This is our first blog post from Botswana. We are staying in Kanye (south of Gabarone). Our only internet access is through a cyber café which has a fairly slow network and costs up based on time, so I will apologize up front about the lack of pictures.
John and I are enjoying our family and have been given local names, Wame (me) and Kabo (John). We are also slowly progressing with Setswana, but luckily our family here speaks English as well. Everyone is wonderful although the house is almost always full of kids and activity. Unlike in the US, people walk in and out of people they know’s houses pretty freely and families live right next to each other or on the same compound, a kgotla. On the first weekend we were here family came from Gaborone to visit and meet us. One of the pictures I will post is of us while we were waiting with Thato, who goes to University in Gabs, to hitch a ride back. Hitch hiking is one of the predominant ways to travel here. People tend to reimburse the drivers who pick them up with whatever the going rate is for travel.
John and I are staying in the main house on the Kgotla and seem to have a relatively large amount of space compared to other volunteers. We have electric, running water cold water, and have a bathroom that is mainly ours (we share it with the guest room when people are visiting). I think this has helped us with integration because we have an intermediate amount of privacy and do not have to just hide in our room when trying to do homework which needs concentration. We are having occasional times of being overwhelmed, but they seem to pass fairly quickly.
We also arrived at a great time of year. There has been several events at the main kgotla (where the chief is) and the Peace Corps are brought in as honored guests. We were able to see traditional dancing and get a good taste of culture. There are also a lot of weddings and funerals. We have only been to 2 weddings yet, but a cousin is getting married soon and family is coming in town for events this weekend. I think I will be going to my first bridal shower Saturday.
Well time is running short here, so over and out for now. One last note, our cell phones have a problem receiving calls from AT&T phones, so if our folks passed on our number be aware of this. Also, the families should have our address if anyone wants to write. We will try to post again soon! Love to everyone!