Festive Season

December is a pretty slow time round here, much more so than in America.  It is the “Festive Season.” Schools are effectively closed.  Teachers are supposed to report to work each day unless they are on leave but since most live on campus, although they may be around, they are not necessarily at school. Everyone is eager to get to their home villages.  Most people live in one village and work in another so people try to get away as much as they can to see their families.  December also is a rainy, rainy month in Botswana. Work attendance is lower during the rain and it has rained most days this week. This makes for pretty cool weather, which is a delightful surprise! All of this combined make it slightly challenging to be super productive, but we are trying!

So, what has December held for us so far?

Well, we had a Peace Corps meeting in Jwaneng (home of the world’s largest diamond mine, just about 1 hour from here).

Here are some of our favorite people (pictured in Jwaneng).

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At the meeting we got to see all of the Peace Corps volunteers from our region, including many who have been here for one year, it was great to meet new people! We used that opportunity to spend some quality time with a few friends and had a small slumber party including a hill top, sunset picnic in picturesque Kanye (which we think looks like a crappy Tuscany and our guests from California stated that it looked like a nicer version of LA).  We ate so much cheese and bread and pickles and cookies!  It really was amazing!  It was great to see so many friends but the honored guests were the Paytons who travelled all the way from Tsabong and stayed with us for two nights (with permission, of course)!  It took them more than 6 hours on a combi, much of that time was standing!  We appreciate their dedication and friendship and just loved having their company.

Here are Luke and Anna, the Paytons at the hilltop picnic.

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We are still in our Community Integration Period, meaning we can’t leave Kanye without special permission and rarely overnight (commonly referred to as “lockdown”).  This ends in mid-January. So what have we been up to given that there isn’t a ton of work to do at work and we aren’t really leaving our village much? We have been trying to get to know our village as best we can and we are taking advantage of living life a little bit more slowly than we are used to. We do go to work every day, even if there isn’t much to do.  We have been trying (sometimes successfully) to set up meetings with local stakeholders (government officials, clinic staff, historians, etc.) who can give us more insight about our community and its needs.  We walk a lot and go on hikes and even saw baboons one day (at least 6, just about 3km from our house), we tend our garden and have expanded to a small orchard (pineapple and mango are planted, we are germinating all kinds of stuff like dates and lemons), Kellie brews ginger beer and now apple cider, Jon plays guitar and invites Kellie to band practice, we are planning a trip to Mozambique for February (it was approved, tickets purchased!!!), Jon has been great at keeping up his running, we do yoga in the mornings, we read old magazines, reply to letters, and listen to Podcasts (Serial!). Stuff like that.  Little things that used to take little to no time at home now take so long.  We cook everything from scratch for each dinner and we do laundry by hand, we even have to make breakfast, lunch and froth our own lattes.  We weed our lawn and clean up the massive amounts of dust in our home.  Little things that can make the day go by more quickly then you could expect.

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Above is a view from a nightly walk (when it isn’t raining).

Below is a sample of horticulture projects in our kitchen window.

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We have received so many letters and packages lately and have so many stories about the wonder that is the Botswana Post.  All of the parcels have all been just perfect and make us feel incredibly loved and special.  Thank you to our parents for the bounty of Chrismas-nukkah joy that was delivered in several increments recently!  Thank you to Bertie and Tristan for a special surprise and thank you to the Shelrenos – as of yesterday we have received at least 11 pieces of mail from you guys (we are not counting, they have been numbered).  So amazing!

We hope everyone at home is having a lovely Festive Season.  We are here trying to live out our dreams here in Botswana, and that is our wish for you. Please check the headers in the blog for a myriad of ways to keep in close touch.

With so much love,

The Goffbergs

Click the link for a short, dumb video.  Maybe it will load?

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