Monday, August 13, 2012

Sally and the notebook

Here are some photos of our newly acquired kitty, Sally (for When Harry Met Sally – dad I know you appreciate the name).  It is amazing how great having a pet again is.  It really helps with loneliness.  J 

Quite a curious lump

Oh, it is a cat
Sally at a distance
She looks sweet
But wait..
Crazy KAT!!

Since arriving to Botswana I have been missing one key element to my life.  That is a good notebook that fits in my pocket.  I recall having scraps of paper litter my pockets for a long, long time.  Through factory floors of Amazon, sitting in comfy chairs at various call center jobs, and a moleskin that traveled to 3 of the four corners of the USA.  Maybe 2 and ½ corners since I am not sure where the south-western corner lies, it was close anyhow.  When I arrived here I got a notebook that could fit in my backpack and then a smaller one that fit in backpack, but I never really captured more than my “to do” lists.  I am not one to open up a backpack and retrieve a notebook if I see an interesting thing during a morning assembly much less walking the 15 minutes through the baked streets of Hukuntsi.  I finally got one a week or two ago and it is working pretty well.  The main thing I forgot about capturing the vignettes of everyday life is that the more you write down small things, the more you want to write about anything.  My blog posting went up and I am getting more done at work even.  My day planner today reads:

August 13 Monday – Day 1
7:30 Start of classes for Term 3
9:30 Make copies of EDC forms
14:00 Go to Makgakgane Primary to meet the school head

With the help of my notebook:

                I began the morning with learning to tie a new knot for my blue tie.  I have not worn a tie since before mid-June and instead of it feeling like a ball and chain, it makes me feel confident and ready for the day.  It is like a superman cape for the front of my body and it seems like it could stop bullets or at least the discouraging things I am likely to hear on the first day of the term.  I arrive early to school, which can be a challenge on some days, and catch up with some teachers I have not seen for a couple of months.  We go to morning assembly with most teachers present, but it still looks like a small showing.  The students are standing around and one of the Heads of Department is making his way through the tightly packed crowd.  It takes me a few seconds to comprehend, but he is making students take off their sweaters.  It is easily cold enough to see your breath and I was berating myself 15 minutes earlier for not remembering my gloves.  He has a mountain of clothes balanced on one arm and will later advise the students this will happen every day they do not follow the dress code.  While he is going through this the students are being informed they are missing about 7 teachers since they have gone for further studies and no replacements have been found.  I knew before the last term ended on June 29th which teachers were being sent for further studies so I ask myself why with more than a month there is not a teacher for every class.  This question echoes around my head for a while until the sound waves diminish below from bouncing around.  When I next pay attention I hear the students need to behave while not being taught or supervised.  I don’t think that is going to work well, but who knows.  I look down at my tie and realize it is not in fact blessed with the gift of repelling bad news.
                I am planning on bringing in my computer to entertain some classes until replacement teachers are found.  I hope it goes well and if the past is any indication the kids will find a way to make it through.  I spend the rest of the morning on the phone and in the computer lab making some copies for another project I am working on.  Overall, good things.  When I head out I stop by a shop that sells everything a PCV could hope to buy with our needs and budget.  I buy an immersion water heater that has a picture of how to use.  It shows two wrong ways and one right way, but the only difference I see is the bucket tops’ color.  I believe they are telling me to use a pink bucket but I am not certain yet.  I will have to run this one by the wife.  The reason I am picking up the water heater is that our gas for the stove is very nearly out.  It keeps flickering off and we have to watch it close to not have gas pouring in the room.  My program manager is on it though, so I think this will be taken care of soon.  I called him on Friday and he was worried about what we were eating all weekend.  It will be nice to have a backup water heater anyhow so it is worth the money.
                After lunch at the house I collected fresh dried clothes off the line.  Then I went to a primary school about 10 minutes away from the house and had one of the most productive meetings of my life.  I am going back Thursday to interview some teachers and kids.  I got to listen to Arcade Fire on the walk there and Avett Brothers on the trek back.  Also got a fist bump and a handshake by a 5 year old girl walking the road by herself.  Things are different, things are going well, and things are going by too fast.  We are having a get together in September to celebrate being in Botswana for a year.  A full year already, unbelievable.
                It is good to remember things you learned before and even better when those things help you to remember where you are and why you want to be there.  So see everyone all those pens are getting good use!!!


1 comment:

  1. i really love this blog post! one of my faves. its funny cause i almost sent you a notebook in your care pack... exactly the kind you describe... but the box was so full of chocolate that i ran out of room !! lol. tyler is looking for jobs down here in LA and i am getting unpacked slowly but surely. we decided we couldn't do a travel blog... too much hands... so instead, since you get facebook so easy, i'm trying to post our travels there. it's easier for me to post pics over text. i think of it as a picture journal. xoxoxoxoxo love love love your pics and stories. xoxoxox