Canadian Winter? Bring it

Guys… I’m Canada bound in 1 days. IN 1 DAY!!!
Holy Crapoleeee. It’s been 6 months of Africa. 6 months of self discovery, of my body trying to acclimatize and continually failing, new environments, new (and continuing) challenges, and 6 months of my constant physical/mental/emotional state of being uncomfortable… I can’t even believe that this will be my very last blog post from Mochudi. Mostly this comes as a relief (we all know how inconsistent these posts have been)… but I’m also conflicted… Yes it means I’m going back to see all of you!!! YAY!!! My Canadian family, whom I have missed SO MUCH! But it also means I am leaving my (temporary) life here.. leaving the bubble of Stepping Stones… the kids, the staff… both which have come to also become family. But I’m not going to dwell on the goodbyes, not yet… not until Friday when we are actually on that 25 hour flight. YES 24 HOURS OF FLIGHT! How? Well it means…(thanks to Shila’s adding abilities)
Gaborone (Bots) -> Johannesburg (South Africa) = 1 hour
Joburg -> Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) = 5 hours 30 mins
Addis -> Rome (Italy) = 6 hours
Rome -> Toronto = 9 hours 45 mins
Toronto -> Halifax = 2 hours
Basically this week the conversation between Shila and I has revolved around the need for some circulation socks….because WOW are our ankles going to be swollen after that adventure. And I’m willing to bet it WILL be an adventure.. Most of you know that when I travel, it rarely goes as planned… I’ll end up staying with some random in the middle of no where in no time.. but let’s just wait and see…
So because I’ve really sucked on blog writing the past couple of weeks, here’s a little recap for y’all:
A couple of Sundays ago, I attempted to write a catch up blog… it ended with me sitting less than 6 inches away from my GLORIOUS fan, praying the power doesn’t continue it’s sunday outage streak…then I got a little reminiscent and started to think about how funny it was 4 months ago when the power would go out all and all night and we thought that was bad. At least that was during winter. Now it’s summer… almost 40 degrees out every single day, and when a fan is literally the only thing that keeps us alive and that power goes it, it is GAME OVER. Nothing can be accomplished. Especially when our house is completely wooden panelled. Our house is a sauna. I never thought the day would come where I don’t get a decent sleep if I’m not cuddling a couple frozen water bottles. Not only is our house hot, work is hot, outside is hot, waiting for rides is hot, combies are hot, the wind blowing is hot… my god there is not a time when we aren’t sweating. Everyday I look forward to a nice cool shower, but then I remember even our water is hot!!! There is no relief. I keep debating purchasing a kiddie pool, but then I tell myself, we’re leaving soon, I can make it…
I know you guys are currently suffering through the start of a very cold Canadian winter and some (or most) of you would trade climates with me in a second, but the truth is I can’t wait to roll around in that snow!! Dying from the heat here, it’s quite funny when we ask locals how the heck they get through it and they tell us to go to “the shades”… sounds like a magical place doesn’t it? Well when Batswana say “the shades” what they really mean is “go outside, find a tree and sit underneath it for a bit”. That’s the Botswana secret. Unfortunately, we don’t have any shady trees on our plot, but I definitely found the frozen water bottles all over my body, even sleeping with a wet towel, helps a TON!
Thankfully over the past week, the weather has settled down, at least a little. It’s rained a TON (like 3 times) but thats a lot here! It’s beautiful. We even got to witness a sandstorm! Really cool stuff….. lightning and wind, I really got a craving to start storm chasing. Unfortunately the storm did quite the damage in the city and in our village, the power went out basically ALL DAY yesterday! I couldn’t believe how many billboards got torn to shreds. Check it:
Broken Toe
Unfortunately with all of the rain, the ants start coming out. Not just the little old ants either… flesh
eating, swarming, GIANT ants! …. okay okay not that bad…. but they do swarm, and they do bite! and for what ever reason, they’re always setting up for battle on our pathway to our house = OUCH! Locking our gate has become a war zone. I even broke my toe kicking them off
😦 Thanks for the going away present Mochudi…
Some things at SSI:
Last week I got to participate in the “Step Up, Step Out” camp for the the Leadership participants at SSI. The camp was set up at the Presidents Farm (ohh so fancy right?) and was run through the partnership of Our Lady Kharma Trust and SSI. Dinah and I got to run a Teamwork and Delegation station, which was really interactive and great. The whole goal of the camp was to have participants “Step Up” to be leaders and “Step Out” of their comfort zones. It was very successful and a ton of fun! So much fun, we even set the Presidents Farm on fire!!!! YIKES… it was already insanely hot, add a bush fire in there, we were ROASTING! Everyone jumped the gun and started throwin some dirt at it and we got that fire out in no time! WOO
Unfortunately this is our last week, so I’ve been pushing like crazy to get all of my Study Skill Activities Curriculum set up for take over. Wow it has taken a ton of time to get everything organized and formatted, especially when my ENTIRE USB got wiped during a power outage… that made me a little nervous, but I used my limited IT skills and fixed that right up. It’s actually quite amazing how nothing seems to phase me anymore.. In Mochudi nothing has gone according to plan, ever, and I certainly don’t expect it to our last week…
Because this is our last week.. I’ve had to start saying some goodbyes… telling my readers that we only have a couple more sessions left has been heartbreaking 😦 Fortunately I have made sure their reading will continue with some trusted volunteers at SSI…
There was a solar eclipse at work!! Or so we thought… the amazing phenomenon, which I will probably witness once in my life, was caused by some ice crystals… check it out on wiki (lol): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halo_(optical_phenomenon)
CIMG0487
I’ve been cooking with the kids! So much fun!!! and HOT wow… so far we made some omelettes and some toasted pb, banana and honey sandwiches… Tomorrow we’re going to make some healthy banana muffins as a demonstration for one of our Donars – Barclays.
Village Livin:
A couple saturdays ago Shila and I sniped tickets to Trevor Noah! Trevor is a South African Comedian who just got back from a tour in the states. We watched all of his stand ups and were so excited to hear he was coming to Gabs!! The whole performance was…. interesting. The opening acts included a local rapper, a graphiti artist on stage, a mens dance group who also liked to light things on fire and jump through them… followed by the first class tickets showing up to the show an hour late, after Trevor had already started his act….the whole thing screamed BOTSWANA.
WE SAW THOR AND CATCHING FIRE!!!! WOW I AM IN LOVE WITH BOTH!!!!
Shila and I had a Mochudi adventure… visiting our Bots grandmother, and taking Kemelo with us to visit the Mochudi Museum, which has been on our to-do list for MONTHS!!! Guess what… it wasn’t open, typical Bots weird hours…but we got to climb some cool rocks, tress and stuff.
rainstorm
We were caught in a rain storm!!!! After a nice little jaunt to Gabs, when we decided to hitch back home it started POURING RAIN. Thunder, lightning… the whole shebang…We were waiting in the rain, freezing (although refreshed), and hiding under this transport truck parked on the side of the road for a good 30 minutes before we finally got a ride. I’m surprised ANYONE would stop for us, we were a pour looking soaked couple.
We went to MOUNTAIN VALLEY! Sounds cool hey? It’s this little braai/bar about 30 min outside the city. While I’m not much for buying raw meat at a bar, Shila is super into it, but it was really cool to do it at a legit nice little spot. We met up with a couple of ex-pats we recently met and they were great! Some food, some drinks, some pool, it was great! After our braai adventure we hit up some open mic and Shila attempted some Canadian Indie music…
Last Friday we had a nice little dinner we some fellow volunteers… 2 whom are in Mochudi (MAN I WISH WE KNEW SOONER!) They are absolutely great. One volunteer had her friend over from a village like 7 hours away, and I had already met him on Couchsurfing! WOW I love that online community… that has happened three times being here, too cool. The day we all hit up the Hunger Gamer – Catching Fire and it was wonderful. Although our time with these new ex-pats has been short, I’m definitely gonna miss them! They’re some really cool cats.
I finished packing… :S So weird… really SO SO SO weird. I basically cut down the majority of my clothes and plan on coming home with half the stuff I left with. The whole cleansing thing feels so nice, but at the same time, I really don’t know what I’m going to wear for those last 2 weeks of debrief :S Some of the other Yippers get to have a nice weekend at home before heading back to the nish, get cleaned up, and swop their luggage.. but unfortunately thats not the case for me. The Op Shop’s gonna get some serious business from me that weekend hahaha
Lastly a big shout out to my little bro… Usually we celebrate his birthday one province away from each other, but this time I was a little farther 😦birthday dog
So Internet friends, this is the last blog I will be posting from Botswana…I can’t believe it. This whole experience has been nothing short of life changing. I have been mentally pushed like never before. I have learned so much about the world, life, and mostly myself. It is so bittersweet to have to say goodbye to these magical kids who have been such an inspiration, made such an impact, and who will forever be in my heart….
Wish us luck for the 25 hour endeavour back to Canadian grounds, hopefully this time I won’t be shoved in the corner on the plane. I will be seeing most of you so so sooon !! I can’t wait 🙂
Top 7 things I’m excited for:
1) SNOW – you can bet that the second we land and I see snow I’m gonna be rolling all around in that. Polar Dip = YUP
2) BEAR BEAR !!!! I can’t even describe the amounts I have missed my little fluffy guy
3) Moms Lasagne
4) Nana’s Apple Pie
5) Temperature Regulation and a decent full sleep
6) NO BUGS!!!! no cockroaches, no ants, no moths, no centipedes, no beetles!!!
7) No power outages
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