Happy Labor Day! Take the time today to enjoy your day off, grill out and crack open a few cold ones for me! PC (Peace Corps. Trying to get you all used to the abbreviations as we often times speak in fluently in abbrevs). Anyway, PC is honoring the US holiday for us volunteers and taking us on our first game park adventure to a Rhino Reserve. It is like a mini-safari and we are expecting to see a lot of wildlife. I promise to take pictures. On that note, the only reason I haven't uploaded more pictures is because I am having a hard time connecting my laptop to the internet and that is where all my pictures currently live. I am taking them though and will get them up here eventually.
I have been in country for three weeks now and time is moving much more quickly as I get used to my new routine, home, family, and being away from home. We are 1/4 of the way through PST (Pre-Service Training) and getting into much heartier and more applicable material which makes me one excited girl! Last week, we had a woman who is HIV positive come and speak with us about the stigma that surrounds HIV in Botswana. She explained to us that men here prefer not to be tested for HIV and that instead, they test through their women, meaning that if someone they have slept with is HIV positive, that is how they know they are too. The gender dynamic here is a tough thing to get used to. Men expect women to do everything for them and show little gratitude. Additionally, in my village, it is predominantly women and children, the men are simply not around. No one really has an explanation for this either. It is also standard that if a man buys a woman a drink at a bar, she is expected to sleep with him. I never considered myself much of a feminist stateside, but here, in the words of my sister Katie, my feminist blood boils! For now, my plan is simply to lead by example to other women in regards to empowerment and how they should expect to be treated.
The next few weeks are going to be an exciting time for us! On Thursday, I get to go observe at a school similar to the one in which I will be working. I am really excited to start more focused work. On Friday, we get to visit a diamond mine which is the number one driver for Botswana's economy. Very few people are granted access to this specific mine and we are honored to be invited. The following week, we get to travel to another village to shadow a current volunteer who works in the same program as we do. I am really excited for this because it will give me a good idea of what my day-to-day life will be like come October as well as give me a chance to see another part of Botswana. I know time will move quickly and before we know it, it'll be September 19th which is SITE ANNOUNCEMENT! I can't wait to learn where I will be living for the next two years. As of now, my primary concern is not that I have running water or electricity at site but that I will be close enough to other volunteers to travel to see them on the weekends. No two volunteers will be in the same village so isolation is a huge concern of mine.
Pictures will come soon, I miss you all and still would love to hear from you!