With the Maun regional meeting being held last weekend, a lot of new ideas came to the forefront of my mind. Collaboration and teamwork have always been things of value to me in the past, but there’s a certain amount to gain from figuring things out on my own in this experience. Among Volunteers here in Botswana, there are experts in a vast range of fields, both common and obscure (see my previous post for an example of the obscure). It has been easy for me to get caught up in my daily individual struggles and the personal journey that is Peace Corps. I have to acknowledge that it has narrowed my scope; whether that indicates an advantageous focus or a hindering blind side remains to be seen.
Regional meetings here in Peace Corps Botswana are traditionally held once per year, and serve as a chance to promote idea sharing and project combining among the Volunteers nearest to each other. I wish that the relaxing weekend could be done more often, because the result for me was a raised awareness of what’s happening around me. The open forum for discussion about common problems and networking reminded me that I don’t have to do everything alone. Even advice from those of us who have been around a little while longer can be helpful, but getting the conversation started was a big restraint.
I’m not dissatisfied with what I’ve learned and done on my own here so far. The gains I have made in my own ability to operate within this culture outshine the failures of the past 10 months. In reality, the footing I’m on now makes me confident to proceed. I do hope that some collaboration manifests from the spirit initiated by this weekend – the group is generally better than the individual.
In that same vein, I’ve recently made contact with another NGO in my village called People Meet People. It’s a tourism group started by a Norwegian woman, set on offering the village experience and connecting tourists with locals. There may be room for us to help each other out, so we’ll see where that goes.
The focus of my attention has turned to funding. It seems I’m spending more and more time in front of a computer looking for proposal applications and seeking out money to get some larger projects off the ground. This is yet another thing I’m learning, having never written a proposal before, and I know I’ll need a little luck on my side. I’m taking everything in stride, and the increase in productivity is good for my morale. Let’s see if I can keep it up!