Tuesday, June 19, 2012

June 15 - TeachAIDS Day

This past Friday was TeachAIDS Day in Botswana. TeachAIDS is an interactive flash animation that teaches kids about HIV/AIDS. It is a non-profit organization that produces HIV/AIDS related material that utilizes local norms and analogies. I especially enjoy knowing that this tool utilized local celebrity voices for the characters in the video. The tool also went as far as ensuring characters accurately reflected the Batswana (the people of Botswana) in terms of looks and mannerisms. On an overall, It is a great tool and I have been using it since we were presented the tool during our In-Service Training. 

On TeachAIDS Day we were all tasked with the goal of presenting TeachAIDS to the community. I collaborated with two volunteers to present TeachAIDS at a primary school, and to health workers in a nearby village. On an overall, the day went smoothly, we had all the necessary tools and resources (transportation, speakers, laptop, and projector) to present the tool in the community. Here are some photo's from that day:

Mia introducing the video and the PCV Volunteers who came to visit

The kids watching TeachAIDS in the school's cafeteria

Diana asking some discussion questions after the video

Learn more about TeachAIDS at: www.teachaids.org
Check out YouTube video clips of TeachAIDS at: www.youtube.com/user/TeachAIDS  

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Losing a Friend - Early Terminating Volunteers

In September 2011, Bots 11 (Peace Corps 11th group of Volunteers) arrived in Botswana. Up until last month, my group had the acclaimed fame of having all 35 volunteers or 100% of us remaining in Botswana. Having everyone in a Peace Corps group remain in the country for their service is unusual. Usually, an average of 30% of the Volunteers that come to the country will leave at some point in time in their service.

Losing a volunteer is a painful time for a group of Volunteers. With that in mind, losing our two Volunteers from our group has been a sad moment for my Bots 11 family. These fellow volunteers were a part of our support system during this Peace Corps adventure. This sad but familiar felling can be equated to having a friend or relative abruptly leave.

Unfortunately, people leave the Peace Corps early for many reasons. As a Volunteer we sacrifice a lot to get here, and at the same time we leave many things behind. We leave our family and friends. Some of us leave our jobs or even sell our houses. Deciding to go back home can be an easy or hard decision (depending on the person). This decision can also be sometimes made for us. Peace Corps categorizes these reasons into four categories.

Resignation is when a Volunteer decides to discontinue their service.

Medical Separation:
Medical Separation can occur if a Volunteer has a medical condition that cannot be accommodated or resolved within the country

Administrative Separation:
A Volunteer can be Administratively Separated if he or she fails to follow the policies and regulations that in place for their safety and well-being. This decision is made by the Country Director.

Interrupted Service:
Interrupted Service can occur if the country or site the volunteer is located is in a circumstance that can not be amended. This decision is also made by the Country Director.

(Resource: http://www.peacecorpswiki.org/Early_Termination)

Leaving the country we are assigned to can mean leaving our host families, counterparts, and new friends. After establishing close relationships and partnerships the idea of leaving prior to a persons close of service date can be tough. Even though leaving can be tough, sometimes it can be the best decision.

For our lost two Volunteers, please know that you are forever a Bots 11. We all admire you for making a decision that was right for you, but we do miss you. You both have positively impacted and touched all our lives. Thank you for the sweet memories.


Sunday, June 10, 2012

Colder in Botswana

This morning I woke up to hearing water leaking from my roof. Apparently, my geyser broke that night, and I became the lucky resident with a leaky roof. What is a geyser, you might ask? A geyser is similar to a water heater. Water is either heated by sunlight or electricity at my house. It is located on my roof.

Prior to today, I was living a great Posh Corps. Posh Corps is a term used to describe Peace Corps Volunteers who have some amenities that are similar to people currently living in the United States. I have a two bedroom house with indoor plumbing. What more could I ask for? Well today I know that answer, hot water. There is nothing like taking a hot shower or bath. Prior to coming to my site I was accustomed to heating my water over the stove, and filling the tub or a bucket with half hot water and half cold. It was not a very tedious task, but having a geyser made things very simple.

Gone are the days of little to no effort when preparing for a bath. I am very saddened by this fact as winter is already here.


Cold in Botswana,