it. I went into the bathroom, could FLUSH the toilet, washed my hands with RUNNING WATER, and used a PAPER TOWEL to dry my hands off. It’s the little things. Never enjoyed a public restroom more.
Our supervisors workshop has been incredible so far. My supervisors from BOTH organizations showed up which was a surprise and super exciting to get to talk with both of them. They both are incredibly nice and seems super excited to start working with me.
For the larger organization, it seems like I’ll be working on organizational development mostly—doing NGO management, working on program planning and implementation, etc. For the smaller one, I’ll be working on more projects and initiatives, depending on what parts need the most help and work. I’m sure there will be some overlap with both sides, but it’s nice to know my main tasks at each.
My larger NGO has an incredible program that works on the intersection of tuberculosis and HIV, which I’m excited to get to be a part of, and will involve some work with data which will be interesting.
My smaller NGO has some programming with key populations (female sex workers and men who have sex with men), and part of what we discussed was doing a permagardening initiative with them to help with food security as well as giving them something to do.
Tomorrow, we leave to go stay at our site for two weeks (and to shadow another volunteer) so we can see where we will be living and working. My site is only about 5 hours from Gaborone, and the national director of my large organization is sending a driver to come pick me & and another volunteer up—exciting!
I will point out that not everything is always rosy in Botswana. Though it’s a peaceful country, there are problems and clashes just like in the United States.
Unfortunately tonight there was some unrest in Molepolole, and I want to take a moment to acknowledge and send good thoughts to all those affected.
As for right now, all of my Bots family (PCV and host) is safe 🙂