This blog represents my personal reactions to my experience as a Peace Corps volunteer. It is not an official communication from the United States Government or the Peace Corps.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Friends out there!

How cool is this? Facebook has a group of others going to Botswana in April! I can now officially share my excitement as well as my nervousness with others who understand.

Well, I thought I had retired from the political world, but a dear friend called just before Christmas asking me to be her legislative Aide until I go. She is newly elected to the Colorado Senate and I do believe she is one of the most capable and honest people in our legislature, so I guess I have a job after all until April 1. It's probably a good way to keep my anxiety level in check!

I have also located the blog and email of a friend (a nurse practitioner) from Denver who is also in Botswana at this time. What a gift - to have someone to ask - do they cook with olive oil in Bots? and similar questions.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Welcome! Just two days ago I accepted an invitation to serve with the Peace Corps in Botswana. Botswana is a country of approximately 2 million people, in a land area slightly smaller than the state of Texas, and is located just north of South Africa. It has the second highest prevalence rate of HIV/AIDS in the world - nearly 25% of its population. My job title will be 'Community Capacity Builder' in the HIV/AIDS Capacity Building program. Departure date is April, 2011.

Because I am not sure who all will be reading this blog, here is some basic information about me. I have a doctorate degree in Public Health, and the focus of the program was health policy. But it was a well balanced program, with courses in epidemiology, health law, environmental health, and lots, lots, lots of statistics. I am not sure how all that will be put to use in Botswana, but I am sure to find out!  For several years, I worked with our state legislature as an independent contract lobbyist, focusing predominantly, though not exclusively, on health issues. I also worked with non-profits and a bonding authority that served as the financing authority for education and cultural institutions.

I will be leaving behind a daughter who has just married her long-term boyfriend and received her master's degree, so I feel very confident that they will be just fine while I am gone, and will help Mom with homesickness when it hits - as it invariably will. I will also be leaving my black lab mix, named Nigel, who will not understand why I suddenly disappeared. I am hoping Skype will help me reassure him that I will be back.

I'm told that even though Botswana is roughly the same distance from the equator as is southern Florida, winters are cold there! Because Botswana is in the southern hemisphere, I will be arriving in the fall and have another winter to look forward to. For anyone who is geographically impaired I recommend Google earth. The program can take you anywhere, and go right down to housetop level. In many instances, you can even get a street view. Take a tour of Botswana and see the diamond mines!