Archives for the month of: May, 2012

Several Folks have asked what a typical day is like for us. Our days in training start pretty early. So here goes……

  • Wake up around 6:30 AM (12:30 AM Eastern in case your up and wondering what we are doing at that moment) and I put the tea kettle on to boil some water for coffee (or at least something like coffee).
  • Next are devotions with instant chicory – chicory is what the locals drink as coffee. It has some coffee in it but it really isn’t very good. For Devotions right now we are reading through Chamber’s "My Utmost for His Highest" and are often overwhelmed with the relevance of his devotional and scripture selection. It is just right for us here in Botswana!
  • Then prayer time – we have two prayer cards we trade back and forth every day that have a whole host of specific prayer items on them! Many prayer items are from home.
  • Next are bucket baths with water I heat in the tea kettle (What an adventure learning this method of bathing has been)
  • Breakfast of sorghum meal and bananas when we have them. (Sorghum is gluten free – but unfortunately it isn’t gag free – it still makes Elsa gag!)
  • We leave our host family house where we are staying around 8:00 AM to catch a taxi to the Kanye Education Center about 3 miles away. Taxis cost 4 Pula (7 Pula = 1 dollar US) per person – not a bad deal. Only problem is that no one believes in opening car windows and in the heat  it doesn’t take long to find out who didn’t do the bucket bath thing right that morning.
  • Morning lessons start at 8:30 and consist of technical training which is everything you need to know other than the language. And the second morning lesson is language. Elsa and I are below remedial in this area. Our Teacher’s name is Tunic and she has the patience of Job when it comes to teaching Elsa and I. We are divided into several groups of 4 or 5 students so there is a lot of one on one time with our teacher. We are currently classified at "Novice Low" which is the lowest. During a test a couple of weeks ago Elsa answered the question, "What did you eat for breakfast?" by saying, "I eat Peace Corps volunteers for breakfast every morning." This may or may not have had something to do with us being classified as "Novice Low". My response to the same question wasn’t much better. All I could do was smile. The good news is that they won’t send us home if we don’t know the language – most everyone in the country understands more English than Jeff and Elsa understand Setswana. Hooray for that!
  • Lunch is at 12:30 PM (6:30 AM Eastern). We usually eat food leftover from the night before which includes chicken of some kind (usually boiled) and beans and cabbage and rice or a combination of all.
  • Afternoon sessions start at 1:30 and go to around 4. We take a taxi home and then have dinner. Eating customs are quite different than ours. People do not sit down at a table – they usually stand in the kitchen or any room for that matter. And there doesn’t seem to be a regular eating time – people just eat when they are hungry.
  • Since we are in the southern hemisphere the days are getting shorter. We spend the evenings reading. I am going through the Bible chronologically and Elsa has two or three books she has going simultaneously. We read James Harriet’s "All Things Bright and Beautiful" aloud to one another. The sun goes down around 6 PM and Elsa and I are usually in bed with the lights out around 8:30 or so – usually exhausted due to the mental exercise of the day.

I hope you all have been checking out our picture blog. I posted some new photos just last week! You can find it at www.Flickr.com/photos/jeffandelsa

It’s been too long since I last posted an entry on our blog but I did not expect the difficulty we have been experiencing in getting reliable internet. My apologies to all of you that have been faithfully checking for updates and finding the same old post from weeks ago.  A special thank you, though to my son Lee for filling in for me on at least one occasion to update all of you. Enough now with my excuses…… Let’s get on to the latest news with the Shaver’s in Botswana!
I hope you all have been checking out our picture blog. You can find it at http://www.Flickr.com/photos/jeffandelsa
Well we are just over halfway done with training. In just a few weeks on June 12th, Elsa and I will be sworn in as official Peace Corps Volunteers. On the 13th we take off for Mahalapye to begin our 2 years of service. While we have not seen the place we will be living, we have heard about it. It does have indoor plumbing and electricity – both of which are greater than the Peace Corps minimum requirements – in that respect we are blessed. Mahalapye has a population of around 45,000 and with that number it is considered a large town. It is located halfway between Gaborone the capital and Francistown in the Northeast. In Mahalapye, Elsa will be working in a local clinic called “Xhosa 1 Clinic” and I will be working in the local government office and with an NGO (Non-Government Organization) called “Vision Support Group”.  All of our work is involved with HIV/AIDS which is a huge issue in Southern Africa. After we settle in and develop a routine, we will spend some time acquainting you with the details of our work. Actually we have no idea yet what we will be facing when we arrive – God does and we look for His help as we serve the people of Botswana.
Pray for us as we complete of final 3 weeks of training. Both Elsa and I are struggling with the language. We really want to be more proficient in speaking and understanding Setswana – the language of Botswana. Knowing or at least attempting to communicate in the local language really helps in developing relationships with the people – something Elsa and I really want to do!