Sleeping Savingrams & Pula Pouring From My Ears

February 12, Day 561
Dijo jumps on me through my bed net at 4:30 am and wants to play. Oh come on, man. Maybe he has to potty?

I get up and take him outside. He does nothing.

Go back to bed and he wakes me up again to play at 6 am, but I want none of it. He waits patiently until 6:30 am.

Okay, fine I’ll get up. Put on his leash and take him for a walk down the street. Leave him in the yard and I go inside to meditate and make breakfast.

Work on the spreadsheet of MYAA activities for the Ministry of Health for a bit. Finish and send it off.

Get dressed and go outside to water the plants. I realize that I need to write a savingram to borrow a sound system for the Valentine’s Day dinner because we can’t find one.

Pack my bags and walk to the DAC office. Mabe is there when I arrive. He looks very tired today and says he doesn’t feel well and leaves.

Sit behind the desk and write the savingram. Bontle arrives with Kabo. She’s got all of the mugs that we are giving away as gifts for the Valentine’s Day dinner, so I go outside and help them carry palets of mugs to store in the office.

I walk to Choppies to get a pie, because I’m obsessed with them, but they don’t have any chicken pies today. I settle for a bag of ma fresh instead (that’s French fries with vinegar and seasoned salt on them).

Walk back to the office and talk to Bontle. She tells me that the women working at the Education centre refused to give her the table cloths that we need for the Valentine’s Dinner.

We wrote savingrams to request them weeks ago and when she called, they said no. So, I called and when they heard my voice and knew I was a legkoa and became very nice and told me we could pick them up this morning. When Bontle went to pick them up with Kabo this morning they refused to give them to her and said they didn’t receive the savingram.

Eish!

We decide that I need to go get the tablecloths instead because they won’t be mean to me. Our car for the office is broken down, so Kabo tells me he is going to drop someone else off nearby and can drop me off at the Education Centre to pick up the tablecloths quickly, but the deal is that there isn’t a seat for me in the front and I have to sit in the back of the truck.

“Ga go na mathata!” I say (there is no problem!).

“Really? You don’t mind?” he asks.

“Dude, I’ve ridden in so many trucks. I don’t mind at all,” I reply.

Kabo opens the back of the truck for me and I climb in under the cab. It’s REALLY hot today and I can barely breathe back here, so I slide open the little window and know the wind will blow through it once we drive.

A woman from another department climbs into the front seat with Kabo and he drives her to the nearby BTC building. She gets out of the car and walks in while we wait in the parking lot outside.

Wait, what? This place is LITERALLY almost across the street from our office. She is using a government driver to take her across the street??? Why?? I am confused but keep my mouth shut because the Education Centre is at least 4 miles away and Kabo is giving me a free ride.

I am BAKING back here. We sit for at least 30 minutes. I can’t breathe. I might die. I figure out how to open the cab door from the inside and keep it open for air. There we go, that’s MUCH better!

The woman finally returns and Kabo takes us to the Education Centre. I tell them I’ll be just a minute because I just need to pick up a box of tablecloths.

“Ko ko?” I call as I walk into the Education Centre.

No one answers.

“Ko ko?” I call again. A few women at the front desk giggle at me and don’t speak. Finally one of them gets up and tells me to walk to the supplies office across the way.

Walk across the way, and as I go I wave to Kabo and apologize and tell him it’ll just be another minute. How long could it take to get tablecloths?

Find the supplies office and greet the woman there and ask for the tablecloths.

“Well, I don’t know if we even have them. You can only have red tablecloths, the white ones are being used. We may have an event,” she says.

“But I called yesterday and I called today and you told me I could come collect them this afternoon,” I say.

“Well they still may be in use, we may not even have them,” she replies.

It is clear that I am an imposition and she does not want to give them to me for whatever reason. I don’t understand why this is so difficult, but I remain polite nevertheless.

She tells me to follow her and we begin walking across the campus. Kabo yells from his car that he must drive the other woman back to the office but will come back for me in a bit if he can. The poor guy has been waiting about 20 minutes so I agree and tell him it’s okay to go.

We walk to a supplies closet and greet another woman. The two of them begin chatting and I hear in Setswana that one of them says she is from Molepolole.

“O tswa ko Molepolole?” I say (You are from Molepolole?). “I am also from Molepolole!”

The women burst out laughing in disbelief that I even know where Molepolole is.

“Really? YOU are from Molepolole?” she asks.

“Yes, my Botswana family lives there. That is where I lived with them and trained for three months before moving here. I am from the Mankwinyane Ward,” I reply.

“EISH! You are our sister! We are all from Molepolole!” they say.

Immediately the energy changes and they open up. Suddenly it becomes very easy to borrow tablecloths and they decide to give me 12 instead of the 10 I asked for, which is wonderful. They ask about my family in Moleps and what I am doing in Botswana.

We walk back to the supplies office while I carry a big box of tablecloths. The supplies woman smiles and is friendly and tells me it is no problem to return them in a few days. She has me sign a book to have on record that I borrow them.

Just as I finish, Kabo returns. Perfect! I climb back into the rear of the truck with my box of tablecloths. As we leave the building, he stops to pick up a few hitchhikers heading into the village who all climb into the back of the truck with me. We sit shoulder to shoulder as we drive down the long, paved road.

Kabo drops them off by the grocery store and me off at the office. I thank him and head back into the office to write a savingram to borrow the sound system from MYSC.

I print out the Savingram and walk it over to MYSC. I’m not sure where to deliver the savingram, so I walk into the office of a guy who is usually helpful. He tells me to bring it to the first office down the hallway.

Walk down the hallway and enter the first office. I look around and it seems that there is no one in here.

“Ko ko?” I call.

That’s when I see it. There is a woman laying on the floor of the office sound asleep.

“Um, ko ko?” I say louder.

She is sound asleep and can’t hear me.

I walk back to the office of the helpful guy and tell him there is no one there except one woman who is sleeping on the floor.

“What?! Sleeping?!” he says.

He walks with me to the office and calls the woman’s name a few times. She remains asleep. He gets on his knees and shakes her awake. She opens her eyes and looks very confused.

I admit, I can’t decide if I am amused or freaked out by this situation. It is either amusing that this woman is passed the heck out on the floor while at work or I am concerned that something is wrong with her. I don’t know how to react.

He shakes her awake and I hear him scolding her in Setswana. Something along the lines of “this woman is here to drop off a savingram and you need to take it but you are asleep while at work! This is not acceptable! Please wake up and take the savingram from her”.

She mumbles something to him and he walks away.

Now it’s just me and her. I hand her the savingram while she sits at her desk. She takes the savingram and then her head falls on the desk and she goes back to sleep.

“Mma? Dumela? Ke na le di savingram!” I say (I have a savingram).

She wakes up, take the paper and fumbles around looking through folders. I am confused. Every time I have ever delivered a savingram to a government office, the person takes the message and then I have her sign a book to indicate receipt of it. The person receiving the message has the responsibility to deliver it to the right person.

She takes the paper, opens the copying machine and then asks me how many copies I want of it.

“no, no, I am DELIVERING a savingram. I would like you to take the message,” I say.

She indicates to me that she doesn’t understand and then her eyes close and she falls back asleep on the desk. I wake her up.

“Dumela Mma, this savingram is for you,” I say.

She takes the paper, looks at it and then asks me how many copies I want of it. I try to once again explain that I am delivering a message to her office, but I see her eyes closing again and decide this isn’t worth it. I thank her and leave with my savingram in hand. She curls up on the floor and goes back to sleep.

Well that was a bust.

As I walk out of the office and walk through the sand back to the DAC, I don’t know what to think of this situation. WHAT THE HECK just happened?!! It’s almost as if she took a lot of sleeping pills and was on some sort of drugs and couldn’t stay awake. She was SO drowsy. I hope she will be okay.

Just then, I hear someone calling my name. “Mpho! I would like to speak to you,” I hear.

I turn around and see it’s Mma Gaotilwe, who runs MYSC in my village. She asks me to join her in her office.

Mma Gaotilwe explains to me that she has been on leave and just returned. While reading her emails that came in while she was away, she realized that the Ministry of Youth has 70,000 pula to fund MYAA in March and they need to use the money in the next week.

“I understand that you are working to organize Month of Youth Against AIDS, so I thought that you could use the money to fund your MYAA activities,” she says.

“Oh yes, I know we are receiving funding. We have coordinated a team and submitted a list of activities to the Ministry of Health to receive the money. But they told me it was only 50,000 pula,” I reply.

“Yes you are correct. However, the 50,000 pula from the Ministry of Health is separate from the 70,000 pula. This money would be in addition to the 50,000 pula. And it must be given to a youth serving non-governmental organization. I thought you could help,” she says.

My brain explodes.

WHAT?! MORE money???? How am I coming across all of this money to fund activities?? This is unheard of. Most volunteers scrape by with no funding for their activities and are lucky to receive a couple thousand activities that they work on. Here I have 120,000 pula being given to me to fund whatever I want for Month of Youth Against AIDS and must find a way to use all of the money. We could make a real and sustainable change in the community. This is wonderful news!

I tell her I’ll coordinate to see how we can use the funding, while my heart beats fast. It’s 4:20 pm and the day is ending but this is a big responsibility! I run back to the office and call Catherine to give her the news and we have a good laugh.

“You have pula pouring from your ears! The one month I am away on maternity leave and we finally get funding,” she laughs. We agree that the 70,000 pula could go to BOCAIP since it is a youth serving non-governmental organization, and we could coordinate with them to use the funding for Month of Youth Against AIDS. I call Baitshepi no less than 10 times, but she is unavailable.

Get on my bike and ride home. Little Rra Dijo is waiting for me by the door and tackles me with licks. We go for a walk and then I let him play in the yard all evening.

Make a salad for dinner.

Chat with Colden.

Write.

Go to bed.

Boroko 🌙

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