I leave the door open to the guidance and counseling office when I’m collatingsurvey results or typing my site report (PC requirement during first months of service). Teachers and students pop in throughout the day to talk with the lekgoa or ask me for a pencil or sometimes just smile at me. I smile back and practice my pitiful Setswana and eventually I can’t say anything else and they get tired of looking at me and go away.
Seeing a white person in Botswana is like spotting a deer on the highway. People slow down. They lift their kids up and point at it. They want to look at it. Closely. They even, bashfully, would like to touch it. If, um, it doesn’t mind.
Just yesterday I was leaning my head against the window of a combi and little fingers from the seat behind me began stroking my hair. I considered turning around and telling the child to stop but then she started absentmindedly singing and the hair-playing kind of felt good and so I relaxed and let her pet the deer. I was amused. And kind of soothed.
There is a distinct shortage of relaxed affection for the Peace Corps Volunteer. We take what we can get.
I close my eyes and listen to her song and miss Everything and Everyone and am consoled.