You may think I am complaining, but I am not. I’m describing what is a very valued character quality for Batswana, Patience. A friend recently told me, “When you return to America, they are going to be really surprised how patient you have become. The only way to get anything in Botswana is to wait patiently.” I asked her if it is possible to be pushy and patient at the same time, but she said it isn’t. So I am waiting. I don’t mind the waiting so much (at least most of the time) but I feel the stress of those who may be waiting on ME to “produce” something, like a blog post or a concrete measurable contribution to World Health and Peace. I recently thought, “When the meek inherit the earth, it may well be that the world language will be Setswana.” There is a wonderful kindness and gentleness that accompanies the patience that makes waiting more than resigned passivity. It is a discipline rooted in a commitment to respect others even when it means not getting what you want or need from them.
This past week my waiting was rewarded by being able to be in classrooms co-teaching second and third form students (9th and 10th graders) about anger management, stress reduction, and self awareness. That’s my idea of fun. Each class responded differently, though positively. That’s been like taking a mental health vitamin, boosting my own self-concept this week. It is hard for me to think that I am not “useful”. This week I got to feel that I was making some kind of contribution at the school other than cherished mascot.
Yes, cherished. People here take care of me. They feed me, they watch out for my welfare, and they tell me that they are glad to have me here. It amazes me how a complete stranger can show up in a tightly knit community and people make a space and incorporate her into their daily lives, the welcomed intruder.
So that is my blog entry for this time. I don’t know how long you will have to wait for the next one. If you have specific questions that I have overlooked answering, e-mail them to me.
Waiting to hear from you,