We have not posted much lately, because we are getting more and more integrated into everyday life. One of my friends wrote to me saying that maybe if she blogged about her life it would feel way more interesting to her. She provided a sample paragraph talking about her spectacular child getting an A in a very difficult class. She and her fabulous husband took stated spectacular child to a new little organic restaurant which was run by some incredible kind people with great work ethics. After the great meal all three got on the train, and they realized they were lucky to have access to public transit as they watched a beautiful sunset out the recently scrubbed clean window on the way home…………
I laughed my head off!!! It does seem like everything is somehow spectacular in either a good or a bad way when it is new and different from how we lived before, even when it is day-to-day life.
Some recent little things that come up from time to time:
Tipping: Here you are not supposed to tip. If you do tip you are asking to be played as a rich/guilty chump of whom should be taken advantage. When services are provided in Gaborone (the capital) the server can be tipped as much as 5%, but one should NEVER tip in a village. At first this seemed stingy and mean. But then I got used to the size of my pay check and the whole thing seemed much more doable. I was always a good tipper at home and I hope I will pick that habit back up after my service.
Hair: There is little opportunity to take care of straight hair here. I only wash my hair once or sometimes twice a week. I never get my hair cut, and when desperate I will take the scissors to my own head ever though I know, I should never cut my hair. Never. I asked some of my girlfriends back home to send a do it yourself highlights kit. When the highlights arrived I realized I didn’t really have mirrors, or clips or brushes like I did at home and John offered to help. I found out you should NEVER LET YOUR HUSBAND COLOR YOUR HAIR. Never. I now have orange hair. Like the color hunters wear to avoid being shot. I at least, got to get a cute new hat out of the deal.
Snitching: In the US snitching is very bad. Children who snitch are often viewed as being as bad as the kids getting snitched on. We all know this concept is taken to extreme sometimes when people won’t cooperate with the Police in cases of murder or rape.
Here snitching is a good thing. People put a much much higher value on the good of the community than the protection of a single person. I had told John how the kids will immediately rat out someone if a teacher wants information. I mean the whole class will clamor to be the one who tells.
The other day John was with me at the school when I saw some kids skipping class and I called them to come to me. They ran like the wind. But some other boys saw them and went on a chase. Each boy was tracked down and brought in front of me for punishment. The chasers stayed around to make sure the skippers knew what I was saying (some can’t speak English) and to help me “find the truth and give appropriate punishment”. The chasers not only helped me understand the situation they often threw in their own 2 cents about if the children were lying and generally were just let me know the skippers were “bad boys”.
John couldn’t believe what he was seeing and hearing. He asked me if the chasers were not afraid of being beat up. They are not. It is expected that everyone will pitch in to “make things right”, and in fact they are never beat up and are often rewarded.
Teddy Bears: A non-for-profit organization in the USA sent 100 homemade Teddy Bears to some grade school children at a school another PCV friends works at. She asked us to come and help pass them out. While the kids seemed to think these homemade bears were ugly (I think they are adorable), they loved getting anything from America. It was fun to be able to take part in such an event.