Signs Of Village Integration, Finally

February 18, Day 567
I wake up to hear the rain beating against my bedroom window. Wow! It rarely rains around here. I lay in bed and listen to the sound that I have missed dearly.

Time to get my act together. I have to be at work early this morning because there’s a meeting that I have been asked to attend to plan for the polka festival at the end of the month.

Boil water for a bucket bath, feed Dijo, bathe, get dressed and put on a rain jacket to get ready to bike to work in the rain.

Grab my things and ride to work. It is absolutely pouring all over me.

I make it to the DAC office just in time before the meeting. I mop myself off and grab my notebook and walk over to the conference room.

People file in and we wait for everyone to arrive. Finally, the meeting starts. We pray and everyone introduces themselves in Setswana.

The PR committee shows a big banner that they made to promote the festival around the village. Cool!

As I leave the meeting, I discover that there is a man waiting for me by the door outside.

“Mma! Dumela! I have been looking for you everywhere!” he says.

“Dumela, Rra. Me? You have been looking for me?” I ask.

“Yes! I have been asking around the village to find where to locate you. I am so happy to have found you! I run a volleyball club nearby and want to have help writing documents to apply for a grant for funding. They tell me that your name is Amo and I was told I could find Amo here because you work at the hospital,” he says.

Ohhhhh, I see. He has me confused with the other white volunteer in the village. The other Peace Corps volunteer’s name in Setswana is Amo and she works at the hospital.

“Tanki, Rra. I think maybe you are looking for the other Peace Corps volunteer in the village. My name is Mpho, her name is Amo. I will take your phone number and send it to her to contact you,” I say.

He gives me his number and I send it to Amo and tell her this man is looking for her.
I’ve heard that when it comes to the world of community development, there’s a pop that happens. It takes about a year of persisting before people start to really warm up to you and the trust is built to work with you. I thought this was just a bunch of hoopla, but I must admit that I definitely feel a change since January!

Suddenly people are waiting by the door to talk to me and approaching me with projects. It’s like January 1st hit and the whole village decided I was someone they wanted to work with. I feel more integrated than ever! It’s a great feeling to know it is possible.

I walk back to the office and continue my planning for MYAA. Soon enough, it’s time to ride home. Thankfully it’s sunny out again.

Ride home. Rra Dijo is so excited to see me and runs a few laps around the yard in celebration.

I put him on his leash and we go for a nice, long walkie around the neighborhood. Rocket has become attuned to know what Dijo’s bark sounds like. As soon as he hears Dijo bark, he now comes running over to our yard to play. We begin walking, and sure enough, Rocket comes running out of his yard to join us.

The boys and I go for a long walk. They sniff, play and run with one another.

Go home, and let them play in the yard. I go inside and make a big salad for dinner. Sit on the front porch and watch the sun set. As soon as it gets dark, I send Rocket home.

Dijo and I go inside and watch a movie. Of course, as soon as I make popcorn he finds a way to strategically place himself underneath the popcorn bowl to catch any pieces that might fall.

I’m hip to your tricks, Dijo!

I clean up around the house for a bit. It’s amazing how much sand collects on the floor in just a few days, even when I’m not home!

Talk to Colden. Meditate.

Go to bed. Dijo now jumps on the bed to sleep with me. He usually sleeps at the foot of the bed and has his own side now. I see he has ticks in his ears, but I don’t know how to get them out. I just hope they don’t crawl on me in my sleep.

Boroko 🌝

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