Today marks my one month anniversary of arriving in Botswana. It is hard to believe that it has been a month already, yet in other ways it feels like I have been here for longer.
What I am still crystal clear about is that this was the best decision that I have ever made in my life. Not only am I enjoying living here in Gabs but the work suits me perfectly. When I first arrived I was nervous about coming to BONASO because I learned that a high number of other very qualified candidates for this position had been turned down over the past year. Of course I immediately thought that I could not possible live up to the expectations that were set when I was chosen for the job.
This week has proved to me that I am the perfect fit for this position. In fact, every day challenges me to bring my skills, knowledge and experience to the table in an entirely new way. The amount of work to be done is overwhelming, the challenges feel insurmountable and the time lines incredibly tight. Yet every day Oscar and I tackle and overcome at least one challenge that others said was impossible. Resurrecting a national organization that has gone bankrupt, left a trail of legal liabilities and no infrastructure back to being the lead umbrella organization representing all of the service providers who are part of a national operational strategy and plan is certainly not easy. But we are doing it and proving those with doubts or mired in the past wrong.
I feel privileged to be able to sit in meetings as I did this morning and input into how the National Strategy will be formed over the next couple of years. I am able to voice my opinions that will in fact change how government, donors and civil society respond to the growing HIV/AIDS epidemic. I can advocate for better research into why prevention methods are not working or causing an increase in gender based violence. I can play a role in the creation of a new government council that should be fully representing the most vulnerable in society.
One month here I know that I do have the opportunity to make a change, I just need to be up for the challenge, the hard work and the never-ending impossible tasks and deadlines.