Tag Archives: birthday

Satisfaction

I was a little down in my last post. It’s part of life here, even though it’s not my preference to share low vibes. The capricious and fragile state of my mood is inherent with this experience – read any Peace Corps blog for proof. It’s often difficult to pinpoint the dominant emotion since so many thoughts and stressors are at play, though it’s clear to me that I was in a quarter-century funk last week.

That said, thank you for the birthday wishes from across the world. It was a low-key celebration kind of year, but I’m fortunate to have great friends in Bots who joined me. Next year I’ll be in a totally different place and can have a developed-world celebration.

In terms of work, I had a good last week. A high-volume safe male circumcision team from ACHAP visited Rakops and my region. A couple doctors, a few nurses, and some community mobilizing members all contributed to get more than 120 males circumcised in the week. It represents a huge spike in prevention interventions performed in my district. I feel satisfied with the help I offered them, which came in the form of extra hands in the surgery room and recruiting and mobilizing men to get circumcised. Since Peace Corps Volunteers are intimately aware of their communities’ needs, they often offer the best knowledge to visitors. I think I filled that role well.

More importantly, circumcision displays a real intervention being put into place, which makes me more satisfied than anything else. Our prerogative in this role is to alter behavior as a method of prevention. It’s hard work to get someone to change his or her actions, despite the number of times you recite the ways to protect yourself from infection. What’s more frustrating for me is the invisibility of it all. There is virtually no way to track the number of times a person does or does not use a condom during sex or the amount of sexual partners a person has. Circumcision is real and after a 20-minute operation and 6 weeks of recovery a man is drastically less prone to infection. This is my soapbox, and will be until I leave Botswana. It should be implemented in endemic countries until a cure is found.

To shift my tone, I’m planning to travel a bit in the next couple weeks and possibly entertain another visitor! I’m looking forward to it since I’m now acutely aware of how little time I have left to see all I want to see in this part of the world. I’ll share more later – have a great weekend!

Cheers

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Time

In a lot of ways I feel like I’m living in an age of prehistory. I generally enjoy being unplugged and off the grid, but once in a while it bothers me how unknowledgeable I am about current events and issues of the moment. The concerns of my days have very little to do with things that affect the rest of the world. Instead I’m wrapped up in my own small community. My successes aren’t particularly grand and my failures don’t matter outside of the scope of a few kilometres. I guess it’s just easy to feel insignificant.

I’ve had a good few days here recently, despite my tone. A couple of friends visited for the 4th and helped me with a workshop I planned for my group. The event was successful, and I feel accomplished in my goals of jumpstarting and diversifying interest. My friend contributed her knowledge of craft making and income generation – sustainable cash flow is an important concept for my budding organization. We also focused our attention on psychosocial support since it usually falls by the wayside. Most of the other interventions I’ve tried to establish some sort of consistency with the group have failed, so I hope some of this workshop catches on.

My other primary venture has been gaining traction as well, and there has been a recent rise in the number of circumcisions being done at the hospital. Everything moves slowly here, but having tangible numbers is encouraging at such early stages of our mobilization efforts. Collaborations with other agencies have helped a great deal. This is the project I’m most motivated by right now, and if my contributions cause real interventions I will feel successful.

So why is there such a sudden feeling of discontent? Perhaps I’m affected by the awareness of my mortality – and a quarter-life crisis. In less than 2 weeks I’ll turn 25. Milestones are often the loneliest times here, though I’m lucky to have great people in my life (both home and in Botswana) to remind me I’m not forgotten. The other thing milestones are good for is initiating panic about the future. Do I have anything to show for my early twenties? Where will the next 5 years take me? The concept of time is wearing on me.

I have come full circle with my facial hair.

Cheers

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