Hello All – I have some updates form Gary and Teresa- they are sorry that they can not talk and update everyone but the internet is not like it is here! Josh and I have been lucky enough to talk to them every couple weeks and have gotten emails on off. Even some pictures finally made it through.
Since we have the rare opportunity of Internet access, we will write an update even though not much is new. We will try to attach pictures but if it doesn’t work we will try to attach them to an email and get our kids to post. Email seems ok but other web sites are hard to access. This is made particularly hard since Teresa seems to have forgotten every password she ever had including the one to her Last Pass account.
We are in week 6 of 10.5 of pre service training. We find out our site on Wednesday and leave for a two week site visit on Friday or Saturday. Gary and I are pretty sure where we will be based on the overlap between our two sectors- NGO and Lifeskills- and the list of sites. But, one is surprised every day here. If we are right we will be fairly close to the capital- Gaborone- which has its advantages and its disadvantages. One big disadvantage is that the water situation in Gaborone is dire. Some people have not had water for 5 weeks and have to get it from friends who do have water. Makes California look like a rain forest. With any luck we will be able to see our house that we will be in for two years. For these two weeks we stay with another family.
Setswana lessons continue but they seem to get pre-empted for other things. The language is tonal (only two not four like Chinese) and has cases- like Latin. It makes sense in some ways but is totally confounding in others.
We went to a cultural festival, Dithuburuba, last Saturday which is a Thanksgiving celebration. Great dancing and traditional food which we are getting used to but have not yet learned to relish. My host mom gave me traditional dress (skirt, apron and wool shawl) which won me another tv interview. This one will air in South Africa so I won’t get to see it. Shout out to Gabriel and Alisa- the show is Roots- not sure which channel but maybe Gabriel’s parents watch it. Also- if Rhonda and Jerry are following the blog!
We celebrated our 36th anniversary by buying ice cream and a candy bar to mix in (no sauce available). It was pretty good. Not really any restaurants other than fast food fried chicken (KFC and its knock offs) so if we do get placed near Gaborone, maybe next year we will have more options. I can see from email that many of you commented on Alisha’s post about our anniversary but I can’t get in to Facebook to read anything.
Our big excitement is that tomorrow, one of the staff is bringing us pizza from Gaborone for lunch. Gary and I will share a spicy chicken pizza. Since cheese is scarce and very expensive, we are all curious as to what we will actually be getting but hey- we are easily thrilled at this point. We trade off cooking for the family with sisters and host mom but they don’t really like what we make so sometimes we just cook for ourselves like the peanut curry over spaghetti we made for ourselves the other night. We are getting pretty good at two -burner cooking but two more burners and/or an oven would be really nice.
From Gary – short and sweet facts!
The food is very similar in cost – some is more and some is less; Hamburger meat was about $175/lb and some soy milk was $1.70/qt. White bread is pretty cheap and vegetables are rather expensive. I still have not been abel to find decent coffee (will be in the first care package!)
The average income of teacher is $600-$700 plus housing. Taxis are like shared rides – you get in, they pick people up along the way and you eventually get to your location.
We are determined to make it on our peace corp salary and not spend much out side of that other then for traveling.