Erasing Type A and Embracing Type B(otswana)

Authored by:
Rebeka M.

For as long as I can remember, my family has run on what we call "Mercker time." To put that in perspective, we are firm believers of, "if you're not 15 minutes early, you're already late!" One of the first things we were told as students abroad is that there is such a thing as "Botswana time." Unfortunately, this time is NOT the same as Mercker time. Botswana time means that if we're supposed to be at a braai (kind of like a block party) that starts at 2:00, we leave the house at 2:15. This has been one of the many things that I have had to accept while growing accustomed to the way of doing things here in Gaborone.

Our CIEE coordinator asked us on the first day how many of us were Type A. To those of us that raised our hands, she just laughed. She then very bluntly told us that's not the way things work in Botswana. This has been something else I have had to cope with. I can't control everything. There are times when things go wrong. Sometimes, I turn on the bath water (they take baths here instead of showers) and let the tub fill up. When I go to step in, the water is freezing because the family is out of hot water. Living in a country that is mostly desert, water is something that is not wasted. I have taken a number of very chilly baths so far.

Sometimes, the things that go wrong are bigger. I didn't have my luggage the first day I was here because it got delayed when I had to switch some flights. The kids in my house managed to get into my stuff and I've lost my American SIM card. Through no fault of my own, I no longer have my phone or credit cards. Things go wrong. For me, many thing go wrong apparently. However, there is nothing I can do except keep pushing through. I have gotten very good at problem solving recently!

This trip has been pushing the limits of my sanity and has thrown me so far outside of my comfort zone it's not even funny. But there have been so many amazing experiences as well. I have met some amazing people who are always quick to jump to my aid when something goes wrong. I have seen animals many only see in zoos. I have begun to learn a culture that most could only imagine experiencing. Though there have been parts of this trip that could definitely be going better, I wouldn't trade my time here for anything.

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