Blogswana

RM Jones writes an interesting blog about her stay in the Sexaxa Cultural Village. She calls her blog: Blogswana!

A copy of the blog appears below in case the above link stops working!

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 20, 2009

Sexaxa
Visit the Sexaxa Cultural Village website: http://sexaxa.weebly.com/

So for the past week (and the next week) I’ve been living in a small, rural village called Sexaxa (the x’s are clicks). It’s only a 20 minute commute to a busling town, but it’s quiet out there without eletricity or running water! Sexaxa is a wonderful and frustrating experience so far. I’m living in a small tin-roofed hut where I sleep with Mosetsana (22) and her two kids (4 months and 5 years), and in the same compound is my Mme, Boshale (34 yrs) and her boyfriend, Olivere. None of them speak much english, which is tough, but I’m definitely learning a lot of setswana. We have to walk to the standpipe to get water, about 200 yards away or so. I tried carrying the bucket on my head and got myself kind of wet! I asked Mosetsana to teach me how to bathe from the basin thing, and so twice we bathed in the same basin at the same time! We didn’t really fit, but I thought it was hilarious. The baby, Nunu, is adorable and I love holding him. However, he doesn’t wear diapers, so I’m a little scared of him peeing on me at any moment (which has happened a few times…). It is very hot in Sexaxa and Maun, but there are more trees than in the south, which is nice. There are so many moments where I’ve felt serenly happy in the village– walking around with Nunu strapped to my back (when people ask who’s baby it is my Mme always says “it’s her’s!”), sitting around in the sand while everyone drinks the traditional beer or rasta wine, playing with my 5 yr old brother (that makes 2 five year olds that I’ve befriended in Botswana!), jalo jalo (that’s etc. in setswana). Despite the language barrier we spend plenty of time at my house laughing and I’m getting really good at recognizing certain phrases (like the one for “wash this” or “bring me a spoon” or “let’s go”). We spend a lot of time just sitting outside, mostly playing with the baby (or babies…others visit frequently and most young women seem to have one) or cooking and cleaning.My Mme made me a wooden spoon and thing to cook sorghum with (it’s like a t-shaped stick)…I’m excited about it.

I finished my 480 page book (“Dark Star Safari”) and I’m really proud of how much I’ve been reading since school got out in May. The book was a pretty depressing look at Africa, and while I know that some places are better (like Botswana), it did impact my thinking on foreign aid. I will continue to process those ideas later. Anyway, I might re-read Catcher in the Rye next, since someone has it here and 10th grade was a long time ago.

Sunday we went to another community trust, this one with a cultural village and a game drive. The drive was seriously like 5 hours and there weren’t many animals, but I’ve started to think of it as meditation and life planning time. Needless to say, I’ve spent lots of time thinking about how wonderfuly greatful I am for my life (and all the wonderful people in it!!!). The cultural village was surreall because they were showing the traditional Bayeii way of life, but so much of it is recognizable in Sexaxa today! I learned a lot though, one of the most interesting things to me was that when a woman gives birth she is put in isolation for 2 months. Mosetsana said they still do that in Sexaxa. I have many feelings on this: it’s a time when the man is free to go “play around” and he misses those crucial frist months of his child’s life. Plus the woman is alone! But maybe just seeing your mother or a few other women is nice when you are taking care of a newborn…I don’t know. Anyway, the “village” has demonstrations of games, music, dancing, men setting traps, shooting arrows, traditional houses, food, and a traditional healer. Pretty cool! Camping out was nice…we had a fire and sat around talking until midnight (!!!) with our guide, Kabelo, from Gabs, who visited the US this spring and used to work for SIT. You meet such interesting people here.

That’s all for now! Peace out.

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