Sunday, October 13, 2013

It Doesn't Feel Like Much, But it Isn't Nothing

October 12, 2013

It has been months since I posted anything on this blog site where I had intended to keep friends and family up to date on what is happening to me in Botswana.  I have explained that to myself by telling myself that there has been absolutely nothing of interest to post.  I live in a small town and I walk to a Junior Secondary School each school day and to a Preschool once a week. Each day is a carbon copy of the day before.  On week-ends I clean house, cook ahead meals to put in the small freezer compartment in my fridge, go to Lobatse to get supplies, and wash my laundry by hand.  I cannot find anything in those details to post on a blog.  There has appeared to me to be nothing to write about.

So it is a good thing that Peace Corps requires a quarterly work report to be compiled and submitted.  Last week I completed that task for the months of July, August and September.  The good thing about it is that when you write down everything you've done for three months, it isn’t nothing.  As it turns out August and September were relatively productive months.

July was a good time for me because Jim was here and I was busy showing him what my life here is like.

We also made a trip to Swaziland to visit some dear friends we hadn't seen in 15 years.

Dr. Yohannes Gebrenegus

Dr Yohannes' Wife, Dr Lydia Mpango

Dr Yohanes' sister Saba and his son Lucas

Yohannes & Lydia's older son Abe and daughter Hannah
The capital of Swaziland, Mbabane, where our friends live, is beautiful, and even in the middle of the winter season it was green.  Its mountains reminded us a bit of Denver.

The schools in Botswana take a long winter break through July, so there was very little on my work report that month.

However, when I compiled the report, I was surprised to see that in August and September I conducted 15 counseling sessions, taught 25 Guidance and Counseling classes, and had 16 study sessions with groups of students at Ntwalang Junior Secondary School.  

I went to Bright Future Preschool one day a week for eight weeks where I assist with 25 to 30 little ones who are learning to speak English and do pre-reading exercises.  One precocious girl is beginning to read Dr. Seuss’s Hop on Pop.

I participated in planning sessions for a girls’ camp and then at the end of September I took six girls from Ntwalang to the four-day camp.

Camp GLOW (Girls Leading Our World)

At the girl's camp, another Peace Corps Volunteer and I taught a class on Mental Health and Emotional Well Being.

That same volunteer and I were also invited to present at a Wellness Day activity organized by the Barolong Tribal Administration for the leaders and administrators of the local government entities in the region. The theme of the Wellness Day Program was Maintaining Positive Attitudes, so we gave the participants some practical tools for creating a positive outlook.

One thing I am happy about was that I finally found a way to show DVDs to my Guidance and Counseling classes.  I was given a library of DVDs in January that focus on HIV/AIDS prevention, and in September I finally managed to get the equipment to show the films to the students.

The best thing this quarter happened the last week of September.  Several months ago Peace Corps sent an email saying they had books in their warehouse that were available to our communities.  In August I brought this to the attention of our school librarian and asked if he was interested.  He definitely was!  It took him several weeks of persistence to arrange transportation to Gaborone to get the books, but on September 23 we made the trip and brought back a truckload of books.  Since then we have been busy sorting and classifying about a thousand books.

The students can't wait to get them.  In some of the boxes, the persons who sent them had included photos and their names.  Even though there was no contact information, the students are insisting that when I go back to the States that I have to find these people and thank them for the books!

I am excited, too, that I was able to select 135 books that are appropriate for Bright Future Preschool.   I can't wait to share them with the little ones.  Until now, I have only had about 10 books that I have been using with them.

Having something useful to do has definitely improved my outlook in the last couple of months.  Additionally, we have gotten through the cold months and the days are getting longer.  That is a great relief.

As Monday October 14th closes, I will have completed half my committed service to Peace Corps.  I wonder how the second year will compare to the first?  Let’s hope there’s something to write home about!


  1. Oh, my! So much for "not much to tell"! Just when I thought paperwork was practically useless, God uses it to prove how useful you are!!! He really does work in mysterious ways. :-)

    Honestly, I really enjoyed this post (and the amazing pictures). It sounds like you and Mr. Jim had a wonderful time together, and that you have managed to accomplish a lot to enrich the lives of the people you are working with (No surprise there!). I couldn't be more delighted for you. You are constantly in my thoughts and prayers.

    Sala sentle!

  2. Hi. This is really nice. Hey, would you like to share a room at the all PCV conference in Feb.?

  3. What a great adventure you are having to your good and the good of so many others. Love, Gay