Sunday, October 2, 2011

Happy Independence Day!!!

First of all I should preface this by saying that Botswana Independence Day was actually Friday, but since this is when I am getting around to accessing the internet I am still using it for a title.  Also, don’t get used to blog posts being this close together, but we had a few interesting things happen this week, and I wanted to get it out there before I forget.  And I am sure some of you know just how bad my memory can be at times.  J

Monday night was the kick-off to World Tourism Day which was Tuesday.  We were guests of honor at the Kgotla that night for some festivities.  And I can officially say that after that night I have officially and willingly lost all dignity in front of at least 200 Batswana.  We were mostly watching, but at one point the Emcee asked our group to perform a traditional American dance as part of the cross cultural exchange.  There were about a dozen of us that got up the courage to do (although I apologize to Caitlin for dragging her up there), and of course the ONLY thing we could think of was the Macarena.  So yeah, we did the Macarena for hundreds of people.  Like I said, lost my dignity, but at least it was fun. 

At the Kgotla there is also a tradition where the men at one point all meet at the head of the Kgotla and eat seswaa together.  For those of you unfamiliar with seswaa it is called pounded meat in English.  And this is a loose term.  There is not just meat, but bones, gristle, probably intestines too all mashed together.  Not the most appealing thing.  The Kgosi (chief) got us all to come up on stage to join in this tradition.  My original plan, give my meat to my neighbor.  Well I got lucky enough to be chosen to serve the seswaa to all the men at the head of the Kgotla.  So I was serving chiefs, our PCTs, and all the other Batswana.  I know that some people got pictures of this event, which was, well unique.  The seswaa did not really sit well in anyone’s stomach for the most part.  Once I got done serving everyone the Kgosi gave me some meat to eat, right into the palm of my hand.  I tried to say I wasn’t hungry, but hey, the chief tells you to eat and you at least take a bite.  After that I slipped the rest into Nate’s bowl.  But hey, for a while I was probably the most popular guy there since I was handing out the food.  I definitely felt immersed in the culture, and that is what I came here to do, so I can’t complain, it was at least a fun and enlightening experience. 

Also this week we went to Gabs to fill out our immigration papers.  So guess what?  I am now officially allowed to be here for the two years in the eyes of the Botswana government!  Hooray for the small victories.  And then as I said above, this Friday was the celebration of 45 years of Independence for Botswana.  It is amazing when you look around and see all that the country has you realize how impressive of a job they have done, especially for only 45 years of independence.  I know that in America we could never have made these kinds of strides in such a short time.  We celebrated with an easy day of training and then a visit to a cultural site near Kanye with a picnic lunch.  Plus a bunch of people made a dance circle with some of the LCFs, so staff and trainees got to cut loose a little bit, which was a lot of fun. 

Yesterday we had the Diversity Day session in the morning with some awesome volunteers from Bots 9.  I can easily say it was the best session of training we have had so far, and I want to thank them all for coming and doing that with us.  All I can say otherwise is that I feel like I learned a lot about my fellow trainees and feel closer to them after the session, so it was a really positive experience, and I only wish we had it even earlier.

Other than that it was just a normal, packed week of training.  Not this coming week, but the week after, we go on shadowing where we stay with a current volunteer in there village so we get a better glimpse of day to day life, so that will be interesting to see.  Also, don’t expect an update until at least after the shadowing week is over.

Well, that is about all I have to say for now.  OH!  And check fb for pictures, I am going to try and upload a bunch today hopefully.

Tsamaya ka kagiso (go in peace)

Adam “Thato” Hii

P.S.  Major shout out to Ben Stoltman.  I got my first letter this week and it was from him.  Was a major pick me up. 

P.P.S.  Also like to say thanks to all the people who either helped our watched my first haircut in Botswana.  Especially Rose and Carol for their marvelous work with a razor.  I gotta say it takes used to getting used to short hair, it is probably the shortest it has been in about 5 years or so.  

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