Published: July 23rd 2009July 23rd 2009
THE CONTENTS OF THIS BLOG ARE MINE PERSONALLY AND DO NOT REFLECT ANY POSITION OF THE U.S. GOVERNMENT OR PEACE CORPS.
Finally, I am blogging again! We have now been in Botswana for about three months and are sworn in as Peace Corps Volunteers. Sometimes it seems that we have been away from home much longer. It has been a continual learning process and nearly a constant state of not knowing, which is amusing to me because I am aware that I was also in a state of not knowing while back home in the States. However, my illusions of certainty and control were then much more intact. Our time here is beginning to liberate me from such fallacies.
I will do my best to cover the past three months in the next few blogs. I will start by introducing you to our host family. This is the family who welcomed us into their home for the time that we were in training, the Leririmas.
Bakgotla and Masego Leririma and their five children and two grandsons were gracious and generous hosts for our entire stay in Molepolole. Tsholo is the eldest daughter and has a six-year-old son, Teto,
whom we adopted as another grandchild. Next is a son, Ntebe who is in the Botswana National Defense Force and also has a six-year-old son, Seago, who was with us for a few weeks while on school break. We didn’t have time to officially become extra grandparents to him before he went back to his mother. Mosimanigape is the second son who is studying to be a teacher. Lame celebrated her twenty-first birthday while we were there and she works in Gaborone as a diamond polisher. The youngest, Papiso, is sixteen and a student at junior secondary school. All of them are delightful to spend time with. We don’t have photos of everyone, but will post what we have.
We could not ask for a better host family. We cooked together and shared food from the two different cultures. They aren’t much for mixed green salad, but are fans of coleslaw. Steve and I had to be careful not to Americanize it by sweetening the dressing. They loved it when Steve made popcorn for them, but aren’t big fans of lots of vegetables. We enjoyed magwinya, fried bread similar to donuts, but not sweetened with sugar or glaze. We
also liked the beans that they prepared. Steve particularly liked setswaa, a spicy pounded meat. We aren’t as fond of phaletshe or maize meal as is the host family, but then again, they didn’t think too much of veggie dogs or other soy products. Even though we are happy to be settling into our new home, we miss their company. Let me just highlight our experience we them.
This family was a wonderful reminder to us of the value and strength of families and the many ways they can be defined. This family offers love, support, patience and acceptance of one another, and often they best communicate this through few or no words. We enjoyed witnessing and being a part of the multi-generational interactions.
We were also touched by their generosity. What we are able to give to others is determined not by what we own, but by the capacity of our hearts. Our host family gave generously of their time, resources, patience, and acceptance of our foreign ways. Our cross-cultural exchanges were open, honest, and nonjudgmental. We cannot find words that fully express our gratitude to them.
Just as has been confirmed by our earlier travels,
we continue to believe that the people of the world are one in spirit. We discovered many more similarities than differences. This family not only welcomed us and put us at ease, they shared with us common joys, challenges, and hopes of all people. Our time with them was richly rewarding and will be fondly remembered.
There are more photos below