Christmas at home

 My friends and I had an ugly sweater holiday party
   This Christmas was my last New England Christmas for a while. Realizing this, I started to put a lot of pressure on myself to make it perfect. I then realized how ridiculous that is, and how I was actually ruining it by thinking this way. Nothing in life is ever perfect, and I would only end up feeling disappointed. I ended up accepting things as they were and having a really great time once I was able to let go. I watched lots of holiday movies and laughed a lot with my family. I played board games and stayed in my pajamas all day. I listened to great music and ate a lot of fattening, delicious foods. It was very nice and ended up being exactly what I needed. Things have a funny way of working out.



   I found out that Botswana is the specific country I will be going to. Botswana is located in southern Africa and borders South Africa, Zimbabwe, Angola, Namibia, and Zambia. I will be working in the area of  HIV/AIDS outreach. This could mean working at a school, a hospital. or a social work agency or community center of some sort. Botswana has one of the highest rates of HIV infections in the world so the focus will be on education, prevention, and working to end stigmatization of people who are HIV positive. It sounds like I will be working with youth mainly, but the information I was sent says that "youth" may include people who are in their late 20sin Botswana, and HIV also impacts many older family members who end up taking care of orphaned grandchildren, nieces, nephews and so forth. I've read  that a major concern right now is that if HIV infections keep increasing in Botswana at the rate that they have been, there will be more adults over the age of 60 than in their 30 or 40s. A great book to read about Botswana  and the history of the AIDS epidemic there is one that I, ironically enough, read far before I knew about my placement, Saturday is for Funerals.
   Here is some other  interesting information about Botswana for anyone who is interested in learning. It makes me very excited to learn more. I have A LOT of reading and learning to do.  http://www.peacecorps.gov/welcomebooks/bwwb637.pdf