Shadowing

Yesterday all of the trainees dispersed on buses to head to currently serving volunteer sites to do what’s called “Shadowing”. Its the part of training where we split up, most of us in pairs, and stay for a few days with volunteers to try to get a feel for what living as a PCV would be like.

The Shadowing organizer asked some of us if we wouldn’t mind traveling far. I happily agreed, and was sent to a beautiful place called Etsha 6 (pronounced eh-tza), near the Okovango Delta. I’ll eventually put up a map to show the distance between Molelpolole and Etsha 6, but suffice it to say it was a 10 hour bus ride just to the connection point in the tourist town of Maun.

There are six of us busing to Maun. Two are staying in Maun, two are heading north north to Shakawe, and another trainee and I are going to the Etshas. We arrived in Maun about an hour later than we were supposed to and missed our connection bus. Making the best of it, four of us ended up staying at a nice lodge and splurged with some good food (veggie burger!), some wine and even a hot shower.

This morning we’re finally getting our connection bus, and are looking forward to the expected scenery. Throughout most of our trek to Maun we saw green grassland, cattle and the occasional village/rest stop. The Delta, however, is the part of Botswana where tourists go to look at wild elephants, giraffe, zebras and birds, so let’s hope I get a little peek.

The bus ride yesterday was an experience in itself. For long trips the buses are large and resemble your basic Greyhound. Tickets are bought on the bus about 10 minutes into the ride, and during stops and the multiple passport checkpoints men and women hop on to sell sodas, chips, chicken and french fry meals, and phone airtime. People pile in early in the morning, sit very close to one another (me) and typically don’t like to open the windows. I sat next to a lovely Batswana lady, but I can’t say the ride was comfortable. My ipod helped, along with the Slizer (Bots pop star) videos playing on the bus television, and my book of sodoku. Women especially have to ration their water intake to avoid a full bladder and needing to stop before a getting to a bathroom. The bushes aren’t really tall enough to keep you covered.

On that note, I’ll post more later about my arrival and experience at the Delta. I should also have some photos up. Sent via BlackBerry

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