Monday, April 9, 2012

Sala Sentle, Tsamaya Sentle (Goodbye, Travel Well)

The day has finally arrived. After what feels like countless setbacks I am finally departing for what is sure to be quite an adventure, two years as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Botswana.

While I've prepared the best I could I know that every day will hold new challenges, and new life lessons. There will be good days, and there will be bad ones. What will be important is to remember why I chose to do this, why I am there, and how long I worked to make it happen. Every decision we make has repercussions for our lives, who we are and how we relate to the world and one another. Some of those decisions are small, and some large. This is one of those large ones.

Over the past few days I've been reading post and updates from fellow volunteers in my training class and feeding off their excitement, bewilderment, stress and sadness. I am looking forward to meeting the other volunteers for I know that they will soon be important people in my life.

So as I leave I will give a quick synopsis of what lies ahead for me.

I will leave home in the morning at about 7:30 am and head to my local airport (Cleveland Hopkins). From there I have a short flight to Philadelphia for what Peace Corps refers to as 'Staging'. This is when I will file the necessary paperwork, receive my domestic and government passports, go through a basic health screening, and receive some initial training. This is only a half day affair. Afterwords I along with the other 43 volunteers in my training class will take and overnight bus to JFK in New York and wait for our flight to Johannesburg, South Africa. We will then transfer and fly to the capital city of Botswana, Gaborone then we will be bussed to our final destination, Kanye.

The first approximately eight weeks in Botswana will be what Peace Corps refers to as Pre-Service Training (PST). Because of the nature and intensity of training all volunteers in a training class are located in one city (for Bots 12 that will be Kanye, close to the South African border, south of Gaborone). For the duration of training all trainees live with Batswana host families that speak both Tswana and English. Because this living situation is temporary one of our checked bags is stored in the Peace Corps Headquarters in Gaborone, and we will receive it upon moving to our permanent sites.

PST focuses mainly on language training (mainly Tswana/Setswana, occasionally other native languages for volunteers placed in Western parts of the country). However technical and cross cultural training are also crucial aspects of PST.

Well, it is off to bed for the weary...up early tomorrow to begin a long journey!
Sala Sentle!


  1. I am so unbelievably jealous. I wish you luck, have a wonderful time, and say a great big Molo to South Africa for me please :) I miss you already!

  2. Christina! Dumela ma, I'm visiting from Supal's blog! I grew up in Botswana myself, in Francistown. What a great thing you're doing, I'm eager to follow your journey.