My Grammy requested that I blog about life in Botswana. That question is a difficult one to answer by itself so it was helpful that more questions followed. I figured it was a good opportunity to answer her questions and see if anyone has more questions. So, post in the comments or shoot me an email if you have any other questions or suggestions for blog topics.
When are you going to do a blog about what your life is like there? We are all so curious.
Do you have a church?
Although we have yet to officially join a church, we have been regularly attending one in Gaborone called His People. It is affiliated with the Every Nation family of churches and is led by a South African pastor and his team. Many people from Kagi's former church also attend His People following its closure last year.
Do you have friends to hang out with?
We are so blessed to have several friends we regularly hang out with and more friends we are getting to know. Having friends around makes a world of difference and it is as we've gotten to know people that Botswana has begun to feel more and more like home.
How is KG’s work going?
I believe KG is going to blog about his work on his new blog soon, so I won't say too much (and when his blog is live I will post a link here). He is doing well and learning a lot. It is a different kind of training than he would have received in the UK had he done his pre-registration year there. Here, he is learning from practice. He is also doing quite a bit of learning about HIV-AIDS medicines as that is still a huge focus of the medical profession in Botswana. He continually has stories of both tragedy and triumph of people with the disease. We both marvel and thank God that these days HIV does not have to shorten someone's life, they can have children without passing the disease to them, and so on. Botswana provides free medication to those who have the disease and it is really a wonderful thing for those who take advantage of it.
What is your home like?
I guess pictures are in order here! We live in a two bedroom house which is in a compound of three houses and we share part of one wall with our neighbors. It is a simple layout but very nice, and we really like it. So far, we don't have much furniture, but are thankful to be borrowing some camping equipment from friends and family to fill the gaps. I really look forward to getting couches, and hope that we might find some within the next month or so.
Yes, what do you eat?
Let's see... we eat many of the same meals I would make at home. I find food to be very expensive, probably because I like buying things that are normal or cheap in the States but are more expensive here. Most of my thinking about food has to do with thinking through what I can make that we like and can also afford. I also have decided to make lots of things and use replacements for others. For example, I regularly bake bread (even though you can find nice bread cheap), make homemade salsa as much as possible, made my own applesauce, and use yoghurt to replace many things in recipes (it is my sour cream, cream, mayonnaise, and etc).
What do you do with your days?
This has changed throughout my time in Botswana. Now that we have internet access, I have been spending time on a web design job I am doing for a local company. I hope this might grow into something I can do as a business and am VERY thankful for a fantastic first customer and fun first project. I also spend substantial time cooking and cleaning, as it seems everything takes a little more effort than it would at home. The other thing I have been doing over the last several weeks has been spending a total of six days at immigration trying to get my residency application through. I am now waiting for the result, and we pray it will go through on the first try. The computer system the immigration officers are using is horrendous and broke down for a month or so, so everyone who needed to apply was pushed back. My days at immigration began by arriving between 5:30 and 6 at the office to put my name on a list, and then trying to make sure that I was helped in the proper order. Needless to say, not my favorite way to spend my time. Otherwise, I spend time with our puppy Bella who I hope will be well behaved before she is enormous, which will happen soon.
Are there malls, where do you shop?
Yes, there are several nice malls in Gaborone. One of them is close to our house, but as Gabs isn't huge, we have pretty easy access to 3 we particularly like. I have been learning which stores are best to buy which things. Generally, you can find most things here, it is more a matter of being able to pay the price for them. I really miss the easy access we have in America to nice things for low prices. Here the quality isn't quite as good and prices are relatively high, especially in proportion to the income people have. I am learning a lot about how to shop wisely. The nice thing is that South Africa, which has a much bigger economy, is very close. I haven't been yet, but would like to take a trip there soon to buy some necessities. Many people do this and for things like maternity clothes, which I still haven't found here, it is necessary. It is also nice that the Botswanan pula is 25% stronger than the South African rand, so hopefully I'll have a little advantage with that as well.
What was your Christmas like?
Our Christmas was nice, but certainly different than at home! For starters, we are at the height of summer here, so the morning was pretty warm. KG and I spent time at home and exchanged gifts. We then took our remaining cinnamon rolls and went to see his family in Thamaga, the village where they live about 30 minutes from our house. Then we came home and I grabbed the apple pie and corn custard, taking them with us to our friends' house. Once there the rain came and we had a feast which reminded me of home. We had a very nice afternoon and evening with the Jones family and their relatives. The evening ended with a board game which KG played while I called and watched my family open presents in Spokane.
Do they celebrate New Year’s?
Yes, kind of, as far as I know! I think people set of fire works and have parties, much like home. We didn't really have anything going on so we ended up going to bed early. I think the combination of the early morning lifestyle of Botswana and pregnancy had me ready for bed around 10, so I didn't mind. Next year, though, I think we will have a party. Hopefully by then we'll have furniture! :-)
How is your pregnancy going?
I am so thankful that it is going well. The first trimester was not much fun for me, but since I hit the 13 week mark things have been fine. I am 20 weeks today, which is very exciting! Half-way there. I have been feeling good and have for the last week or so been feeling the baby move quite a bit. It is very exciting, and I think both KG and I are getting more and more excited about meeting this little one soon.