Well, I got through my first evening and full day in Botswana with major incident…sort of….
Last night we were taken out to dinner by two of the WUSC field staff and then were picked up bright and early this morning for a full day of orientation and activity. After getting a wonderful night’s sleep I was up and enjoyed breakfast on my private terrace listening to the sounds of birds and the wind in the trees. There is a huge mountain range almost next to where I am living and I feel like am not in a city at all.
The activities for today including filling out forms, visiting apartments as the other couple from Canada have not found accommodations as yet. Visiting these apartments made me realize even more how lucky I am to have found the place I am in. It is perfect for me and even last night as I was dropped off after dinner I felt like I was coming home. Tonight my landlady Jetkse gave me dog and kitty treats to keep in my apartment as I have regular company! The landlord and lady will be away for the weekend so while the housekeeper will feed the cats and dogs, I am told that they will likely be hanging out in my apartment with me when I am home.
We were taken to lunch today by the entire WUSC staff at a traditional African eatery and we sat outside in the shade in 36 degree heat but we were not too hot. The way the air feels here is so different from back home in Canada. Yes, it is hot when you are in the direct sun for long periods of time but that is what umbrellas are for and almost every place has some type of shade. The food was excellent, portions are huge here and you really do want to have a nap after you eat lunch. However, no rest for the wicked.
We spent the entire afternoon after lunch at the Immigration Office attempting to arrange our volunteer exemption visas. But first we had our pictures taken on the sidewalk outside of the Ministry building. Some of the many services that you can find on the sidewalk are street vendors selling food for lunch and apparently visa photos! You sat in a plastic chair while a woman held a white cloth behind your head and the photographer took your picture with a camera. Then you waited while the picture developed and he cut them down to size.
Next we ventured inside to the Ministry office to que and que we did for a couple of hours only to reach the counter and be told that the Revenue Office on the other side of the building had closed 1/2 hour before so therefore they could not provide us with any services. We are going back there for 7:30 tomorrow morning so that we can avoid the long line ups and get our exemption visas in process.
Tomorrow will be another full day of activity and orientation. And this weekend is a long weekend due to public holidays celebrating Botswana’s independence. Yet the caring WUSC staff are lining up activities to amuse us Canadians until Wednesday when we will have two more days of orientation before we actually start work with our organizations next Friday.
As for major incidents, I have already been described by several of the WUSC staff as unique…but none of them have refused to accompany me any where as yet. So far today, I made an entire school bus of young boys laugh and yell out the windows, danced with a man on the sidewalk and had a very silly exchange with a lovely young boy in the Immigration Office. All in a good days work for Cheryl .
Okay, it is now 7 pm my time. I need to eat supper and go to bed. Tomorrow is another very early and full day. The work day here starts at 7:30 in the morning and goes until 4:30 pm. So for all of your public servants complaining about your day it is easy compared to a day here. I am just lucky that I am a morning person so there will not be any adjustment for me.
One thought on “Orientation to life in Botswana”
Very good news. Hope you get your visa tomorrow.