Sunday, March 8, 2009

Halfway done

Happy Daylight Savings!!! Botswana doesn't celebrate Daylight Savings, so I am now an hour closer to the US, only 6 hours ahead of the East Coast now!!!

Tuesday marks 9 weeks of being in Botswana, and since we leave a day after 18 weeks, I find myself halfway through my time here. Madness.

This week certainly had it's ups and downs.
Academically, this week was quite eventful. I had a religion paper due Tuesday, a paper for my study abroad due on Friday, and I'm currently working on a paper for my politics of southern Africa class and another for politics of poverty.

During my politics of poverty class on Friday, the professor finally got the best of me. This man is a terrible professor and all he does is read facts out of books at us. Not to us, at us. He doesn't even understand much of what he reads, as every so often he asks the class if they could explain what he just said. He has also made quite inaccurate comments, such as, "the Jews were lucky in WWII because they had an army and it helped them to defeat the Palestinians."
***I don't want to give you a bad impression of all UB professors. Most are quite competent and I have learned a great deal from the rest of them. It is only this one who is miserable******
He also tends to make very sexist comments throughout class, such as laughing at sexual assault because men have needs, as well as telling the class that often the man earns money and before he knows it, the women has spent it all. He is a huge misogynist. On Friday, we were talking about informal economies, which I find very interesting, when we got on to the topic of the trafficking of women. He seemed to think that women who are trafficked do so by their own free will and it is their fault. He then decided that it would be better to have the class debate over the reasons men leave their wives to sleep with prostitutes than to address why the trafficking of women occurs in the first case, getting a kick out of thinking of reason women drive men to do so. I finally was so fed up that I raised my hand and explained to him that discussing why men leave their wives has absolutely nothing to do with the informal economy and that women who are trafficked do so against their will. It is not normally their choice. He just laughed and said that I was trying to get us off topic. I responded that this discussion was off topic and we should be discussing the issue at hand. He laughed again and continued on his merry way. I was so mad I was shaking. It's no wonder that my doodling skill have vastly improved during this class.

The head of CIEE, Adam , the organization which runs our program, came to visit. We went out to dinner, it was free, so good. He has an awesome job, as he gets to visit all the programs that he runs throughout the year. He said he just got a new passport, but the old one had over 45 countries in it.

This week was also cultural diversity week at UB. This is much more interesting than that at Fairfield, as on Thursday and Friday, booths were set up where you could go around and eat food from about 20 different African nations, as well as check out some of their crafts. On Friday, I had a class canceled, so I was able to check out the parade of nations, where the traditional attire, songs, and dance was put on display of many nations. Here's a few pictures:
This first one is of women in traditional dress singing. I can't remember where they're from, sorry....
Here is all of the nations. The guys that are all covered and looking like characters from Mortal Combat are from Lesotho. I have a class with one of them. He is cool. Even out of costume.
These ladies are from Swaziland.
And these women are from Somalia (Somalis that aren't pirates!!!)
The UB choir sang a number of songs:
I'm going to try to load one song, but it might take a while (DAYS!!!!)
**On second thought, I'll try to load a video later. The pictures alone are taking an eternity. So check back soon to hear the awesome UB choir.
Instead, here's a picture of cool percussion players (the video will also come shortly)
I was also asked by a girl from Botswana if I was going to display my culture. She proceeded to ask me where my baggy pants and large t-shirts were, as, "aren't they part of your culture?" I proceeded to tell her, no, they aren't, but some people wear them. She then asked me if I was going to rap for everyone. I laughed. Then said no. I don't rap.

We met this week to discuss our home stay, which starts next Saturday, the 14th. I am quite worried about this home stay, even though I know I shouldn't be. The prospect of living with a family for a week sounds great, but I'm not sure how my host family will like me, how the living arrangement will be (some homes are nice, others, well, not very wealthy), how I'm getting to school (we have to commute an hour every day, so I have to get up super early), or how well I will be able to complete my school work. I mean, it is cool that we get to help the family out with household activities like cooking, chopping wood, and the sort, but right now the uncertainty of the whole deal is just causing me unneeded stress. Urgh.

I also woke up Saturday morning and began the most unpleasant day I have had in years. I haven't really been sick in a while, but I caught some sort of 24 hour flu. I couldn't eat or drink anything for most of the day without throwing up. It was terrible. Finally around 5 I was able to keep some liquids down, which was great, because I was incredibly dehydrated. I spent the whole day in bed, making it the most useless day EVER. However, I woke up this morning still pretty weak, but as the day has progressed, I've been feeling much better.
However, the combination of sickness and stress about the home stay has resulted in a bit of homesickness. This is annoying, though hopefully during the week with all the work I have to do, it will soon pass.

And if anyone saw the New York Times Travel section this week, I hope you read the article on Cape Cod. Sandwich was one of two towns the reporter visited, writing great things about the Green Briar Nature Center. Whoooo Sandwich!!! Here's the article so I can claim the shameless promotion of my town:

Email me to: let me know how you like my blog/suggest new things for it/demand info you'd like to know about Botswana/just say hi.
And Barbara, I haven't forgotten about the info on military coups. That will also come soon.


  1. I also saw that NYT article, it was great. Huzzah about that. Sucks about shitty professor and sickness, however the homestay actually sounds pretty awesome, even if it isn't very wealthy I imagine you'll enjoy it!

  2. We read that article in class today!! My professor for Mass Communications is from Sandwich, and was also quite proud of our town.
    Also, you should have freestyled a mean rap. Show those Africans why America's the biggest joke ever lol.

    P.S. my birthday is tomorrow (3/10) and I turn 20. Finally, I am a big girl. MISS YOU!

  3. You should have rapped.

    Or wrapped. Then given them the present of intercultural exchanges.

    Your blog is wondrous and such a thrill to read. Your life experiences there are absolutely mind boggling.

    I have met some kooky GP people. My executive director tokes up in his office sometimes I think. My supervisor talks to me about how badly she wants to "stick it to banks and corporations," and one day I got to work early and found our head press release person sleeping on the plastic couch in our office.

    Everyday is an adventure.

    I cannot wait for our reunion.

  4. I second Chris. You should have rapped.