Meat Pies, Simba Chips, Cool Time, and Fake Ice Cream…Yes, Please

   I'm trying to write more about my   experiences outside of work because most of the time when people ask me about my life here they ask about work so I don't get to talk about the other things. This time I'm going to write about food (aka dijo in Setswana)
   Meat Pies are a big deal here. I'm guessing because of the British influence? Anyway, they are almost everywhere. You can get a meat pie in one of the tiny shops in my village, at grocery stores in larger villages, and at some bus stops. There are even stores like Mr. Pie Man and Pie Time that sell only meat pies. Basically, they are little breaded pockets of meaty deliciousness. They come in the form of plain chicken, chicken  perri-perri(spicy chicken), Russian (sausage), or steak and kidney. I'd recommend the chicken perri-perri. My PCV friends here laugh at me because when we were in training in Kanye I was meat pie obsessed. I didn't eat a lot at my host family sometimes and was hungry so I'd look forward to some meat pie. I probably gained a few meat pie pounds during training. Luckily, I only eat them now and then when I travel these days and have lost my meat pie weight haha.
   Simba chips are a brand of potato chips that are popular here in Botswana. You can find them in almost any little shop, and they are pretty cheap. Many of them are meat flavored. I like the salt and vinegar ones. Whenever I plan an event in my village for the students I usually end up with sandwiches and Simba chips to give them for lunch.
  Cool Time is a delicious and refreshing ice pop/slushy type of snack that is sold at every bus stop area in Botswana during the summer. People will walk around the bus and come onto the bus trying to sell Cool Time. Sometimes there is nothing better than slurping on some Cool Time when it is 110 degrees and you're traveling on a crowded bus.
   Most of the ice cream (or maybe all) in Botswana is not "real" ice cream made with dairy. Instead, it is made with oil substitutes and sugar. When I first got to Botswana I thought it tasted weird, but now if I am somewhere that actually has ice cream during the summer I'm all over that. I've actually kind of come to appreciate some fake ice cream in my life.
   I wrote back when I first got here about some of the Setswana foods. I've really come to love a couple of Setswana foods like seswaa and morogo. Seswaa is pounded meat. I've helped make it twice before. You cook the meat and then you pound it until all of the meat is broken off of the bones and is shredded until small pieces. It takes a while to make, but it is yummy. You can make it with beef or chicken. Morogo is a bit like spinach, and is delicious. I like to put some vinegar on mine.

     If you are reading this you're probably thinking "Damn, most of that (minus the meat and morogo) doesn't sound very healthy", and you would be right. Luckily, these are not things that I eat all of the time. My every day diet usually consists of things like rice, pasta, a lot of spinach, tomatoes, beans, apples, carrots, and sometimes potatoes. I also eat a lot of eggs for protein as well as granola and peanut butter. I've become a better cook here, and I've learned how to make some creative meals with few ingredients.


"What is Fainting?"

I haven't been writing as much as I once wrote because for me life here is normal and it has been more difficult for me to think of things to blog about. My life here just sort of is what it is at this point.  However, something I realized I have not written about is my fainting stories. I will preface this by saying that PCMO ( Peace Corps medical) knows about this and has helped me out so no worries there.
   The first time I fainted was last summer. I was coming back to my village after getting groceries on a mini-bus. This mini bus was very crowded so I was standing in the aisle for about 45 minutes when I started to feel sick. I had been standing near a woman who worked at the junior secondary school in my village and her friend and had been chatting with them when I first got on the bus. When I started to feel light headed I asked this woman from my village if she could shout to the bus driver and ask him to pull over so I could get off the bus and sit on the ground because there was literally no space for sitting anywhere on the bus. There was not even floor space because it was so crowded, and I was surrounded by several children standing in the aisle alongside me. Before the bus driver could stop I fainted right across the laps of this woman from my village and her friend. When I became conscious again both women were yelling at everyone on the bus to open every window and at a couple of people across the aisle who had been laughing at me. They wouldn't let me stand or move at all. I sat on their laps for a good thirty minutes until someone else offered me his seat and helped me move over to it. 
   The second time I fainted was a few weeks later on a different bus on the way to my friend's village to celebrate the holidays. I was luckily traveling with another PCV friend. Unfortunately, this bus was also very crowded, and we both had been standing for a while when I started to feel sick. My friend saw that I didn't look so great and tried to ask if someone we were standing near would give up their seat for me, but nobody wanted to. I don't think they really understand what was about to happen or maybe they thought I was just being lazy. Sure enough, I ended up fainting on one of them because they wouldn't move. Then someone gave me a seat. It was awkward. 
   After a series of medical tests nothing was found so it was determined it was most likely environmental-the heat, the closed in space, the lack of people opening windows etc. I did have some problems with dizziness a handful of other times afterward, but I had not actually passed out again until recently. This time I had walked to one of the primary schools in my village and was watching some students practice dancing for an upcoming prize giving event. I started to feel a little sick and went into the school to get some more water from the sink. I sat down with my water in case I fainted, and I did end up fainting for a  few minutes on the floor right in front of the sink. When I became conscious again it had only been a few  two tiny 6 year old, standard one students were standing next to me giggling. "Ke a lwala" …I am sick, I told them and then rested for a while before letting the teachers I had been working with know what happened ( and the PCMO again of course). 
  Bots summer is a beast!  I'm totally fine otherwise and have had updated tests that show so. I'm going to up my water intake even more, eat small things throughout the day to keep my blood sugar up, and pay attention to how I'm feeling. 
Go siame!