Saturday, September 24, 2011

I Have No Life Skills!

I believe we are born and choose our own destiny, complete with nature of our character and experiences, and that character can be better developed by how we meet life's challenges.  However, it takes many a year for us to gain wisdom and skills sufficient to fill the pool of ancestral knowledge. We're meant to contribute, in our own unique way, our unique gifts to benefit the lives of others.  Yet, for many of us who have managed to get to the Zen Stage of life, there are still lessons to learn, and for me, that's a good thing!.

Every day something seems to happen to change you, and today is no different.  Here I am, one week into my mid-life crisis fix in the Peace Corps, and each day has presented something new, if not challenging or funny.  On this day, I was told by my host mother that I have no Life Skills. What are you talking about mom?  I've lived 54 years, been around the block a few times, and your telling me I have no Life Skills, which by the way, is supposed to be my new job here in Botswana, teaching Life Skills.  What am I going to do and how am I going to acquire the right skills necessary to live out this two years?  The comment came about because I came home from a long day of training and was needless to say hungry.  So my mom handed me some spinach from the refrigerator and told me I could make this for dinner.  This is my first attempt at cooking here, and I looked at the spinach and asked what am I going to do with this?

Here I go, I chop up a little garlic, find some oil, chopped the spinach, and let's cook.  Boy, I can't wait for my bowl of spinach!  A few minutes later, it's done, but I sneak some of their dinner, which I am not offered tonight, into my spinach to give it a little pizazz, not that maize is exciting, but it's something.  I go hide in the back patio with my little sister Kesego, who is hysterically laughing at me trying to eat this god awful meal in front of me.  They next thing I hear bellowing from mom, wanting to see my dinner, so I politely run away from her, Kesego runs after me, and mom is running after us!  Somehow we managed to escape her seeing my food, and somehow I managed to throw it away after a few bites, still with Kesego in hysterics here.  Not that it's ok to waste food, especially in Africa, but I was desperate to get out of this situation.  I swear, I remember just over a week ago, what a good cook I was, I even loved spinach!  But somehow the spinach isn't the same here, and any skills I had, have gone down the drain.

Mom says she now has to give me lessons this weekend on how to chop veggies, and how to wash my clothes by hand.  She wonders how I don't know how to do such things, and in a futile attempt to tell her how things were just over a week ago, she shakes her head and still thinks I am pitiful.  So, tonight I sit, starving while they eat their traditional food with gusto.  Living with this wonderful family is already changing the course of my life.  Watching them do their daily routine, the hard work put in, even though they are well-to-do,  the laughter, and their interactions with me and everyone who walks in the door, makes me want to get up each morning to see what going happen next!

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