Welcome to Nata

It’s my fourth week in Nata (but who’s counting, right?).   My days have been scattered with an assortment of activities.   For these first two months, I am supposed to gather information about the community.  My title is Community Capacity Builder, so although I am based at the Clinic, I supposed to be out in the community, helping to identify needs and strengthen capacity.  I realize the term ‘out in the community’  is too vague.  What does that even mean?  As I said, right now my main role is to be a learner. So I have been going out to the schools, police station, social work office, and other government offices and setting up interviews with community leaders.  I have been trying to get a clear pictures of what this community offers and the resources available, especially in terms of HIV.  Also, making myself familiar with these stakeholders, letting them see my face and my keen interest.  Most of these people that I have become known to are government workers and not necessarily my target population.  So here is where my anthropology background comes into play.  For the next four or so weeks, before my in-service training, I plan to conduct a sort of ethnography, where I have a target amount of interviews, with a set of semi-structured questions.

I discovered a bit of gem out here in my village.  Over at the Junior Secondary School, some of the teachers are in a aerobics club.  They meet M,T,W sometimes Thursday.  I joined them my second week in Nata.  It’s a small group, maybe 5 people, but we have a good time.  We meet at the school’s pitch, which is essentially a cleared dirt field with patches of grass and metal poles acting as goal posts.  We meet around 5:30pm, twilight.  Everytime, I watch as the sun melts into the horizon between the landscape of bush and trees. I think, this is Botswana, this is beautiful.  Didn’t you always imagine sunsets in Africa as beautiful?  I have had a few conversations with some people in my village.  They see what I see as beautiful as a sign of Africa’s poverty, of it’s backwardness.  One will say, ‘look at these people, cooking with firewood, I’m telling you Africa is struggling.’

The H1N1 scare has made it’s way to Botswana.  The government is currently running a campaign to vaccinate every person in Botswana.  So this week I  have been recording information as nurses have been giving every 6mo to 10 year old the H1N1 vaccine.

Happy Fourth of July!  I was thinking about the weather. Normally, on a 4th of July I would be wadding around a creek in the mountains in Utah (actually, this is my 3rd Independence Day in a row out of country, who is to say what is normal).  It would be warm, and I would probably try to find somewhere to go swimming.  4th of July… the essence of summer.  Now I am on the other side of the hempisphere, in the dead of winter, and it almost feels like the same weather.  Same.  Since I arrived in Botswana, it’s been fairly nice weather.  Except for when it rained cats and dogs in April.  They keep telling me that it will get wicked hot, but I’m in no hurry.

One thought on “Welcome to Nata

  1. Hi Sydney, I’m so glad you posted. I love to hear about your adventures. Nata sounds like a great place. It’s interesting that the residents don’t see the beauty the same way you do, but I think that is a universal trait. The grass will always be greener on the other side. I hope you don’t mind that I linked this post to facebook. I guess I should have let you do that. Can’t wait to see you in Boston. Only four more weeks! Love ya!

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