Tuesday, April 3, 2012

How Do You Measure A Year in Peace Corps?

It has been one year since I moved to Africa and started on this Peace Corps journey. Over the last few weeks,  I have tried to talk about the lessons I have learned and the projects I am engaging in. Now I just want to share more about what actually happens in one year... How do you measure a year in your life? This is how I measure mine:

  • Minutes experienced: 525,948

  • Number of Countries lived in: 2 (United States and Botswana)

  • Number of new friends made at Staging ("Bots 10"): 40
  • Number of Bots 10s that got on the plane to Botswana: 39
  • Number of planes taken to reach Botswana: 3
  • Other modes of transportation to reach Botswana: 1 (bus)
  • Distance traveled between America and Botswana: 8,498 miles/13,628 km
  • Time traveled from America (JFK) to Botswana: 16 hours

  • Number of vaccinations received: 11
  • Number of times I have been sick: 1 (tummy ailment, lasted 4 days)

  • Name of family I did training with: Ramathlaba

  • Number of villages lived in: 3 (Kanye, Kumakwane, and Gabane) 

  • Number of organizations I have done work for: 6
  • Number of orphans and vulnerable children I have worked with: 761
  • Number of orphans I have considered adopting: 1 (Bokena)
  • Number of HIV+ patients I have worked with directly: 17

  • Number of times I have considered ETing ("Early Termination"): 2
  • Number of other Bots 10s that have ET'ed: 11
  • Number of times I have been grateful I did not ET: 525,801

  • Setswana language proficiency level: Intermediate-Mid
  • Times I have been surprised I reached Intermediate-Mid: Every single day
  • Times I have wondered what happened to my English abilities: 1,482

  • Number of bucket baths in less than 3L of water: 98
  • Number of baby wipe "baths": 41
  • Longest time gone without bathing: 5 days
  • Longest time without water/water outage: 8 days
  • Longest power outage: 6 days

  • Hottest day: 117F/47C
  • Coldest night: 33F/0C

  • Number of times I have staged a war against ants: 3
  • Number of huge spiders that have scared me beyond reproach: 1
  • Number of bugs (besides ants) that I have outright killed: 2
  • Number of times I have been impressed with myself for living among the spiders in total harmony: 482
  • Number of lizards that I have befriended: 2 (Bernard and Curtis)
  • Number of snakes seen: 1 (it was dead)

  • Number of haircuts: 2 (by other PCVs)

  • Number of game drives gone on: 5
  • Number of vacations: 2 (Namibia and South Africa)
  • Number of mini-holidays: 2 (Sowa Salt Pans and Khama Rhino Sanctuary in Serowe)
  • Number of PCVs visited in their villages: 13
  • Longest bus ride: 15 hours

  • Number of entire television series watched: 7
  • Number of movies seen in a theater (in Gaborone): 5
  • Number of books read: 42

  • Number of relationships I have been in: 1
  • Number of weddings missed in America: 26
  • Number of weddings attended in Botswana: 3
  • Number of friends who have died in America: 4
  • Number of funerals attended in Botswana: 3
  • Number of births missed in America: 6

  • Number of times I ate phane worms: 3 (fried, dried, and boiled)
  • Number of new foods tried: countless (Setswana food, wowza)
  • Number of Setswana foods I mastered cooking: 4
  • Number of foods from America I mastered making from scratch: 11 (things like spinach-artichoke dip, pita bread, pizza, and so on...)

  • Number of American visitors: 1 (Markus Thomi)

  • Number of people who have sent me care packages: 13
  • Number of care packages received: 19
  • Person who has sent me the most packages: Mama Tina
  • Number of people who have sent me handwritten letters: 11
  • Number of letters received: 28
  • Most obscure place something has come from: Ethiopia (Kati Wilkins)
  • Number of Skype dates: 11

  • Times my blog has been viewed: 18,752
  • Number of countries that have viewed my blog: 66 (in order: United States, Japan, United Kingdom, Australia, Sweden, Costa Rica, Germany, Denmark, India, South Korea, Canada, Argentina, Mexico, Russia, Malaysia, Iceland, Liberia, United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Greece, Switzerland, Austria, Slovenia, Botswana, Singapore, Bulgaria, Spain, Pakistan, Senegal, Ecuador, Morocco, Guatemala, Norway, China, Israel, Indonesia, Italy, Lesotho, Uganda, Philippines, Iran, Latvia, Estonia, Mali, Saudia Arabia, Tanzania, Taiwan, Chile, Hungary, New Zealand, Serbia, Colombia, Thailand, Puerto Rico, Brazil, Zambia, Jamaica, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Lithuania, Gabon, Namibia, Belgium, and Albania) 

  • Number of Bots 10 remaining at the end of year one: 28 (11 ETs and 1 Administrative Separation)

  • Most important trait I have acquired: Patience
  • Least important trait needed in Botswana: Logic (it just doesn't exist so no need for it)
  • Trait I value most: Passion (And motivation to see passions through)
  • Thing that constantly surprises me: Everything really does come together in the end
  • Best advice received: "Just keep swimming" (thanks Dory)

  • Thing I have been most grateful for: Constant support and love by my family and friends (both here and at home). You are what has gotten me to this point.
  • New family members made: Bots 10 and my dear friends in Botswana, both host country nationals and ex-pats alike... you are all how I truly measure my life here. And, for that, I could never thank you enough. What a great year it has been.

"it's time now, to sing out
though the story never ends
let's celebrate
remember a year in the life of friends" 

♥ peace corps year one: success 


  1. so great friend. I am excited for your next year and all that brings! Woo!

  2. Love the year in summary! looking forward to reading about year two!