21 days with my mom & reve FLEW BY. I absolutely loved and cherished every moment of being with them. I don't think I've ever taken them for granted before, but spending so much time away from my loved ones has made me appreciate every minute spent with them just that much more. I cried when I greeted them, I cried when they left. I'm my mother's daughter, after all. We're good at crying. :o)
All the moments in between our tears were exactly what I was hoping for… and more. My parents got a taste of my real life as a Peace Corps Volunteer. They...
- saw the day to day happenings - all that goes on behind the scenes of my sugar coated blog posts and photos. Don’t get me wrong - - I really do love what I'm doing - - but there are just some things (ok, a lot of things) I choose not to write home about and they got to see all of that first hand.
- experienced the excruciating heat in the Kalahari desert - something they never grew fond of. Don't they look happy?
- saw one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World - a trip to victoria falls! I was amazed at the sheer amount of water pouring down the falls. I could have stood in awe the whole day - if it weren't for all the rain and spray from the waterfall! We were soaked, but I loved every minute of it.
- observed a much slower pace of life- the American mentality of achievement and productivity, quite simply, isn't observed often in this country. Whether they enjoyed it or not, they had to slow down.
- had quality time with their daughter - we had amazing conversations about development work, international aid, etc. I loved having time to sit and reflect upon life with my beloved parents <3
- participated in the King's Foundation training- the King's Foundation is an organization that donates "base packs" of sports equipment to villages to encourage youth development through sports. It's an amazing way to connect with youth & my parents got to play with all the adults in my community who will use the equipment with youth in the future.
- traveled across Botswana - and saw all the amazing African animals. Animals you might think I enjoy on a daily basis… but it was my first time to see them as well. Days full of elephants, giraffes, hippos, etc. Videos and pictures will be posted soon!
- fell in love with the youth- and could easily see why I love working with youth development. The kids are absolutely amazing and I quote my mother saying, "That boy could be the president someday!". The youth inspires me to continue my work here… and my parents fell in love with them too.
- enjoyed touring the Okavango delta by mokoro- could they be any cuter? I think not. Adventuring around the delta was a personal favorite for me!
- experienced "African time"- no rush. Things happen when they happen… we spent lots of time waiting around for things - which seems normal to me- but they reminded me that it's not quite what Americans are accustomed to :o) Read a book!
- met my host family in Kanye -their first night in Botswana, they stayed with my host family in Kanye. It was such a treat for me to introduce my parents to the loving family who welcomed me into their lives and taught me about Botswana during my first two months!
- played by the Baobab trees - a quick way to feel like an ant! These trees are enormous and it was a treat to stand so small beneath them.
- stomped on thorns- no one believes me when I say the thorns are HORRIBLE here, but now they can attest to how awful they actually are. It still makes me laugh to think of all the vulgar language and frustration they experienced… at least they only had three weeks to endure :o)
- washed laundry by hand- it grows on you - but they handled it very well. Look how happy he is to wash each piece by hand! Ha.
- met all my little children- I like to call them my regulars. They each have their own water cup. They each have their favorite toys and activities. These eight children bring me joy on my toughest days and drive me insane when I'm too tired to run my own daycare center free of charge. Nonetheless, these children have stolen my heart, and my parents can now understand exactly why.
- helped complete the world map project - at the local OVC center (orphans and vulnerable children) we completed the world map project for all the little ones to encourage global education. It was a fun project for all of us! Peace Corps volunteers all around the world participate in this project… I enjoy wondering how many lives the project has touched world wide!
- learned about Botswana- I'm proud of my little cultural ambassadors. They did very well learning the small nuances of the culture and greeted everyone properly in Setswana with the correct hand gestures. Good work, guys! There's still so much they have to learn - but then again, I say the same about myself.
- brought me SO much happiness- their presence really lifted my spirits. This job is very daunting at times - it can really get you down. Their encouragement and kind words helped me realize that what I'm doing really is tough & I'm not crazy for feeling like it is.
I will post more in detail about their time here - our travels up north - shenanigans in my village - and my mom's perspective on me serving in Peace Corps Botswana --- but for now, I just wanted to give everyone a quick update. So grateful to have had the chance to spend time with my parents in my village - I love you guys both so much. Thanks for taking a trip across the globe for your daughter!
Love & Light,