It means no worries…in Setswana. Pronounced “ha ho-nah matata.”
I’ve arrived safely in Molepolole, where all 73 of us will be staying until we swear in on October 4th. It’s been overwhelming and wonderful and a lot of adjusting (bucket baths are easier than I thought, but still unpleasant).
We arrived and immediately went to our Matching Ceremony, where we all get to meet our host families. It’s a very special occasion, where the head kgosi (kph-see) the paramount chief of the village, comes and we all sing and meet our families one by one.
There is a lot of screaming and hugging and smiling.
I was matched with a wonderful Mme (mother) who gave me a big hug and immediately said “I love you!” Upon getting home I met my 24 year old host sister, Tumie, who speaks fluent English and has become a good friend of mine here in the village.
We each were given a Setswana name by our family, mine is Masego (mah-se-ho) meaning “blessing.”
I’ve been getting used to a long schedule, with Setswana lessons starting at 7:30am and ending our Pre-Service Training sessions at 5:00pm. Upon getting home, I help with dinner and dishes and study for the next day.
There definitely has been some adjusting for me, in terms of my living style as well as having a lot of people staring at me. In Botswana, I am very clearly different, which is a new and sometimes unsettling experience.
It’s been much more fun that I expected to live with a host family, especially because mine is so accommodating and understanding.
I can tell that they really listened to the information Peace Corps gave them because they are careful to make sure that food is prepared safely for me, don’t get offended if I do something that seems strange to them, and are excited to learn about America and American culture. We made macaroni & cheese the other day, which was a hit.
My host mother is incredibly sweet and has been treating me like one of her kids. She watches out the window for me to get home safely, and surprised me this morning with French toast.
It’s been especially fun having a host sister near my age. She is good friends with the host sister of another Peace Corps friend, Bobby, and it’s a great dynamic to have the four of us hang out (we can always tell they’re gossiping about us when they start speaking Setswana and laughing).
Despite some of the adaptations I have to make being here, I am starting to feel comfortable and even more excited about things to come 🙂