Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Home is Where the Heart is

After spending eleven days in Gaborone (the capitol) for In-Service Training (IST), I couldn't have been any happier to get off the bus and step foot in familiar territory. Gabs seems like a BIG CITY to me now in comparison to where I have been living. It isn't even a large city by American standards, but it's funny how much my perspective has changed after living out in the middle of nowhere. The bustling khombis, shopping malls, and unfriendly people overwhelmed me and left me missing home.

Of course, it was incredible to catch up and spend time with my fellow Peace Corps volunteers  at IST, but I was so delighted to see my village at the end of it all. I'm not sure I'll ever be able to fully describe my "roller-coaster" ride with the Peace Corps (and really, a roller-coaster sounds too fun and light-hearted to truly capture everything). IST brought light to many different issues in Botswana - ones that I won't go into detail about now - and it left me with a whirl wind of emotions.

Am I here at the right time in my life? Can I truly make a meaningful impact in my service? Am I working as hard as I could be to implement community projects? Does anyone appreciate what I'm giving up in order to be here? And on and on and on and on….
You get the idea.

With all the thoughts floating around in my head on my six hour journey back home, I was positive that I was going to start losing my mind. Or my patience.

As I got off the bus and hauled all my bags along the sandy path, I was greeted by laughing children running to me with open arms. And my smiling grandmother. And my purring kitty-cat. And mail from loved ones back in the states.  And a beautiful African sunset.

It's an incredibly relieving feeling to be sleeping in my own bed again, greeting people in the streets by their first names, and walking everywhere I need to go. I missed my peaceful life without electricity and somehow I wasn't angered by yet another water shortage upon my arrival. I'm happy to be boiling my water again for my baths & I enjoy hearing people speak Sekgalagadi all throughout the village.

Although Kang is  rural, in the middle of the Kgalagadi desert, and isolated from many resources… I can't think of anywhere else in Botswana I'd rather be. Of course, other Peace Corps volunteers see exotic wildlife in their backyards - but I wouldn't trade my donkeys and chickens for any other village. The people in my community make all the difference in the world and their friendship and hospitality have created a large support network for me here.

And as they say, home is where the heart is… and my heart is truly in Kang, Botswana.

It's so good to be home <3

Love & Light, 

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