Savingrams Conquer The World

February 3, Day 552
I’ve had a terrible night’s sleep. The power went out just before bed and I’ve been tossing and turning in the heat all night.

The power comes back on at 3 am, and since I didn’t know what lights were on at the moment that it turned off, it scares the daylights out of me when all the lights in my house suddenly turn back on.

Get up and turn the lights off and realize that when I walk my back is in pain. That’s probably from being bent over my bathtub scrubbing laundry yesterday, I assume.

Hobble back to bed. Toss and turn again all night.

Get out of bed around 7:30 am.


A text comes in from Goaba, who says that her supervisor gave her the days off for us to go to Victoria Falls together at the end of the month. Woo hoo! I make a mental note to put in a request to take the days off with the Peace Corps today. I’ve never been and she went only once, and I think it could be fun to take a girls trip together.

Make eggs for breakfast and when I go to grab my coffee, I see that my coffee stash is getting low. Uh oh! I can be adaptable for all things, but I still have Starbucks coffee sent to me from the USA. I know, I know, I sound like a snob. But they don’t sell real coffee beans in my village, everyone drinks instant coffee powder with chicory mixed in. Real coffee beans pretty much keep me entirely sane.

Get dressed.

Go outside and water the plants. WHAT THE HECK THESE LOCUSTS ARE TAKING OVER MY GARDEN. They’re eating through my parsley now and I have big holes in the leaves.

Make a mental note to find a homeopathic way to deter them from my garden.

Pack up my things, fill up my water containers and ride my bike to work.

Bontle is in the office when I get there. The two of us are worried about the lack of movement for the Valentine’s Dinner, so we decide to have our own meeting to make a checklist of the things that need to be done.

First, I submit my vacation request to the Peace Corps. Our Admin officer calls me and says that her house was just robbed last night, and she has had a bad day, but approves my request. I give her my condolences for her house and thank her for the call.

Devils Pool in Zambia at Victoria Falls

I write, and write, and write for four hours. I don’t’ move. I write savingram after savingram.

In Botswana, government offices don’t take an action without a savingram. The entire world here turns on savingrams.

A savingram is simply a memo typed out in a particular template with an official’s signature. Need a tablecloth for the Valentine’s Dinner? Write a savingram to borrow one. Need a sound system? Write a savingram. Need a microphone? Write a savingram. Need someone to drive an official to the event? Write a savingram.

The world turns on Savingrams.

Soon, I realize it’s 4:30 pm and I hadn’t even noticed.

I get up and go to the bathroom in the office, but we still have no water today and it’s a bad, bad unflushed scene in there. I decide to hold it.

Walk to Choppies to look for insecticide to deter the crazy grasshoppers, but they don’t have it. Instead, I get a chicken peri peri pie and something called “Chenise Cabbage” and some celery.

I think they meant “Chinese Cabbage” and may have misspelled it. Either way, I am ECSTATIC! What a rare find! I have never seen Chinese cabbage in my village, or celery! What a treat.

When I approach the cash register, I see my friend from Molepolole is working today. She is always friendly and helpful and says she loves me because I’m from Molepolole, too (that was my training village).

“What do you do with this?!” she says, looking at the Chenise cabbage.

“Oh, that’s Chinese cabbage! It’s delicious, you can make many things with it,” I reply.

Another worker walking by overhears our conversation, and also asks me what to do with the cabbage. So, the manager and several employees crowd around as I describe what you can do with Chinese cabbage.

Walk back to the office eating my pie.

Bike home. When I get there, there is still no water. But I have power, so I sit down and Goaba and I book our place to stay in Victoria Falls.

Call Colden.

Make dinner. Tonight it’s my favorite pasta dish with broccoli, onions, garlic, olive oil and tomato.

Write for a while. The power goes out.

When I look at my phone I realize that somehow it is midnight. Whoops! How did I lose track of time so easily? I’ve literally been in a writing blur all day long today.

Take a shower by candlelight.

Go to bed.

Boroko 🌙

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