It's been a while since I wrote in this blog, so I figured I'd do a little update. I haven't really been up to anything exciting in the last little while. Actually, I didn't venture too far from my house this weekend, due to some suspicious meat. It gave me a chance to take everything in, and it was kind of a little vacation for me. After reading three books and watching countless movies, I was kind of shocked when I finally left my house on Saturday night to realize that yes, I'm still in Botswana.
Since I don't have anything that exciting to write about, I think I'll just write down little things I've noticed here that I haven't mentioned yet.
-I've been here almost a month and I hardly know any Setswana. I can say "Hi, how are you?" "I'm fine," and "Goodbye." Oh, and "No Smoking," but I just read that off a sign.
-When you meet someone on the sidewalk, and you have to get out of the way, you have to veer left here, not right as most of us do at home. It probably has to do with the fact that people drive on the left-hand side of the road. Needless to say, I bumped into a lot of people in the first week.
- Coke (the pop) has taken Botswana by storm. Everybody drinks it, all the time. In fact, sugar itself is really popular here. Once, someone asked me if I wanted tea, and before he handed it to me, he dumped a heaping tablespoon of sugar into it. I usually don't put any sugar in tea, but I didn't want to be rude, so I said that was fine and drank it. He was surprised that I only took one giant scoop, as he continued to put about 4 in his.
- Every day, I learn that AIDS is more prevalent than I imagined. I just finished editing an article about a youth orchestra in Lobatse (a village outside Gaborone). Recently, the orchestra has taken on an income-generating initiative. They play at funerals. Weddings and other events requiring music aren't as frequent, so funerals was decided as their most viable option.
- Even in a city as metropolitan as Gaborone, certain rural aspects are not out of the ordinary. For example, today, as soon as I left the gate of my subdivision, I saw two donkeys on the side of the road, eating some grass. There wasn't a farm or farmer around, so I don't really know where they came from, but they didn't seem too concerned, and neither did anyone else on the street.
- Some things here are relatively cheap, like P10 ($2) for a full meal, but other things have about the same price they have at home. Gas is over 5 pula per litre, so a little over one Canadian dollar per litre. Also, most appliances cost about the same here as they do at home. It's the same companies that distribute them (Black & Decker, etc), so they probably don't change their retail price much from country to country.
- Even the most mundane animals look "exotic" here. There are little birds, that are everywhere here, that look like sparrows. They're grey-ish brown on top and pretty bland. When they fly, however, you see that their bellies are a bright, shimmery blue. Even the pigeons here have dark red spots on their heads.
- I think people are starting to realize that my roommates and I are going to be around for a while. We aren't being asked for taxis as much, and people don't think we're lost when we go to the bus rank. I guess we're starting to fit in around here.
- Every day after work, I have to pass by a hairdresser's place. Every day after work, the hairdresser yells, "Haircut!" at me (a few of Youth Associates, including me, are trying to see how long we can grow our hair). Every day after work, I say to the hairdresser, "Not today." If I do break down and decide to get it cut, that hairdresser is the man for the job.