On Friday, we got our site assignments for where we will be for the next two years. I am working with two non-governmental organizations, and I’m not listing their names, since we’ve been warned about providing too much information about our locations. I will work with my Batswana counterparts to respond to the needs of families infected and affected by HIV/AIDS through resource mobilization (aka fundraising), project planning and implementation, monitoring and evaluation, gender outreach, event planning, and organizing volunteers for an adolescent sexual health program.
I am in a village of 45,000 people, located northeast of Gaborone. The area was initially settled in the 1500s by the Bakwena people and stone walls from that time remain in the surrounding hills. The village was founded in 1871 by the Bakgatla tribe, which had migrated from South Africa under pressure from the Boers, who had taken over their land.
One of my village’s claims to fame is that it is the hometown of Mma Precious Ramotswe, the heroine of The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency books by Alexander McCall Smith. Also, Michelle Obama visited it during President Obama’s 2011 African tour. It has its own Botswana Premier League soccer club, as well as a rugby club.
It is known for its brightly painted traditional houses, and Lonely Planet described it as “one of southern Botswana’s prettiest towns.” I’ve been in touch with the Volunteer that I’m replacing, and my assignments sound well-suited to my experience. I meet my supervisor this week, during three days of meetings in Gaborone, and will travel to my village on Saturday to spend two weeks getting to know my new home. If you want to know my village name, please send me an email.