|Amanda, me and cow hoof, Becki|
Later on in life, the one thing I hated most was telling people I was from New Jersey, that I only lived in the shadow of NYC. But the fact is, even though I was only born in NYC and lived in it until the age of 3, I only spent weekends in NY with my grandparents and cousins--thus, I am a Jersey girl! The place does harbor many fond memories though--playing in the snow, trying to get my parents to get over the Catskills schtick, and let's get on to the Jersey shore, wandering through the Jersey woods that are no more, and enjoying the best Italian food on the east coast. I didn't know then that some of our greatest celebrities grew up in Jersey: Abbot and Costello, Frank Sinatra, Meryl Streep, John Travolta, of course Bruce the Boss, Michael Douglas---the list is endless, and this sure makes me feel better about having grown up there too. Even so, while wandering around the woods as a youngster, I would dream of all the places to go, and of course, the first dream was to go to Liverpool to meet the Beatles. Now, 50 years later, I find myself not in Liverpool, but in Botswana going on my first adventure in the life of a PCV.
In Gumare, things are no different, our host volunteer took us to a school to meet with the Principal on a project he's doing. The man was very nice, though in the course of discussing things over with Todd, he stops mid stream to ask us where we were from---then back to his discussion with Todd---then back to telling us about his trip to Portland, Oregon---back to Todd---then he turns and starts singing to us---back to Todd---then to us about our life skills program---back to Todd---more singing---and finally I run out of there because if we stay here any longer, it will be Christmas and I couldn't bear hearing XMAS carols from a Principal in a school meeting. Even the dogs in a small town follow you around to talk! No joke! Walking home with Todd or Amanda in this little village takes triple time because you have to stop every 10 feet to chat with someone. It's all great fun when it's 110 degrees in the north!
Besides all the chatter, and doing our PC chores for the few days, a neighbor was nice enough to take us elephant searching. We found one that was killed for some reason a few nights ago, and were told that within 30 minutes of hearing of the dead elephant, all the towns people came to carve out the meat for dinner, mmm elephant meat, sounds good after eating cabbage for 4 weeks! Lucky us got to see the skeleton of the elephant, yet our elephant search ended at that because all the others' went on vacation for fear of getting axed themselves. We did however witness the most gorgeous sunset that gave way to a spectacular full moon.
Many great moments were taken in this week, most of all with the children. We did two groups with them, and were taught how to dance the African way. Our African rhythm was a comedy to all: then in another group, these bright students told us what they thought of America, and I could write a book on that alone, although the best quote was Americans are a "do this, do that" nation, and how right they are. The village kids then came out of the woodwork in 3 seconds flat when I was doing my Tai Chi in the yard---I am now known around town as the Karate Kid! I loved that one! Anyway, the other great thing was the hospitality of Todd and Amanda, their humor, their fabulous cooking of a Thai dish, veggie curries, homemade burritos and breads, all on our measly little salary. It felt so good to eat again!
For the Children of Gumare:
"You have brains in your head, You have feet in your shoes, You can steer yourself in any direction you choose."