I wanted to leave a list of random/funny/strange moments in hopes of sharing a part of my life here with you. Things here often remind me of loved ones back home, so I have included notes about that too!
· Food consumption- it is a cultural norm for people to eat three big meals a day. I’m not a huge meal eater- I like to snack, despite what my friends from the Office of Diversity think :o) and I often have to explain that I simply cannot eat what’s in front of me. A lot of it has to do with me being a vegetarian because they think I am starving myself. I am fed so much food here!
· Kitchen messes- The kitchen, as I have described, is often a huge mess. Pots and pans, food scraps, ant friends, etc. I can’t wait to show you pictures. The Classen family is off the hook for dirty kitchens, or should I say, Lizzy is off the hook for creating the messiest kitchen :o)
· CODO, my teddy bear & my lucky frog-lizzy gave me a teddy bear before I left and named it codo. It’s the beginning/end of Colorado (such a perfect name)! my lucky frog is very fragile glass, and I’m happy to say that they both successfully made it to Botswana. All my trainees and family know about my stuffed/glass friends – small comforts make a huge difference when I am half way across the world!
· Washing my feet- this makes me think of kenzie. My feet are insanely dirty here, every single day. I have made it a part of my daily routine to wash my feet before bed because there is no way I would be okay slipping under the covers with feet caked with dirt! The dirt here is super red as well, so it gets on everything. Kenzie, you should be proud!
· Pictures- I have pictures hanging in my room of friends/family, but here are my three favorites
o Picture of my dog-Isago, the three year old, says, “Auntie, why are you hugging the dog?” No one here loves dogs/cats. They laugh and say we treat our animals like humans. Isago laughs when she sees the picture, because in her mind, why would that ever happen?
o Picture of my dad in the hospital – As many of you may know, my dad was in a horrible accident a week before I left for this adventure. I have a picture of my dad and I while he is in the hospital and he is hooked up to all kinds of machines. Isago is laughing at all my other pictures and stops when she sees that one. She asks me why my dad is sick & kisses his picture over and over again. It melted my heart. Every day she asks, “Auntie, how is your papa?”. Thinking of you daddy, I hope you are healthy and well! Xoxoxo
o Picture of my mommy – my host mama comes in my room to see the picture of my mommy. She rants and raves about how beautiful my mommy is- she can’t believe you possibly have children! I tell her how blessed I am to have a beautiful loving mommy at home, and she says to tell you she’ll take care of me. :o)
· Toilet seats- while there seem to be a lot of toilets around here, I am yet to find a toilet with a toilet seat. Odd? I think yes. Oh, and don’t forget your own TP, otherwise you’ll have a whole new issue.
· Favorite snack = peanut butter – man, oh man. There’s nothing like a comfort food from back home. I was pleased that peanut butter was provided to the families (along with other things) hosting volunteers. Tanner- all is well with PB on a spoon. I’ve even decided that the best snack is PB on a spoon sprinkled with sugar and instant coffee. It may be the best on-the-go-pick-me-up snack ever created. Nom, Nom.
· Children- Anyone under the age of 26? Is still considered a child. Wahoo! I am a kid again. Sorry, parents! However, it is a cultural norm for children to be quiet around their elders. It is not customary for a child to ask about the condition of someone older than them. That’s nice when you’re learning language because I’m unable to ask direct questions, however, I can see it as a problem when I am trying to work on my project. As a child, it will be much more difficult for them to view me as a professional counterpart.
· Parenting/similarities –Isago sucks on her pointer finger, rather than her thumb and she really enjoys the game of “putting me in jail.” Sound familiar, Arissa? Kids can be so similar, even in such different places. Some of the children here are wonderfully behaved, and others, not so much. It’s difficult being an outsider because I’m used to being involved in raising children. I miss the Forrester family so much! Give Kai and Quinn kisses for me… Kudos to all the parents back home (the Greens too!) for all the hard work in parenting. It isn’t easy anywhere!
· Yoga-we have several people here who do yoga and they have been teaching other trainees. I’m quite the beginner, but I am loving it! Kater- if you ever get the chance, send me some yoga info and an update about your interview/application!
· Sunglasses- Jason, you should be pleased to know I am trying to wear sunglasses as often as possible. I miss you and your paranoid optometry rants!
· Singing songs- Kelsey, Mia & other camp friends, I wish you could be here to see some of the cool songs/dances/moves the kids have! They may not compete with the little red wagon, but nonetheless, I enjoy singing them with the kids.
· Chickens, Goats & Donkeys - revere, let me just tell you, the animals here aren’t loved as much as yours! I wish you could build them nice little homes. :o) They are EVERYWHERE!
· Termite mounds- sheesh! Michael, you weren’t kidding. They are huge! I am yet to see any little ones nearby them, but I am terrified to go near them. They seem pretty if you ignore the gross creepy crawly things inside…
· Marriage proposals- men here will propose on the spot to American women- although I haven’t had that happen yet. I have had the request of bringing more of my American friends to Botswana to marry here, but I assure them my friends are very taken. Love you Hails and Critter &Kenze, keep me updated on wedding plans!
o To avoid marriage proposals- all you have to say is “kenalemonna”, meaning I have a man. :o) MAC! Ke rata thata.I love you very much
Love & Light,