Where have I been?

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  • Everett Community College

    I attended Everett Community College from 2010-2012. I received my High School diploma and Associates Degree with high honors. While attending classes full time, I was also a Student Senator, served on the Strategic Planning Committee, was the Leadership officer for our chapter of Phi Theta Kappa, was the Vice President of the Student’s for Environmental Action Club, co-created the Spanish club, and was a member of the writing club. I also worked for the information desk on campus and volunteered as a student mentor in a middle school with the Mentor Project on campus. While a student at EvCC, I was also a full time employee at the Kumon Math and Reading Centers of Mukilteo and Marysville and the co-leader of a Girl Scout troop of over thirty girls.

  • Evergreen State College

    I completed my undergraduate degree at The Evergreen State College from 2012-2014. My first year at Evergreen I took a sixteen credit year-long program in consciousness studies and psychology. It was an amazing program that challenged me and taught me a great deal. I also began working full-time at the local chain movie theater that year. My second year was my last, so I didn’t want to get tied into another year long or two-quarter long program. My first quarter that year, I took a sixteen credit program called Can Science Help Me…To Be Better? At first it sounded like an amazing program, but it ended up being very disorganized and challenging. The two professors that taught it didn’t seem to ever be on the same page and there were a lot of confusing assignments. I also took a four credit class on the History and Systems of Psychology. It was a challenging quarter with two classes (20 credits) I didn’t particularly enjoy and I was also working over full-time as a manager at the movie theater and part time as a first-grade classroom assistant. My second quarter I took all individual classes in psychology. It was a better quarter and I met an absolutely amazing professor who has forever changed my life, but it still wasn’t my favorite quarter. My last quarter was. In my last quarter, I created all of my classes. I did what is called Individual Learning Contracts at Evergreen. I connected with four different faculty who agreed to be my advisers and formed my own classes in Developmental Psychology, Eastern Psychology focused on Meditation, Ceramics, and a small project in connection to the Western Psychological Association Conference. Most people only take a four credit contract at a time because it requires so much self-motivation and work ethic that otherwise they lose credit. I decided to just jump into it though and try for all four and it was a great success. I learned more that quarter than I had in all my other quarters combined. I completed my Bachelors of Arts with an area of focus in psychology the year I turned twenty.

  • Gaborone

    Gaborone is the capital of Botswana. I have not yet been to Gaborone, but I will fly in on the 3rd of August and be there for a three day orientation, I believe.

  • Johannesburg

    South Africa’s biggest city. I actually know very little else about Joburg. All I’ve seen of it so far is the airport. They have a nice food place and I got a great massage there, but that’s about all I know.

  • Kanye

  • Molepolole

    Molepolole is where I will be trained. My training runs from the 3rd of August to the 15th of October. I will be living with a host family and attending training for nearly twelve hours a day. I will have some free time on the weekends, but there are also additional required language lessons during that time. When I am not attending trainings, I will be helping my host family around the house and learning how to do things like cook and clean!

  • Ralekgetho

  • Ralekgetho Cell Tower

    This is our one cell tower for the village. I’m assuming it belongs to BE Mobile because they have the best reception here, which sucks because they have the most expensive internet plans. The company Peace Corps uses is Mascom. That reception is really spotty here. So I am keeping that phone and then I got a BE Mobile SIM for my iPhone that I recharge with more airtime every 4 days when I run out of internet. 🙂 I need to get better about avoiding Facebook.

  • Ralekgetho Cluster Police

    We don’t have any actual police in our village, but we have what is called cluster police. Their seems to be a head of the cluster police and then quite a few cluster police officers. From what I’ve gathered, they have very little training and it seemed like they may be a part of the government program for school dropouts as well, but I’m not sure. So far, what I can muster is that they patrol, and attend meetings, but beyond that, I’m not sure.

  • Ralekgetho Forever Home

    My new home or as I refer to it, my forever home (not sure why)

    This will be my home for two years. It’s at the far end of our village. It’s one of the few plaster homes in the village, most are mud huts, but that doesn’t meet peace corps standard. I have two rooms about the same size as the bedroom I had at home. One will be my bedroom and the other my sitting room (they originally told me it was my bathing room, but it was far too large for me to use it just to bucket bath in. I also have a small room about half the size of the others that will be my kitchen. This house was not finished before I got here. They were in the process of building it for renting when they found out that they were attempting to get a peace corps volunteer. It was the only house in the village that was going to work for me, so they quickly finished it up. I’m living on a family compound, so I’ll be sharing a pit latrine with 4 other people. The house is all together, but the rooms don’t actually connect to each other. So I have to leave my bedroom and go outside to go into my kitchen or sitting room. So I have three front doors I don’t have any electricity or water. So I’ll be getting a gas stove and the family I’m renting from will be getting water for me on their donkey cart (it’s over a kilometer to get to the village water source, so I won’t be walking that every day with heavy water on the way back, thank you very much). I’m really exciting for my new home, but it will definitely be a learning experience! P.S. That’s the women I’m renting from in the picture. People keep saying she’s my new host mom.

  • Ralekgetho General Store

    Building in Desert
    Ralekgetho General Store

    We don’t have a grocery store in my village and we don’t have any tiny little tuck shops where you just go up to a window and ask for things, but we do have the general store. The general store is attached to the one and only bar in our village, so the yard is usually well occupied with drunk people. The general store has a wide variety of things. They carry bread, sugar, maize meal, samp (pounded maize), soda, sweets, tomatoes, potatoes, onions, frozen meats, toilet paper, condoms, soaps, airtime, etc. Since we don’t have refrigeration, I typically go to the general store for a cold beverage (usually fanta) on a hot day and airtime to recharge my phone.

  • Ralekgetho Health Post

    The Ralekgetho health post is the only health facilities in our village. The next closest would be in Moshupa and that is about 30km of dirt road away. The health post is staffed by two nurses and 4 clinic aids. There are no doctors. The health post is a small building with 2 rooms. One is for consultations, examinations, ARV dispersing, bandaging and redressing, etc. the other room is split in two, the half that if in between its counterpart and the consultation room has a little window where prescriptions are filled and handed out, and the other half is where the child welfare staff work when they come through, so it is reserved for weighing babies and doing other child consultations. The health post is open from 7:30-4:30. Every morning they start with a prayer with the staff and anyone there waiting. There aren’t appointments, it’s all first come first served, but they do have specific days for some things. ARV dispersing always happens on one of the last Wednesday’s of the month, and HIV testing is done the day before. I will be working in the clinic once a week.

  • Ralekgetho Home Stay

    For my home stay in Ralekgetho, I stayed with a woman, Mma Phiri, who is a cook for our school and her 4 year old son, Sebonana. She lives on the school compound, so she has electricity, but no running water. She is an extremely kind woman and now I have another mom in Botswana to go to if I need her!

  • Ralekgetho Kgotla

    The Kgotla is where all important meetings are held, where the Kgosi (chief) conducts his business which includes settling family or neighbor disputes, punishing common thieves or other lesser criminals (this can include administering lashes if you’re heard swearing in public), and where local ceremonies are held.

  • Ralekgetho Primary School

    This is my primary work place. The primary schools in Botswana are grades 1-7. There isn’t a kindergarten or pre-school here. There are 7 teachers (1 for each standard or grade) 1 of whom is also the deputy head and another 1 is also the guidance and counseling teacher, 1 headmaster, 2 cooks, a cleaner, around a dozen teachers aids, and about 165 students. The teacher aids and clinic aids are really interesting because they’re all school drop outs. There is a government program that hires school drop outs to help in place like the school and clinic to give them work. I will be working closely with the standard 7 teacher who is the guidance and counseling teacher. It currently sounds like my main focus will be assisting with implementing a curriculum they have here called the living curriculum as well as helping to set up after school programs and activities and assisting with other government driven programs to help with things like teen pregnancy and school performance. My school is currently not performing well, so the headmaster, my supervisor, wants my assistance with improving their scores. The school year is year round, beginning in January. They have a couple weeks off around April and July, I believe, and then all of December. During the first term they have lots of athletics, the second is for ball sports, and the third all extra curricular activities cease while they spend the whole term preparing for the end of year exams.

  • University of Montana

    I attended classes at the University of Montana for the school year of 2014-2015, and am still technically a student there. I am a graduate student in the Global Youth Development program. In the 2014-2015 school year I completed all of my academic portion of my degree besides a final paper. My Peace Corps Service is serving as an internship and at the completion of that, I will submit a final 40 page paper and receive my degree. While attending classes, I also worked as a stand supervisor in the concessions department of the University and volunteered with the Peace Corps representative on campus for events.

  • Washington

    I was born and raised in Washington State.