I attended my first Botswana funeral last Saturday. The culture here is very community-oriented and everyone is invited to all weddings and all funerals. Unfortunately, this one was for someone I knew (a friend’s teenage daughter who was very sick). Like many other customs in Bots, the event was saturated with religion – daily prayer sessions are held for a week preceding the burial, and the day of is filled with praise songs. It’s hard for me to truly identify with that atmosphere, both because it is conducted in Setswana and it is so religion-heavy. Funerals are still funerals, and that means emotions running high for me. It was difficult to be in that setting since I didn’t get to attend my grandpa’s funeral a few months ago. Going through those motions does provide closure, however, and I may have subconsciously reached some semblance of it. I suppose it was a worthwhile experience, if only for that reason.
This morning I arrived at the hospital to find over two hundred people on the grounds. They were attempting to get one of the eight temporary employment spots cleaning at the hospital. I was completely flabbergasted when I learned that the jobs last only 9 days leading up to a visit by a high-level Ministry of Health official. There is a severe problem with unemployment in this part of the country, and a desperate need for some private sector growth. I’m not quite sure how my NGO fits into that yet, but I’ll be thinking on it quite a bit. One of the main problems my group faces is membership and retention. Is the solution to create non-profit employment? I wish I knew.
It is getting exponentially hotter here every day. The intermediate seasons don’t really exist here, so our “spring” was sprung in a matter of 2 weeks. It’s safe to say that there are no cold days left, meaning I will probably be saying good-bye to my beard soon in an effort to reduce my body’s heat retention.
Last week I got a kitten whom I have named Crunchy (for sentimental reasons). Having company in the house is nice, but I have never had a cat before. It will probably end up acting more like a dog since I treat it as such, but if you have any advice on getting it to stop clawing everything (including me), I would be most appreciative.
Everything else has been going okay – my post-IST nirvana has finally worn off and I am back to seeing the challenges with my NGO more realistically. I could use some good karma in these next couple of months; we have a bit of housekeeping to do and a garden to re-start!
I hope your Labor Day is relaxing and you’re enjoying all an American autumn has to offer (especially football).