Everyone has probably heard the term, “I'm gonna runaway and join the circus.” Well, that's kind of what has happened---the Peace Corps Circus! This past year + has certainly felt like a crazy blessing, and a growing up of sorts. At times, it feels like I've joined the circus, and have been in an act of fire-eating while crossing a tight rope on a unicycle. Most times though, it's like some act of bending space and time to emerge at your destination without ageing and with your humor in tact. But when you're doing something crazy like this, purpose and opportunities reveals itself. You find things without seeking and there's always this magical child like wonder with each serendipitous discovery that keeps you from getting jaded.
Since my time here has been a web of moments and events growing with the significance as if in a circus, I'd like to take this time now to tell you what I did to get my Mom's for Literacy club fired up. Many of you know I've had this paper necklace club tied into literacy, and though we've not started selling the necklaces yet, we're on the verge---I just need to get these ladies to wash their hands first so the paper doesn't get so dirty, and get them a bit more motivated. They're really, really, trying, but they lack a little circus magic. So, today, one of them looked up at the world map hanging on the wall with the tacts of all the places I've been. They started asking questions about the world, is that an ocean, what does it look like, etc. I took the opportunity to tell them about the circus instead of the places I've been to stir them up a bit. I told them how families get into caravans to discover new towns, surrounded by many different quirky people, how they live a nomadic lifestyle outside the bounds and rules of society, where there is always new things to explore. Imagine ladies, growing up with a tiger in your backyard, or losing a lion in the town you were just in, or having gypsies tell your fortune, elephants dancing, and maybe your dad has a name like the Great Veno. One lady shook her head, and said, “Tshepo, this is just toooooo much, don't tell me the world is really like that!”
Maybe the world is a little like the circus, with a contrast between the glitz of the show and the grass and muck around them. You have a motley crue, a melting pot of diverse personalities and talent, and whatever happens—the show must go on. Ok, so maybe I went a little over the edge, but I wanted to impart on these women that the circus, much like the Peace Corps, shows how people can dream and build, even from nothing---It's the ultimate purveyor of magic, it's the triumph of human spirit, that ultimate great thing in life—mere mortals doing incredible things. So, I have a motley crue here in Botswana, and I say to them, ladies---let's wash our hands, find the magic, and let the show begin!