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.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Africa update

OK, this isn't Charlie, it's her daughter, Karin.  But Charlie sent me some pix she took in Botswana, and I thought I'd put a few on here so that anyone following her blog can see them.  Some look like postcards, don't they?  My mom is all kinds of talented!

Charlie has finished her training and is now an official Peace Corps volunteer.  She is stationed in Mabustane, a village of about 2000 people.  I'm not exactly sure how far "Mabs" (as my mom calls it) is from Gabarone (capital of Botswana, where she was training).  She has her own house with electricity and plumbing, but no central heating.  It is winter in Botswana, and one morning it was 56 degrees inside her house. 

Here is how she describes her job:
"I am assigned to the District Health Management Team, which is the equivalent to the state health department for the district. So far I have been doing projects like setting up a purchsing system for supplies on Excel for them. They recently transferred the entire district health clinic system from the Department of Local Government to the Ministry of Health, and that stripped out all their administrative systems. The MOH has never had health clinics, health posts, and mobile health stops in its system so doesn't know quite how to handle it. In the meantime there are people getting service and we need supplies. So I am making stopgap systems until everything gets rolling.  
I am also working a bit with the District AIDS coordinator, the person responsible for coordinating all the activity aimed at fighting AIDS."

The internet is very slow in Mabs, so she isn't able to access email or update her blog/FB pages as easily as she'd like to.  I will keep pestering her to do so, as each day for her is an adventure, and I'm sure we'd all love to go with her!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Catching Up with Apologies

Actually, I have to apologise twice, because I wrote a wonderful blog entry for this and it never made it to the Internet. The Net is very slow here, one clicks on a link and then sits back, sips tea, sends a text message, and if you are lucky the link holds. Or, it may disappear and you begin over. It feels like the very early days of dail-up.

I must clarify Karin's post with the pictures. There are a couple in there that I took off the internet and then mistakenly included them when I sent the flash drive to Karin. She of course was not to know. But some are indeed mine.

During our training, we had a week where we went and shadowed a current volunteer. My assignment was in Maun, an excruciating bus ride to the north of Botswana, but a beautiful place once you get there. It is at the site of an inland delta - a river from Angola enters the northern border of Bots and them simply deltas out into nothing. I have no idea why. But it is a haven for wildlife and Bots has wisely made very large game preserves to allow them to continue to live naturally. Some even live outside the preserve - some of the giraffe pictures were taken as we were traveling to a remote health post outside of Maun. But we did take a Saturday, hire a jeep, and drive into the preserve. Wow, wow, wow. There is nothing like an elephant bursting out of the brush inches from your front bumper as he dashes to join his colleagues on the other side of the road. Thank goodness our guide/driver has excellent reflexes.

I am going to try to keep my posts short, but more frequent, in order to baby my internet connection.