Being back in the village has been BUSY! And mostly awesome. Now that the training wheels of the community assessment are long gone, highlights include:
· - My windows have been fixed! No more chicken wire or boarded up windows.
· - A series of productive meetings that led to PACT Club (youth health club) and HIV/AIDS Support Group meetings actually getting scheduled and planned.
· -MAIL!!!!! Letters and packages galore. AMAZING. Thanks mom/dad, Aunt Tam, Grandpa Steve and Jan for some incredible, awesome, delicious, and fun things and a little bit of ‘Merica.
· -Observing/assisting with the basic non-bodily fluid based stuff of a birth! This was pretty awesome and slightly terrifying but mostly awesome. I was only able to observe/help with the tail end of things because she began during the lunch break, but hopefully I’ll get to help with another one soon.
· -The first elephant sighting! Aimee and I had been on a mission to see an elephant for weeks, with the running joke that we only see animals after we’ve had really frustrating and unproductive days. The elephant showed itself after we had spent the day in Gumare trying, to no avail, to get our furniture sorted out. Just when Botswana has beaten ya down, an elephant will charge in front of your bus.
· - Obtaining fruit trees for my clinic’s garden. And it was easy. Next to nothing is simple here… I showed up to the forestry department at 4pm on a Friday and someone was there, and she was helpful. Then on Tuesday, my clinic found transport to pick up the fruit trees. And we went and picked them up without a hassle. For all of these things to just happen, without any issues was absolutely amazing.
· -Chicken slaughter (sacrifice!). Aimee and I, with the help of our friend Theo, slaughter, cleaned and cooked a chicken. And then ate chicken tacos with some of the tasty stuff sent in care packages.
· -Fishing on the delta. Obviously, that was amazing too. I think this picture explains why.
· Taking my new friend, Moloi, home! Now I’m not really a cat person, but I have to say he/she (sex tba) is growing on me. Plus, I haven’t seen
· -Turning 23 years of age. I was able to see the Gumare crew, have more actually productive meetings, braii and video skype with my family for the first time in five months. And then get to party it up over the weekend in Maun for a joint bday celebration. Wonderful.
· -First PACT Club meeting with the Junior Secondary School students, and it went well! I’m really looking forward to working with them and other students in the area.
· -Teen Club, a group for HIV positive youth (almost all members were born HIV+) is up and running! Our first official meeting will be this weekend.
It’s funny, because during IST I was nervous about heading back to my quiet, little village after being around so many Americans and shopping malls for a couple of weeks, plus the added pressure and expectation that projects would be off the ground and functioning. But almost magically, things starting falling together and programs that I had been pushing for weeks began to take off. There is a whole bunch of good things ahead too- Family Bonding workshop, GLOW camp (youth life skills stuff), Breastfeeding Day, and I’m starting aerobics classes twice a week in the evening. For the first time since being in Botswana, I’m feeling a little stressed about my workload! It’s nice change of pace J