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!