Our Extended Family


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Africa » Botswana » Kweneng
July 23rd 2009
Published: July 23rd 2009EDIT THIS ENTRY

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.



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23rd July 2009

Wonderful to see and hear from you
Please to meet everyone! Shannon and Steve, We in Boise send our hearts to you and are so glad to meet your family. We will include them in our mindfulness practice, holding them in loving presence. A bow to all! Mtae
23rd July 2009

Welcome back to the net
Glad to see you're able to get your blog going. Especially the addition of some pix to help us feel like we're more a part of the experience. So, you're now liberated of fallacies!(?) LOL That alone would be worth the trip! Things on this side are just as fast, hectic and devoid of tranquility as ever, so hopefully you're able to at least take the time to both enjoy your experiences there as well as avoiding the rat race here. Love n Miss You 2, ~k
24th July 2009

A new Cousin!
Shannon, Thanks for the wonderful blog post. As I read the girls the story, they squeeled with joy at the thought of a new couson Keko! :) It all sounds so wonderful. Thanks for sharing and keeping us up to date with your wonderful adventure. I also was very moved by your finding common ground and spirit in all people. Truly wonderful! Love, Chad
24th July 2009

value and strength of families
They sound like a wonderful family and your expeiences and interactions appear enlightening and enriching!We miss you and look forward to hearing more from you soon.
24th July 2009

AWESOME
Shannon and Steve, You guys are being blessed beyond imagination from your experience and new friendships! Have fun and keep learning lots! Thanks, Mike Briggs
25th July 2009

Family!
Shannon, I miss you way way much, but am glad to hear you've met such a wonderful family and introduced them to use. It never ceases to amaze me how much we can say to one another without ever opening our mouths! A friendly smile, Love, kindness, and compassion speak voumes!! I love you way lots my sweet sis.
26th July 2009

Glad to hear from you
Love your interesting tales of your journeys. You have really been truly blessed with the people you have been able to meet and spend time with. I admire you both so much. Love, Fran
7th August 2009

I just love your updates. I print them for my hospice people so they too can keep updated. Sounds like you are have such great experiences. Just know you are in my thoughts and prayers. Love, Amy
3rd October 2009

expanded
My darn...what a great story and what experiences you are having. I just caught up with you and so glad I have. I can barely conceive of the depth of your joy with each interaction and sharing with this new extended family...Oh how I love to see and hear about it...Thank you Thank you...you and Steve look great and very happy...miss you.. love,marilyn
10th October 2009

Thanks!
Hi, Shannon, I wrote an email to your yahoo address, maybe you will get it. Then I found your blog address and what do you know! Here you are! Sounds as if you and Steve are still the loving and gracious people persons you have always been. And you are loved much in return. I know you are doing good work, and hope to hear more. Love, Carol

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