Well, COSC was fun! We got spoiled in the beautiful northern village of Kasane. We stayed at Chobe Marina Lodge, which is far out of my pay grade. We ate too much food and had some great reflection time with the whole group. We had sessions to discuss reverse culture shock, reflecting on our experiences, and sharing some of our moments during service. Staff were present and sociable throughout. We also had our last language exam. Oops! Kind of went downhill. Luckily, I get to report my highest score which was a good one! But, I have failed at learning much of the language here. I can definitely understand more than I am able to verbally respond, but I still have a long way to go. Gotta impress the in-laws and all! ;)
Luckily, my cohort was not as dramatically excited to finish service as I assumed the overall attitude would be (sorry guys! And thanks!). For those of us extending, it was a very different time. I wanted to participate, but also had to deal with the fact that some things didn’t apply to me yet. I took some of it to heart for sure, I have a month home coming up and I fear the infamous supermarket breakdown that seems to occur to RPCVs. I get overwhelmed at a restaurant here in Gabs sometimes, how will American restaurants and stores compare!? Reverse culture shock is real. I experienced it coming back from Belize when I had only been there 2 weeks, let alone 2 years of Botswana.
I talked with some PCVs about souvenirs and what to take/what not to take home with them when they COS. It was interesting. I think many of us share the desire to live with less. However, I want my house to be a living, 3-dimensional scrapbook. I don’t want useless things, but at the same time I want house décor that shows where I have been, where pieces of my heart still reside. I am finding one fun way to do it though, is to wear it! Jewelry and purses: functional souvenirs if you will. I have my pouches from Belize, so why not add to the concept! Baskets. Very Tswana and very functional. Tah-dah! Crisis averted. I will be bringing home lots of Botswana with me. I have bone salt and pepper shakers that were gifts. Ostrich egg jewelry and paper beaded bracelets and necklaces. Wearable culture; and helping out some local artisans at the same time. Done and done.
I am now busy in the prepping stages for the newest intake group. Staff have put in tons of effort to plan for this new training, and some volunteers have also put their hours in. We have a great group of language and cultural facilitators that have also been working hard already. I am so excited to see myself two years in, viewing the newness all over again through the eyes of our newest trainees. The wonder, the awe, the shiny. Before a bad moment here and there taint their eyes.I still hold on to the wonder, but it’s not as striking anymore, and it has been stained for sure. Some days darker than others. I look forward to being revitalized by the young energy as I move into my 3rd year, and close out my second year on a high note. I am so grateful for the opportunity to be a PCVL, to work with the new trainees and current volunteers a like in this capacity. MoH will only be a wonderful addition to that. Cheers to more new!