It normally does not rain in the winter in Botswana.
But a storm just arrived, and brought bucket loads of rain. A dam building project in Southern Botswana just got washed out with all the equipment either washed away or under water. Giant puddles formed everywhere, and the dirt track leading to Jump Street is covered in water. I don’t see evidence of a drainage system in the roads.
The effect of heavy downpour is interesting. People are late for work; water supply is erratic; power supply gets cut out; even the internet connection is intermittent.
After having no electricity for two days at Jump Street, I am very grateful to use my hair dryer today when the power came back. Cooking by candlelight was only so romantic the first few times. I’m so spoiled by modern conveniences!
The girls in the office jokingly blamed me for bringing the rain from Vancouver. I argued that Vancouver was hot and sunny when I left, but they will hear none of it. Many claimed that they have never seen weather like this in their lifetime.
These are some of the most interesting storm clouds I’ve ever seen:
Now, a bit more about work.
I finally met the finance officer at WAR today. She had been away at various meetings since I got here and just returned to the office today. We met briefly and she gave me some ideas of what I can help with.
My mandate here is quite broad and there is room to tweak things along the way. Given the laundry list of things suggested to me, I definitely have to focus on the areas I can be effective in, and leave a list of outstanding items or recommendations for the next person to handle.
I feel that it would be a good use of my time to help them put together a financial policy, set up the safehouse sub ledger, and maybe start with bringing the donor reports up to date if time allows. There is just not enough time to make everybody happy.
I’ve always had this mental picture of what it means to volunteer in Africa. I should be rolling up my sleeves to get down and dirty to build a school or orphanage. But a big focus of the Leave for Change program is on capacity building. I’m not supposed to come here, do something, and leave. I have to train the employees here on how to continue on the tool or system I have set up for them, so that they become self-sufficient. It requires a shift in my mindset, and I do believe capacity building is more important in the long run.
Being on this assignment will go down as one of the most interesting things I have done with my life. It’s an intense learning experience of a completely different culture and work environment. I could not be more excited about this opportunity.
Another volunteer and myself: