17 November 2010

Botswana v Tunisia

“Hurry up!  It’s starting!  Let’s go!”

“Geeze Tess, I didn’t know you were such a sports fan.”

I’m absolutely not.  I spent the entire season of kindergarten soccer picking dandelions and yelling at my dad to turn off the video camera.  Even so, nothing can beat the thrill of 10,000 fans wearing Botswana blue, cheering, singing, and blowing those damn World Cup horns.

Today I went to my first (hopefully the first of many) football game here in Botswana.  The Botswana Zebras were playing the Tunisia Vultures in hopes to score points toward playing in the Africa Cup in 2012.  It was absolutely crazy inside the stadium, and I ended up sitting on the ground behind the fence.

The smaller stadium at University of Botswana

As with most football games, nothing really happens until someone finally scores.  When Botswana did in the first half, the crowd went crazy.  Everyone was on their feet jumping and screaming.  My friend even got a kiss on the cheek from a random stranger.  (…Yes, that’s kind of creepy.)

Nicole: Does this headscarf make me look like a pirate?
Me: Yes.  But it's really cute!

There actually were three injuries during the game, and once while we waited the crowd did the wave.  Not once, not twice, but four times around the stadium.  I guess when the stadium is so small, four times around makes sense.

The ominous looking rainclouds at the end of the first half.  Luckily the storm held off.

At the end, when the score was still 1-0 Botswana, everyone began to sing.  I don’t know the words ka Setswana, but I was told that the English translation is, “Jesus, Jesus, look upon us now.”  As I’ve mentioned before, religion enters every aspect of life here.

Getting out of the stadium was pretty crazy.  People were parading around, crushing innocent bystanders (a.k.a. me), and mobbing the bus with the players on it.  Not even 20 minutes after the game ended, radio news stations were broadcasting the victory.


I made it through the game without picking even one dandelion, although I did thoroughly analyze which type of Botswana jersey I’d like to buy.  And I maybe checked out the players while they warmed up (football players have the cutest behinds).

I didn't want Tunisia to win, but I also didn't want their players to stop stretching right in front of me.

15 November 2010


Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is finally freed from house arrest!  Let's hope she stays that way.


02 November 2010

Youth Forum: Day One

Yesterday I checked my email at around 6pm, after work, and I had a message from my supervisor at the Ministry of Education, Jane.  She wanted to know if I could make a meeting at 9:00 the following morning to help plan for the Youth Forum.  Luckily, Peace Corps has made me nothing if not flexible, so I cleared my day and headed out the next morning at 6:45.

The meeting was two hours long, but really interesting.  There are two Youth Forums each year for orphans and vulnerable children from across the nation, aged 10 – 20 years old.  This Forum is expanding its capacity to 175 students and is being held in the Tuli Block, and one day there’s an excursion to see the wildlife.  It was great to be in a meeting with individuals who truly wanted to be there, and who wanted nothing but success for the Forum.  Many raised really good points as we discussed different aspects of marketing, logistics, and counseling services.

I fully expected my role to be “Peace Corps Volunteer: Help out with random things, mostly just observe, and play with the kids.”  However, Jane nominated me to be on the facilitation committee.  It entails evaluating different organizations in order to determine which one will be the best at facilitating sessions for the students.  On Friday, I am going to watch four organizations do activities with three different age groups, and after that decide which one to hire. 

Jane also informed me that she wants me to create a hands-on session about volunteerism.  I want to make it really interactive, and ideas are starting to formulate (although, if any of you can think of any games or activities that apply, please let me know).  I might even volunteer to do a couple dance sessions.  It could help students not only express themselves in a new way, but become more comfortable with themselves and with the other students, allowing them to open up more in the counseling sessions.

It feels great to actually be given responsibility!  

01 November 2010

Pula - Rain!

Last weekend, we had heat lightning, which was beautiful and amazing to watch.  The next morning, there was a ten minute downpour, which was also beautiful and amazing.  Having not seen rain since April, it’s much appreciated.

Wednesday evening there was another thunderstorm.  I told Katlo, the little boy who lives on my family compound, to come dance in the rain.  He laughed at me, as he always does when I have these “crazy” ideas.  I ran out in my gym shorts and a t-shirt anyway, did some cartwheels, and chassé-ed around on the pavement.  My landlord’s maid yelled in Setswana that I was going to “catch flu.”  Ignoring them, I sang whatever song I could think of, conveniently inserting the word “pula” into every line.

That’s when I noticed that there were four workmen fixing something on the roof of my landlord’s house, frantically trying to finish in the downpour, and they absolutely thought I was insane.  Too late to turn back, I just told them I was out of my mind (“Ke a tsenwa!”) and after that they laughed with me and maybe even started to enjoy the rain themselves (if nothing else, I certainly was entertainment to help pass the time as they worked).  Katlo gave in to the urge and joined me in dancing around.  Coconut, Blackie, and Doodle-doo (my landlord’s dogs) came out for the fun as well. 

It poured again last night, and while I didn’t choose to dance outside, I saw Katlo spinning around, embracing the fat raindrops and cool breeze.  I may fail at capacity building with the teachers at my school, but it’s nice to know I may be able to teach about appreciating life’s little pleasures. 

Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain.