A Poem of Love

Just when I thought that the day couldn’t get any better or more filled with love, it keeps on pouring in. I am one very lucky person to be blessed with so many wonderful people in my life.

One of my very special friends is also one of the most talented poetry writers that I have ever read. Deb can get an idea for a poem and write it in as little as five or ten minutes. Every time she sends me one it always speaks to me in a way that no one else’s poetry ever will. She has graciously agreed to let me share her Valentine’s Day poem that she wrote for her friends.

Thank you Deb for writing poetry that touches my soul!

 

If you took red from a rainbow

Would it still be a rainbow?

If it did not rain and we could

See it every day, would it

Still be as magnificent?

 

When a flower blooms

In all its beauty

But just for one day, one hour

Is it still considered beautiful?

 

If a tree produces just one apple

Is it still an apple tree?

 

And if I can go for just one day

One hour without you in my life

Does that mean I do not need you?

 

Or does it mean that I know how much

I need you to lighten my load

To share my dreams with

To hold me when I cry

And laugh with me

When tears run from my eyes

 

So what do you call a friendship?

That is so much more than that

One that teaches, and reaches

Into your very soul

 

Bringing into your life

Rainbows and flowers

Dewdrops and wisdom

Acceptance and love

That my friend is called

Soul mates

 

That my friends are what we are

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Love is in the Air!

I could not have had a better Valentine’s Day!

As those closest to me know, I am not a fan of Valentine’s Day but this year there was lots of love in the air making it a very nice day.

Starting with coming home last night to a valentine’s gift on my bed from the Consul herself. She is the kindest most thoughtful person. The package contained some yummy snacks for Lawrence and I to take on the road tomorrow morning…we are leaving my place at 4:00 am to begin our drive. So thoughtful!

I also loved the tag that she pinned to the package. It stated:

Once in a while in the middle of an ordinary life Love gives us a Fairytale – Unknown-

Then just after mid-night I got a wonderful text message that was so thoughtful and sweet! I am not divulging the sender but it wasn’t romantic gesture but a wonderful show of love.

My morning drive was full of love too! Tabuche has never driven so carefully and gently ever. The reason why – Princess was in the car. He was dropping her off at the vet clinic right after dropping me off at work. She had been in the carrier since 11 pm the night before and she was very talkative. Of course her and I had to have a conversation. Poor Tabuche could barely get a word in edge wise but he did and ever one showed just how much he truly loved this little kitten. Princess of course was happy to hear the sound of his voice. There is no doubt that the love affair is mutual! I could not have asked for a better home for the wayward kitten.

She is beautiful, still very tiny but her green eyes are gorgeous and take up half of her face. She is cuddly and loving. I stuck my finger into between the wires to stroke her and she licked my finger. Tabuche warned me that she bites him and then licks but I only got licks. I think that just like me she likes to torment him just a little 🙂

When he picked me up from work tonight he had just gotten her from the clinic. She was still very groggy from the drugs and spent much of the short ride home with her head in the water dish attached to the door. When we pulled into Tabuche’s yard there was a reception committee to greet her. Mma Buche came first, then his daughter. The dogs were barking and no one could wait for her to let out of the carrier. Of course that honor went to Tabuche and no kitten has ever been lifted so gently and lovingly. Princess still very wobbly from the drugs had to make the rounds of being picked up and cuddled only to be passed on to the next family member.

Watching the whole family love this little waif kitten was the very best Valentine’s present I could ever get! The outpouring of love for Princess was so amazing. And it included them all thanking me for bringing her into their lives. Princess is the luckiest kitten in Botswana. For a four week kitten who was stuck in a tree and jumped through an electric fence on her journey to find a home, I think that if she could talk she would certainly say that it was worth it!

For me, I can go back to Canada in 10 months time knowing that the scared little lost kitten is living the life of luxury and being loved like no other kitten I have ever seen. And that my friends makes this a wonderful day of love!

This is a fantastic blog! I love the hilarious pictures and it exactly suits my funky personality!

Tabuche has a cold! Am I guilty?

The poor man, I noticed this morning that he sounded a little stuffy and he was coughing a little. Tabuche is one of the healthiest men I know so I suspected that he caught the virus that is running rampant across Gaborone. Yes, I am not the only one made miserable with it. Mr. Peter has been home for the last two days with it.

By the time Tabuche picked me up this afternoon he was very stuffed up and coughing. Of course, I feel guilty for having infected the poor man whether it was actually really me who did. On our drive home I strongly encouraged him to whine and moan just as I had done but of course, he wouldn’t. Saints don’t whine obviously! So of course, I feel guilty about that too!

Like me, he planned to just rest tonight so he can get right back to work in the morning. Tomorrow is a big day for him and I. We are dropping Princess (see blog posts https://cheryljdalziel.com/2012/11/22/tabuche-has-achieved-sainthood/ and https://cheryljdalziel.com/2012/12/10/princess-update/) off at the Vets in the morning so she can have her procedure.

My concern about teenage pregnancy also extends to Princess, as she has a habit of sneaking out of the yard at night. Unlike me, I don’t think she is out dancing so it is definitely time to have her spayed. The vets here are very efficient. She gets dropped off first thing in the morning and he will pick her up to go home around 6:30.

I will attempt to take another picture of her as she has grown so much but a cat in a carrier is usually not very amenable to having their picture taken. We will see…luckily Tabuche gets the fun of getting her into the carrier without me.

Aren’t I evil????? I give the man my cold and then leave him to fend for himself to get a very independent kitty into a carrier for the first time ever. That is why he is the Saint and I am not!

Living with Royality

I am now living in an official Diplomatic enclave!  The flag has been hoisted –

The Netherlands flag
The Netherlands flag

 

The shields are up –

 

Embassy Row
Embassy Row

 

Consulate Office
Consulate Office

 

It is now official, Jetske Trueman is the Honourary Consul of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Botswana

 

The Consul & Consort
The Consul & Consort

 

So now I must officially behave myself…physically impossible I know but I will try… and I must curtsey to Her Majesty upon seeing her first thing in the morning. Thankfully, I received diplomatic training twenty-five years ago when I was completing my Masters in International Relations in Paris, France so only a refresher course is required.

When I moved into Peter’s Place, I had no idea that I would be residing within diplomatic walls…guess that means that I have to start wearing underwear around the property on really hot days:)

Seriously, I am so happy and proud of Jetske. She is the perfect person to perform this role, as not only does she have a storied career in the diplomatic corps before she gave it all up to marry “young handsome” aka Mr. Peter. But she is a caring, compassionate, intelligent and extremely organized woman. There is no doubt in my mind that she will not only excel in the performance of her duties but will set a whole new standard to which her successors will need to achieve as well.

Congratulations Jetske on assuming the full duties of Honourary Consul of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Botswana!

Introducing Tabuche!

The Saint!
The Saint!

I realized that I have been terribly remiss in not posting a picture of the Saint Tabuche, who is not only the best driver in Africa but the best man in Africa! Sorry Lawrence!

Today was a big day for him as he got to appear before a government board to apply for his permanent license to operate a taxi business in Botswana. He has been operating on temporary permits which mean that every few months he has to appear before the panel and reapply. This permanent permit will mean that he has been recognized and will not have to reapply.  As soon as he gets the official paperwork you can be sure that I will ensure that he celebrates this amazing achievement. I could not be happier or prouder.

Here I go Again!

Remember that motto of mine? “Have suitcase, will travel!” Well, here I go again…..

Where to you ask?

Gantsi.

It is the centre of Gantsi District and it’s claim to fame is that it is the furthest town from all other Botswana urban centers  The area is known for its indigenous peoples, the San. I am going to facilitate a strategic planning process for an organization that consists of a network of 8 NGOs whose goal is to empower these vulnerable people and assist them through economic development achieve permanent control over their lives, resources and destiny.

It was a very last minute thing – they required an experienced facilitator so WUSC asked me after striking out with other ODAs. I got the formal request on Friday, the sessions are this up-coming Saturday and Sunday. No pressure, huh? Oh, and by the way, Lawrence and I need to drive 900 kms to get there and another 900 kms back 🙂

So I spent yesterday working on a drafting a strategic planning exercise. I still haven’t finished it so I need to work on it tonight. I was out of the office all day today and will be out again tomorrow attending Governance training for my board. Can you say busy?????

But I am happy to be doing this as I am taking my buddy along to build his capacity in facilitating strategic planning or should I say he is taking me:) He has to drive as the vehicle is a standard and due to my wonky ankle, I can’t operate a clutch anymore.

I am also visiting a part of the country that I haven’t been to yet. We are staying a lodge that is owned and operated by the trust that I will be doing strategic planning for. The link to see it is http://www.dqae.org/ Of course it is a game area, with cheetahs and leopards. I am truly a mercenary as part of my negotiations to agree to doing this on such incredibly short notice, I asked that they arrange an evening game drive for us so that I can see the big cats at night when they are out and about.

So of course with a 1800 km road trip, indigenous people, game and who knows what else I will have plenty to blog about. My only problem is staying stationary long enough to be able to write 🙂

 

 

 

Today was a very good day!

Yippee!!! Visible progress. Today was an incredibly good day for this Organizational Development Advisor. Who doesn’t like to see progress?

Sometimes when you are patience enough things really do start to come together. Today, Lawrence and I completed one of our reports for the Maatla Project that outlines our accomplishments over the past two months. Amazingly enough we have very real substantial accomplishments that clearly show our progress within our Scope of Work.

It is funny how you can be so busy working on things with realizing how much you are actually accomplishing. Then came the icing on the cake! We now have a functioning phone line!!!!! I am beyond happy about that. Things that you normal take for granted can be real cause of celebration.

So today I am celebrating!

 

On a lighter note

Mine and Tabuche’s honeymoon has come to a crashing halt! Oh, don’t worry I am still his favourite passenger so he tells me! But like any relationship he has finally seen the real me.

You see, yesterday I found myself in the grip of a cold….Yes, a cold! It amazing me that in 40 degree weather I could have a cold. However, it was a gift from the gathering in Zanzibar last week. Two of the guys, one of whom was sitting next to me all day every day for five days had colds. So now Cheryl has a cold!

Fortunately I don’t get colds very often at all…. but unfortunately, when I do get one, particularly the first 24 hours I am truly a miserable human being. For someone who could walk on a broken leg, TWICE, for at least 24 hours before going to a hospital or doctor you would think that a cold would be a piece of cake. No, in fact it turns me into a miserable whining horrible person!  Just ask my mother. When I can’t breath through my nose you don’t even want to talk to me let alone be stuck in a car in traffic with me.

Poor, poor Tabuche! He had the misfortune of having to take me home yesterday afternoon when I was at my absolute worse. I whined, I moaned, I tried to breath and then I repeated it all over again. He was appropriately sympathetic. He offered me all kinds of home remedies. In fact he was his perfect saintly self. And you could absolutely tell that he was counting every second until he could get me out of his car. I don’t think that the poor man has ever wanted to be rid of me so quickly. Upon leaving his car I graciously assured him that I would be a much nicer person in the morning when he picked me up. That the whining would have ceased and that I would be feeling at least some what better.

This morning he cautiously greeted me and was truly ecstatic when he could sense that the whining monster of the afternoon before wasn’t making a reappearance. In fact, he couldn’t believe that I actually was much more like myself even though he had a very hard time to understand me with my nasally accent.

When he picked me up tonight he proudly noted that I had actually improved during the day and that I sounded so much more like myself. Which was a good thing as we were stuck in traffic for a long time. The relief that I wasn’t going to whine and moan was visibly apparent. So, yes the honeymoon is over. But we have survived our first rough patch and he proudly calls me one tough lady….I will explain that one in another blog posting. So now I need to go to bed early again tonight and get over this miserable cold. Tabuche has literally seen the worse of me, cold sore and all. I need to become a lady again so my halo is permanently tarnished 🙂

 

 

On A Serious Note

On my next blog posting I had meant to tackle the serious of topic of teenage pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections. I know! Thrilling topics but ones that are very important to the work that I am doing here in Botswana. Particularly after the meetings that I participated in last week.

In every one of the 30 District Health Plans that we reviewed the issue of rising rates of teenage pregnancy were identified.Back on my first trip to the Chobe District of Botswana that I made two weeks after arriving here four months ago, I attended my first DMSAC meeting (District Multi-sectoral Aids Committee). During this four hour meeting in a room with no air conditioning and baboons playing outside I got my first indications that teenage pregnancy was a major concern.

Last week my instincts were not only confirmed but backed up with district statistics. The M & E (monitoring & evaluation) side of me was blissfully happy!  Not that it was an issue but now that I had the data to support my concerns and a platform to leverage program change to address the issue. Could it get any better than that? Also in the room was the National Aids Coordinator from NACA who is responsible for coordinating civil society efforts within the government and National Strategy framework. Being typical Cheryl, I made sure that I secured agreement from him that this was a serious national issue and one that needed to be addressed by all levels of government and society.

He absolutely agreed with me and we are going to sit down next week to plan out our advocacy approach to secure Presidential support for a change in the National Strategic Plan. This is a big deal because 1) it is officially the President who has responsible for the National Strategic AIDS Strategy; 2) teenage pregnancy is about so much more than health issues. It is culturally, education, economic, gender, legal…I think you get the picture. Changing the ship’s direction (or Country’s) at this point in time is almost impossible. The National Strategy runs to 2016. The economy can not continue to support the escalation in costs to the health system that HIV and Aids requires. The President has been very clear about that and he is very correct.

I know, you are all thinking that makes it impossible odds. Actually, for me it makes it my focus. Oscar brought me to Bonaso to do and build capacity in advocacy. I have never met an impossible challenge that I backed down from and when it involves a generation of young women you can be guaranteed that there is no way in hell I am going to let this go. While I love my role as Organizational Development Advisor because every day I am using the varied and multiple skills that I felt were drying up in Canada. On any given day, I go from providing technical advice, guidance and creating systems in finance, human resources, data bases, governance, m & e, communications, strategic leadership, inter-agency collaboration, the list goes on. My absolute love is and always will be policy work, which includes advocacy for policy changes. Throw in the opportunity to make a difference or build capacity in gender issues and I am one truly happy camper. So stay tuned! I will keep you posted my progress and road blocks.