Monday, February 27, 2012

"There is no future, there is no past, I live this moment as my last"

Last week I spent my days observing home visits for HIV+ clients enrolled in our home-based care program. What this means is that I went around the village with the Head Nurse from the Clinic and a staff member from the NGO to meet with people to assess their health and what our organization can do to help. My role in these visits would be nominal at this point - mostly to meet more community members, gain a better understanding of the issues in Gabane, see how the visits are conducted, and offer suggestions for how to help the people and how to better coordinate and carry out visits. I was both anxious and excited to be a part of this side of the organization.

I have to admit, most of the visits were quite unsettling and it's taken me a week to adequately process. Throughout training, Peace Corps threw statistics at us and discussed the many issues in Botswana but it is not the same until you have seen it with your own eyes. In a sense, I was sheltered from the reality having only seen one side before now - the gleeful children at play in the OVC centers. While it was heartbreaking to know their stories, I had not been invited into the homes to see what HIV/AIDS looks like in the raw. In actually going into the homes, I was able to clearly see the difference between simply having knowledge of something and then actually experiencing it. This reality brought my consciousness to a whole other level. As we went from home to home, greeting and meeting with clients and their families, I was struck by the magnitude of devastation that HIV/AIDS has brought to this village and the sheer poverty that exists. One household in particular paints a clear picture. Let me tell you that story:

We took an off-road path that bumped and thrashed the combi around and then turned into a small compound. There was one dilapidated stone building and then overgrown weeds waist high. I thought we were turning around to go back the way we came, seeing as how there was no room to do so on the path we had taken. But then the driver turned the combi's engine off and the Head Nurse said to me "lets go" as she opened the sliding door to get out. I was a little startled but got myself together as we approached the front door, which appeared to be nothing but a piece of tin roofing leaning up against the opening. We knocked ("ko ko") and entered the one-room building. There was a young girl sitting on the floor on a blanket and a mostly naked woman laying on the bed that took up the majority of the space in the house. We were there to see the woman that was now mostly bed-ridden. She was skin and bones and more feeble than any person I have ever seen. Even still, she kept a smile on her face (as much as she could muster anyway) and spoke to us in a joyous tone. She told us that she had been having trouble getting to her doctor's appointments and requested transport as it was available. We committed to help her. She then informed us that her daughter, who was sitting on the floor next to us, had just tested positive for HIV. (Transactional sex is common here, which made me wonder: With this family so poverty stricken, could this girls' status be a result of this? What kind of person would take advantage of a young girl that needs help? These are some of the issues we face every day.) The Head Nurse talked with the teenager for some time and they agreed she would come to the Clinic for counseling and then to enroll in our program. I could have cried in that moment. Looking at this family that was so poor, meeting this mother who was so sick but who was keeping as positive an attitude as possible, and then learning that her daughter was infected too - it was so devastating. What lessons were being missed in this home? in this community? Why do Batswana still refer to HIV/AIDS as someone "being sick" instead of calling it what it is? How can I help start the discussion? Will the suffering ever stop if people don't face the truth and learn from it?

The home visits have left me with a lot of questions and some frustrations that I need to work through. I wonder about how much of an impact we, as Peace Corps Volunteers, can truly make. Real change comes from the community and from within. But I needed to be educated and shown the reality here if I am going to have any chance of helping. I need this knowledge if I am going to be effective, however difficult it may be to see. And, in the end, it has made me even more compassionate because I have seen what it does to people and to their families. This compassion is what will rededicate me when the work gets tough. These are good people and they deserve more.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Delta Zeta

Many of you know that I was in a sorority in college. I was a Dee Zee - a Delta Zeta. The four years I spent in the house were among my favorite memories. I had more fun than any one person should be entitled, I made friends that turned into family, and I learned a lifetime full of lessons. I grew up there. I owe a lot of who I am today to my time in Delta Zeta. Everything about it was truly special to me. I will never forget it. That is why I am humbled to write this post.

A while ago, I was approached by another Delta Zeta from my house to ask about my service. She said she was working for The Lamp, which is Delta Zeta's national magazine, and that she wanted to publish something about my experiences in Peace Corps. We talked briefly about the work I am doing, how it has been serving abroad, and about my impressions and reactions thus far. After the interview, I went back to work on many of the things we discussed and did not give it much more thought.

Yesterday evening, I received a message stating that the article about me had been published in The Lamp. I went straight to online version and this is what I found: Tija Leigh Danzig, University of Washington - Kappa 2002, Serves in Peace Corps to Help Others. I was blown away. I feel blessed for my time in Delta Zeta, for being able to serve in Peace Corps, and for the life I have been able to live. Now I feel honored to be able to represent my sorority in a way that I believe is "becoming of a Delta Zeta" and in line with our creed (see right). It is special in a way I cannot adequately express.

I want to thank my sorority, especially my pledge class, for getting me to this point. To giving me courage and strength and encouraging me every step of the way. You have been there for me for a decade now and I could never thank you enough.

In a simliar light, I want to share that, in coming to Botswana, I have met another Delta Zeta. I met her in Philadelphia on March 31st, when my group of eager Peace Corps Trainees prepared for our journey to Africa. Her name is Kristen Sheppard, University of Maine - Alpha Upsilon '04. She is currently serving in Werda, Botswana as a Community Capacity Builder. She has become a dear friend to me and someone who I have constantly turned to for support in the past 11 months. We have a common background and are going through something extremely unique. These are the ties of sisterhood that run deep. It amazes me how, even across the world, I met another Delta Zeta and how we were able to come together under a common mission - to help others. I am really proud of Delta Zeta for helping cultivate people into the kind of citizens that feel the need to give back. It is a testament to the sorority. I feel privileged to be a part of it and to know so many wonderful Delta Zetas. Follow her service at: The Adventures of KShep.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Update: First Computer Basics Class

As I mentioned a few hours ago, today I held my first Computer Basics class for the staff at my NGO. I am oh so happy to report that every single staff member, including the cooks, came to the class! Everyone was eager to learn about computers.

We started the class with the absolute basics: how to turn on the computer. I realize this seems mundane to my readers from the developed world but you have to realize that, for many in Botswana, this is life. They are just starting to understand technology and most people that are much older than school-aged have had very little or no education on computers etc. They are excited, however, and asked many questions that led the class much further than the simplicity of that. After covering an array of topics from locating "My Documents" and seeing the materials I am starting to put together for them to opening and saving files, I introduced the class to their new best friend: the typing tutor. I had installed Keyblaze Typing Tutor to all of the computers in the new lab a few days ago in preparation for the class. The last half hour consisted of getting acquainted with the keyboard. Most just learned their basic finger placement but a few made it through the first two lessons ("index finger letters" and "middle finger letters"). What makes this even more exciting and makes me smile with joy is that the staff stayed after class to continuing practicing their typing skills. They were so happy to be learning how to use the computer that they were laughing and squealing and smiling and high-fiving each other with each accomplishment. I was overjoyed seeing how this simple lesson was really impacting their lives. And, music to my ears, was when they asked if it was okay for them to practice in the computer lab even if I was not there. Yes, folks, this is a joyous day in the life of a PCV!

It May Not Seem Like Much Buuuuut...

Yesterday, while I was in Gaborone at my Scout Troop meeting (have I mentioned that I'm leading a Scouts Troop with another PCV? Well, I am), I received an sms from someone at my NGO. She asked how to log into the computer - where to type in the password and how to get it to accept the password. I quickly responded to her message and returned to my troop meeting. After a while, she messaged me again and then a few more times with simple questions, like where to find the "documents" folder and which program she should use to type a letter (Word vs Works). After my meeting, I checked in with her to make sure that everything was okay and to find out if she needed me to come into the office when I got back to Gabane. She informed me that nothing was the matter but that she wanted to get acclimated to the computer and play around with things in preparation for our first computer class (which is this afternoon). OH MY GOODNESS. (Was I really hearing this?) She was excited to learn, so much so that she wanted to prepare herself for the class. Motivated, planning ahead, enthusiastic... this was music to my ears. It has been a while since I have had the opportunity to work with people like this. This is yet another thing that is making my days all the better. Truly amazing. And, with that, I'm off to teach Computer Basics!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Two Absolutely Adorable Revelations of Children in Bots

I want to share a couple things that I have noticed in my time here. They are in reference to some absolutely adorable revelations made by kids here that I bet you'd never think of. Prepare to say "awww"!
Flush Toilets
This is a pit latrine. It is essentially the same sort of pit latrine that is found all over Botswana. For many of my readers, it is most easily defined as an outhouse. In America, this sort of toilet is very uncommon (except at music festivals or major outdoor events when we set up porta-pottys). Here, however, it is very widespread, as many families do not have indoor plumbing. Totally normal. 
This is a flush toilet. It is essentially the same sort of flush toilet that is found all over the United States. It has also been adopted around the globe, including in Botswana. Most households that have running water and indoor plumbing have similar toilets. Both of my homes in Botswana were among those with flush toilets (albeit with their own idiosyncrasies - another story). Because I am so accustomed to having a flush toilet, I thought nothing of it when the kids that came over to my house asked to use the toilet. At first, they would creep into my bathroom and sit on it, do their business, and leave without flushing. After a while, I figured this out and decided to show them how to flush. The first time I flushed the toilet, the kids went running out of the bathroom screaming. They were scared of the sound and didn't want to stick around to find out what that sound indicated. This made me giggle. Once they got used to it, however, they found the flushing to be so so so aweeesssoooommmeeee! And then the kids would venture into the bathroom, to use the facilities I assumed, and then I wouldn't see them again for fifteen or so minutes. But I would hear the toilet flush a half dozen times at least. They were absolutely fascinated by the flushing action, watching the water spin around and go down the drain then fill back up again. It was almost like a game. Now, this could be misinterpreted as a fun game or entertainment and perhaps not quite the revelation I imagined. I asked at my new NGO if that was something they dealt with too when the youngest kids (around 3 or 4-years-old) started coming to the preschool for the first time. My question was met with a resounding YES. It turns out that this humorous process was not just followed by the Kums Kids but rather by kids all over Botswana that are being introduced, for their very first time, to the magic and wonderment of the flush toilet.
One day, when I was still living in Kumakwane, I heard a story from the other PCV that lived in the village of three little girls who were very dressed up and excited about something. When she asked them what they were so excited about, they responded (in that soft-spoken adorable way that only little children can) that they were going to Gaborone to see the "flying stairs". Of course, the image of stairs with wings on it were the first things that crossed her mind. Where were these mythical stairs? She inquired further. They told her that the new mall at the bus rank had flying stairs and that they were getting to go to Gabs to ride them. It suddenly dawned on her that they were referring to the escalator that had recently been put in. Wow. How precious!
So there you have it - two absolutely adorable revelations made by children in Botswana. Things we take for granted having grown up with them but which are amazing discoveries here.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

What This PCV Is Doing

Have you ever wondered what a Peace Corps Volunteer does? 

While this is mostly satirical, it isn't completely off in the (albeit exaggerated) perceptions of what a Peace Corps Volunteer does. It made me laugh hysterically, which is why I wanted to share it. I decided to share it now because I'm about to tell you about a particularly productive day in my life (yesterday to be exact) and the development in my projects in Gabane.

My new house in Gabane has an electric stove. This was much to my DAC's dismay because the country is plagued with significant power outages. Being the motherly type, she worried I would go hungry for days on end if the power went out in Gabane (Ha! She obviously hasn't spent enough time with me! Allow myself to starve? I think not!). As such, she made me bring my gas stove from Kumakwane with me to the new village (I now have a second stove and a gas cylinder in my living room). Unfortunately, the attachment for the cylinder lost a piece so it leaks out gas when turned on so I'm unable to use it until that gets fixed. Fortunately, I haven't had a problem with electricity yet. That being said, yesterday morning I set my kettle up to boil water for coffee (thanks again Mom!) when POOF - my power went out. I felt my heart whimper a little bit. I looked longingly at the gas stove, realizing I couldn't use it but wishing that a small gas leakage into the house wouldn't kill me (because not having coffee just might!). But fear not my fellow coffee drinkers, it was short lived. Unlike my previous 5+ day stints without electricity, this one lasted less than five minutes before I heard the hum of my refrigerator return. If this wasn't a sign! This was going to be a good day!

At the NGO, I was greeted by 41 smiling children eager to do our secret handshake and get underway with the lessons for the day. They were smiley and chipper and very very happy to see me. (This, of course, makes my day all on its own because the kids are so precious.) The morning lesson was English - my speciality - and the kids were excited to show off how well they could identify the window, door, chair, and a sundry of other things around the classroom. It is at this point that I would like to brag about how wonderful the Head Teacher is at the NGO. She is an older woman, retired from her previous life in the primary school system, and passionately dedicated to these children. She approaches each lesson with patience, kindness, and percipience. I mention this now because the children are flourishing under her tutelage. I am constantly amazed at how these children, none older than 6, are able to understand and communicate in both Setswana and English (and succeed in other subjects as well). Even those that are having a harder time grasping the lessons, are comfortable in trying and giving their best effort since she supports them so beautifully as they learn that "E" comes before "F" or that "chair" and "table" are two different objects. It is a joy to watch her teach, especially in a country where teachers are not always as diligent. This is a blessing for those children, but also for the other teachers at the NGO who are watching and learning from her and for me in getting to work with her.

After the morning lessons, the Head Teacher (who is also the Center Coordinator) took me around Gabane to introduce me to our key partners. This included the Head Nurse and staff at the Community Clinic and the Health Post, Peer Educators, volunteers that work with our Support Group for HIV+ individuals, teachers from the primary schools in the village, and, finally, the Kgosi (village "Chief") and his staff. I had nearly six straight hours of meetings. I was warmly received along the way - meeting so many new people, learning about the work they are doing, and being invited to help in a plethora of ways. It was during this time that I really began to feel a part of this community and began to understand all the issues that the NGO and community faces. What's more, I started to see where I could fit into the mix and how best I can help in all these areas.

When the day was through, I sat down to plot out a schedule and figure out where to allocate time to assist (gasp) everyone. If I am to do all that I hope, there is very little way I will be lounging around in my bath bucket (as pictured above). My days will be filled with capacitating the NGO staff, assisting with lessons plans for the Early Childhood Education Program, working with the Clinic and Health Post, leading a PACT Club at the Junior Secondary School, developing a better M&E system between the NGO and Gabane Primary School, teaching basic computer classes, working with the Segoditshane Scouts Troop, and revising Reneetswe Happy Home Care Center's Constitution and its organizational documents. Phew. To say I have my work cut out for me is an understatement. Am I excited about this change of pace? You betcha! 

Moral of this story? What this Peace Corps Volunteer is doing falls somewhere in the middle of all the pictures above, probably with some elements of each (except of course the CIA thing... and the monkey backpack!). And it looks like I am in for many more busy and happy days ahead!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


This is dedicated to everyone in Bots 10 - those still in Botswana and those who have gone home to pursue something new. You all inspire me. I am so grateful to know you and to call you family. Here's to making the most of our experiences (wherever and whatever they may be)!

Monday, February 13, 2012

A Discovery: Lessons Learned

In all honesty, I was more than a little anxious about moving to a new site. I was not looking forward to learning a new community, trying to integrate again, and starting back over from scratch. Looking back, the first two months at site were my hardest in Botswana and the thought of having to relive them was quite daunting. But, alas, these were the cards I was dealt so I was going to do my best to make the most of it. I owed that much to my service and to myself. What I realized in my first two weeks in Gabane is that I have learned a lot more in these past ten months than I could have ever imagined and that this experience has been invaluable (especially for anyone pursuing global health/development work).

I now know what it takes to really delve into the issues of a community and its people. I know the questions to ask and how to phrase them in order to get the information I need within the confines of cultural norms and impediments etc. I know the right people to go to in most situations and no longer need to go from person-to-person and wade through the nonsense associated with red tape and interminable levels of protocol in Botswana. Integration is easier because I am more confident with the language and with how to talk with locals. I am not afraid to talk to passerbys, to joke with people when they ask for money ("mpha madi"), or invite myself (or others) over for tea. What took me two months (or longer) to figure out during my "community assessment phase" has taken me less than two weeks in this new environment. It has gotten easier and it all makes more sense this time around. I have learned how to navigate the system and life in Botswana. These were skills I had not realized I was cultivating.

So the lesson I have learned that I wish to bestow on my fellow Peace Corps Volunteers (and others) is this: Even when you think that you are not getting anything out of your experience, and even when you feel like you are wasting time and not being fully utilized, keep your chin up! The reality is that you are getting more out of it than you could possibly imagine. There are skills and lessons and discoveries tucked away that you never dreamed were being realized. Don't give up, believe that it will be okay, and just trust. What you are getting out of all this may not be uncovered until later but, trust me, it is happening. I have been constantly amazed by all that I have actually gained.

The Children of GCHBC

Last week I taught the children in my new NGO's preschool program the "Kums Kids secret handshake". (Yes, I realize this makes it less "secret" but oh well - best to share the fun I think!) Learning the handshake - how to make a fist, when to pound it, and when to "blow it up" - made the children laugh uncontrollably. After all 41 of them could do it, we did the hokey pokey and danced around and wiggled until we fell over. It was a bonding day for the children and me. It was the first day we truly interacted and had fun together. We have been growing closer ever since. Today I started to learn their stories.

Learning about the children in my community/communities has been among the things I cherish most about my time here. It is also among those that elicit extreme emotions. Today was no exception. After playing a round of "cat, cat, dog" (read: "duck, duck, goose" but with animals the kids have seen and know about), I sat down with the Head Teacher to discuss the needs of the NGO. In this discussion, I learned that most of the 2- to 6-year-olds that we work with are orphans and come from extremely poor families. Many live with sick grandparents or hardworking uncles (or similar family structures) and are left to care for themselves when not at the preschool. I also found out that one of the little girls that I started to grow attached to last week just lost her mom in December and is now being raised by her teenage cousin, who is her last living relative. Understandably, this child is having an extremely hard time ("adjusting to the loss" as the Head Teacher put it) and is wetting herself and exuding other trauma signs. She is not alone by any means. Two other children in the class are living in a one-room house with eight other people - a hodgepodge of orphaned family members taken in and being raised by an HIV+ aunt. The NGO is trying to pull together funds to help build them a new house and get them food baskets. (This is something they did once before for another struggling family. I learned that it costs roughly US$3,000.00 to build a four-bedroom house in Botswana. This could make all the difference for a family like this. Amazing to think.) The staff struggle too, as they have never received salaries and still have families and bills and basic survival needs. Things are difficult. And I'm just beginning to know the realities in my new village.

While the stories are sad, I want to also point out the positive side here, at least as I see it. For one, family members are reaching out to take in children in need. Next, my NGO and the Gabane Community have come together to offer education and services to help these families. Third, no one is giving up and everyone is pitching in to help. And lastly, I am here and I am inspired to keep these children laughing and to helping find resources to make their lives a little bit better. Their stories, however sad, are what inspire me and are the reason I am here.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Perplexing Botswana Observation #983

I am from the Pacific Northwest. I am very familiar with umbrellas and their function. Umbrellas keep you dry when it's raining. Or at least that's what I thought... Perplexing Botswana Observation #983 is that umbrellas are for shielding you from the sun and NOT the rain.

Since it started getting ridiculously hot in October, I have seen my fair share of people walking around with umbrellas. They have acted as portable shade from the blazing hot sun. I thought to myself "genius!" and wondered if they could figure out portable air conditioners as well. It wasn't until a few days ago that I realized it was actually the only thing the umbrellas were used for.

A few days ago, much to my merriment, it rained. I had a meeting in another village so I grabbed my umbrella and started walking towards the bus stop. Halfway down the road I realized that I was the only person with an umbrella. I'm usually the only person without one, choosing to enjoy the sunshine (like a true Seattlite), and now that it's raining, I am again alone. This seemed so strange to me. Either I have this backwards or they do, right? Well, no, we probably both have this right given where we come from. I lived in Seattle, where sunbreaks were a blessing and rain somewhat common and they are from Botswana where it rains in the summer when the sun is so hot that it scorches your skin. Obviously we have found our own very valuable uses for the umbrella. Even still, it baffles and humors me. I think I'm going to just carry an umbrella around all the time (or never?). Oh Botswana, you continue to surprise me!

Photo Courtesy of Marion and Tish Mobley

Thursday, February 2, 2012

My New Address!!!

I live in a village with a post office now! Hooray! (Love) Letters and packages can be sent to me at:

Tija "Kamogelo" Danzig, PCV
c/o Gabane Community Home-Based Care
PO Box 853
Gabane, Botswana

How sweet is that?! (The simple pleasures of a PCV... how wonderful it is!)

Good Things Really Do Come To Those Who Wait

Well, I did it. I packed up all of my things and moved down the A-10 to the village of Gabane. It was no small task to wade through the things I brought, things left by the previous volunteer, and things gifted along the way, but I did it. And saying goodbye to my Kums Kids? Lets just say that more than a few tears were shed during the week before I left. It was trying to say the least. But, in the light of a new day (and looking from a new horizon, literally), I have to say that it all has been worth it - a true blessing.

Today marks my tenth month living in Botswana and it has taken until now to feel settled and truly happy. It is almost ironic to me that it's taken being uprooted to feel settled but that has been the case.

As you are aware, nearly seven months ago, the NGO that I was assigned to for my primary project at my post in Kumakwane closed down. I spent a lot of time trying to get things sorted and staff poised to reopen the center. Despite my best efforts, motivation waned. When it looked as though there was nothing more that I could do, I started investing my time in other projects in the community and its surrounding areas. I integrated as much as I could and befriended a group of wonderful children. As time went on, Peace Corps decided it was in my best interest to reassign me to a new site. This meant moving from a community that I had grown to love and starting over after close to a year in country. I was skeptical but accepted my fate. On Monday morning, my things and my life moved to Gabane.

The NGO that I am now working for is called Gabane Community Home-Based Care and Early Childhood Education Center. The organization has many functions, all working towards helping the sick and vulnerable. Programs include everything from home-based care, ARV adherence, and health and wellness workshops to preschool/early childhood education, orphan care, and caregiver training and support. All staff at the NGO are volunteers, many of whom have been at the organization since it opened in 1997. These staff members have foregone having a salary in exchange for being able to feed the children and continue to support their HIV+ clients. That staff have been continually fighting to keep it afloat, overcoming a plethora of obstacles along the way. Needless to say, they are selfless,  dedicated, willing, and motivated to help people. What's more, they are extremely excited about every idea that I have and truly understand that I am there to capacitate them (and not to do the work for them). As such, I am every bit as excited to teach them new skills and get them to "function at the next level" (as they so aptly put it).

For the past two days, I have been observing classrooms for the Early Childhood Education Program. This has given me an opportunity to watch them teach, to meet the children, and learn more about this aspect of the organization (which appears to be the cornerstone of future projects). Next week, I am meeting with the Executive Committee of the NGO and then going around to meet the partners, including staff from both the clinic and the health post, as well as members of the Ministry, our Kgosi (the village chief), and representatives from Pellegano Village Industries (an artist/artisan colony in the village that is helping support our organization). The following week, I will do ride alongs to observe the Home-Based Care Programs and meet the Support Group members. The staff and I agreed that it would be advantageous for me to see the many factions of the organization and how they function. The more I know, the more I can help.

In the past two days, however, I have already been able to start a number of beneficial projects, including: helping them brainstorm new fun and educational activities to incorporate into their lesson plans, developing a new monitoring and evaluation plan for the Early Childhood Education Program, digitizing reports and record keeping systems, teaching basic computer skills (including typing), and I set up email accounts for the organization and the main volunteer staff members. We are also planning on starting proposal writing sessions in the upcoming weeks. (In another vein, the women at the NGO are also pretty excited for me to help them make a picture wall to showcase their students and the work they are doing and also for me to do yoga with them!) There is a lot more to work on, which is something that is truly motivating and exciting to me. It looks like my next sixteen months are going to be busy!

I feel extremely blessed to be working with these women at the NGO. This is exactly what I had hoped to come into in joining the Peace Corps. This new site gives me the opportunity to help in so many different capacities - capacitating the staff to do their jobs better, assisting people living with HIV/AIDS and improving their quality of life, helping build curriculums and programs for orphans and vulnerable children, and then creating activities for children and youth to keep them active and healthy. And, on top of all that, I get to work with people that are motivated and passionate and care about their work. This is what I asked for during my first site placement interview. I told them that I didn't care what conditions I lived in - if I had water or electricity in my home - but that I wanted to work for a cause that I believed in and with people that were as dedicated to their mission as I would be. I can't imagine a better way to spend the rest of my time in Peace Corps.

In the end, I would never take back the time I spent in Kumakwane. Time spent with the Kums Kids and with the people from the village are among my most special memories. I was able to show Bokena how to hug, make goofy faces with Temogo, teach Elsie and Stompi Spanish, and paint Elijah's nails. I met Lovey and started a wonderful friendship (and stimulating book club). I had dogs that comforted me when I was homesick and adjusting to life in Botswana. And now? Now it's time for me to move forward and to do what I came here for - to help (even more). Finally, true contentment. 

And the new house isn't half bad either! See: