As I wrap up the last week in the ‘Kops before In-Service Training, I’d like to reflect on what I’ve learned in the past two months at site. This lockdown period is often called the most difficult time in a volunteer’s lifecycle, after all, and although I have only 4 months in country to compare, I may have to agree.
In this period of time, I’ve become very well acquainted with myself. I haven’t spent so much time alone since, well, ever. One of my greatest fears about service (and life, really) was isolation. I know it has only been 2 months, but I’d like to think I am well on my way to conquering this one. I’ve also learned that my limits are much deeper than I once gave myself credit for. I have been living with limited electricity since I arrived, and no indoor water. Such conditions certainly are not the norm for Peace Corps in Botswana, but I’m proud of the fact that I can survive like this. It has been a big change for me in so many ways (my shaggy appearance included). I’m a great deal more self-sufficient now, and I’ve even picked up some provincial-life skills like making bread. I have yet to pick up my guitar, which shows me that I haven’t totally lost touch with my former self – yes, I can still procrastinate.
I’m looking forward to this conference. It means that I’ve survived the hard part; though I’m not entirely convinced the job gets easier from here on out. I will get to reconnect with my Bots 10 family, which is sadly 20% lighter than it was on April 1. I’ll probably take a fair few showers as well. It also means I’m no longer on lockdown and I can travel outside the country! This is a big milestone, even if the only thing I have to show for it is still being here.