Tag Archives: support group


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.


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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).


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