Monday, October 7, 2013

Dear Botswana:

Botswana, Botswana, I seriously don't feel like being serious, and I don't necessarily want to go home  to see how much lower kids are wearing their pants, but it's time to move on, and it's also time to find a way to fit this experience into my life's scheme.  So what can I say---You took me in and embraced me with a wonderful host family, an endearing village, a counterpart that fit my personality to a tee, and a loyal dog.  You didn't necessarily boast delicious food, colorful clothing, or flamboyant markets,---no, no, you're much to conservative for that, but there was plenty in your blue stripes to make me feel confused and amused, which delighted me into deep thought about who you really are.  

One big part of your personality is that you have a remarkable number of national parks and heritage sites that leave no option but to fall madly in love with you. Slowly meandering through the reeds on the Okavango Delta in a mokoro, soaking in the unique serenity is something that will be etched in my mind forever. Your colorful sunsets, especially over the Delta and Chobe River fill you with a sense of timelessness, and the wildlife through Chobe, Savuti, Moremi, Central Kalahari are simply enthralling. I will never forget the nervous excitement when departing on a game drive. And for good measure, your vast, never ending skies with it's gizzillion stars, and other worldly sites such as Tsodilo Hills and the Salt Pans are simply intoxicating----you just can't imagine melting into places where you cannot hear a single ounce of homo-sapien-ness. Every inch of me craves that kind of silence----and for the times I was in the wild, I breathed it in, closed my eyes, and tried to capture it---to mentally bottle it so I can sip on it when next I find myself in a thrumming, sense sapping place in the States.

From the brownish red dirt paths and the sounds of my village, to the mystical night sky that paints a vision inside my mind, it feels all to bittersweet to mark the start of the next stage of my life while simultaneously marking the end of another. Each phase of this service had it's unique obstacles and left room for spiritual growth.  You have unplugged me, challenged my spirit, made me re-prioritize, widened, expanded, stretched my horizons, made me more centered and peaceful, and I can only hope I am the better for it.  I've learned from you not so much what I can live without, but what I can live with---compassion for others and peace of mind. While days can bring joy to those who have little, I've also felt the angst of the suffering, which, in turn, encouraged me to better serve.  I can't emphasize enough how much it matters to bear witness to some of world's suffering, to open yourself to a journey, and expand your own heart to it. 

It's been so interesting living in a world I previously knew little about, and after having accumulated varied moments, both good and bad, here we are, crossing the finishing line. It is the scenes as I walk around the village that I'll remember most, and trying to become one with the laws of nature.  I'll also miss hitching because it felt so freeing and I had so many humorous interactions while doing so.  Botswana---you've taught me that patience is not only a virtue, but a necessity: that death is a part of everyday life: that it's ridiculous to judge people for what knowledge they do or do not possess: that progress happens in a zig zag fashion: that I don't need so much "stuff" in my life: that I will never take a flush toilet or running shower for granted again, and will probably use a lot of water lingering in hot showers for a while: and that simply being present makes a big difference: But most of all, I learned that my shift of being in the world has changed, and that going with the flow of things is the best thing to do because the things that might make one crazy really doesn't end the world.

Having been deprived for 2 years of anything truly healthy, I might just lust after every organic fruit and veggie I see, but I know that in many ways I'll miss Botswana for all it is and all it isn't!  And to the Peace Corps family, it's been a honor and privilege to be a part of this.  I have not a clue on how to end this blog, or end my service, or process the indelible imprint on my soul, but in a 100 years from now, it won't matter what house I lived in, or job I held, but what will matter is that I made it through the Peace Corps!

"Africa is the rhythm of life---it's that mighty tree of ancient origin rooted in mountains of gold and silver.  Africa is that mighty stream full of untold number of souls.  It's the mighty bird, the quiet bird with the voice of thunder, with wings of gold and diamond feathers."

To all that have followed this blog, sent emails, packages, or contributed to projects, I humbly thank you and am eternally grateful. This will be the last post that I'll write, other than posting at some point my new blog address for my future wanderings.  Thanks Botswana for not giving me malaria, or any other disease, and basically, I'll miss you, I'll never forget this, and I love you.
                                                                       THE END 

If those of you want to follow me on my new blog--the address is:

1 comment:

  1. i have so enjoyed your posts, how far out of your comfort zone you have been and how you have adapted and are better for it. from the comfort of san diego, i have experienced just a tiny taste of your life for the past two years. you have done what many of us won't dare. my travels to the third world have been so sanitized that i am almost embarrassed by it and in total awe of you. safe journey. steve