Nnyaa, go siame

Friday started out as a pretty normal day, but ended up pretty crazy. I headed to school for my religion class around 10 and got cussed out on the combi on the way there (I still have no idea what I did). I finally found a local Pentecostal church to research and my teacher approved it, so that was a big relief. Then my combi safari group gathered to finish up our scavenger hunt. One of the tasks was to try some Mopane worms, a popular source of protein. Even though I was disgusted at the thought of eating a caterpillar, I tried it anyways. It literally tasted like a handful of dirt. I won’t be eating that again. We went to airport junction- a huge shopping area near the airport, pretty far out. I got some pesto pasta at a café, which basically made my day. When we got back, we had a CIEE scheduling meeting to figure out our Setswana class, clinics, etc. The staff even surprised us with pizza! I’ll be starting my clinic rotations on Tuesday at the Phase 2 clinic. I am so excited!!!

One of the students in the program turned 20 yesterday, so we of course had to go out to celebrate. I didn’t exactly know what I was getting myself into when I decided to tag along. After hanging out in the dorms for a while, we headed to a club called Boulevard. It was out in an area called Phakalane, so it was a pretty far cab drive. Our cab driver dropped us off at the wrong location, so we had to walk in the dark to find the club. I was pretty terrified, but thankfully we were in a group and made it safely. When we first arrived, there weren’t many people there so we just sat down at a table. But eventually they turned the music up (mostly American) and people started to dance. We met a group of British exchange students and some other local students from UB. It honestly felt a lot like a frat party, except there were lots of old people there. I’ve never actually been to a “club” before, so I didn’t know what to expect. The Boulevard was complete with flashing lights, a fog machine, and lots and lots of drunk (often old) men. It was pretty fun, but scary at the same time. Being white draws a lot of attention. I certainly wasn’t lacking in offers of drinks and dancing partners. I basically just tried to stay in the middle of my friends and when needed, I would pull out the phrase “nnyaa, go siame (no thank you).” I felt pretty claustrophobic and uncomfortable the entire time. The Boulevard seems to be the typical hangout for UB kids on Friday nights. I’m not so sure if I’ll be rushing back to any clubs, but it was a good cultural experience.

When we were ready to leave, we had a lot of trouble finding a cab driver. The ones we normally use were all busy, so we had to call a random cab driver. I was extremely nervous about doing this because of all the warnings the staff gave us, but it ended up being completely fine. Our driver Bayla was extremely nice and didn’t make me feel at all uneasy. I got us lost on the way back to my house- once again. It’s so hard to explain how to get home in the dark! I didn’t end up getting home until around 1am and I felt pretty guilty. My host mom had waited up for me, which I did not expect. She said I didn’t have a curfew, so I didn’t see the need to rush home. She wasn’t exactly mad, but I could tell she wasn’t thrilled.

I woke up this morning around 10 and my host mom told me that in the African culture, it is important to wake up as the sun is rising so that the day isn’t wasted. Oops! There was a braai this afternoon with all the CIEE kids and host families, so I helped make a salad this morning. Then I took a walk around the neighborhood with my host sister and met some of her friends! They were all very nice and welcoming. We headed to the braai at Mma Bianca’s house around 2. Each family brought a dish, so there was tons of food. It was cool to try all the different popular local foods like pap (a maize starch), cow intestines, chakalaka (carrots and beans in a delicious sauce), and sorghum (another starch). We also had cake because we were still celebrating birthdays. Lots of people were dancing and it was just overall a really good time. It was cool to meet everyone else’s families and get even more immersed with the Batswana. Some of the CIEE kids were going out again tonight, but I’ve had my share for the weekend. I’m exhausted and ready to relax.

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