Today, we did our homestay (host family) ceremony. Peace Corps Homestay Matching Ceremony is a ceremony where trainees meet their homestay or host family for the first time. The ceremony is filled with wonderful speeches, food, and prayer. Distinguished guests within the Botswana government are invited and as a trainee we are provided the opportunity to sit and mingle with our new host family as well as meet host families. The day prior to ceremony we are given the names of the head of the household and are told to practice their name. During the ceremony, trainees and host family state each other’s names to the public as a way of introducing each other.
This all happened after being in the country for two days. Having practiced little to no Setswana, I was slightly panicked. The thought of spending a 3 days with a family and only knowing Dumela (Hello) made me quite nervous.
To my pleasant surprise my host sister knew English and was very comfortable with foreigners. She is very friendly and has only made great strides to assist me with getting familiar with Botswana. On my first day at my new home, my host sister and I walked around our village and I met several of her friends. I greeted them all with the only word I knew in Setswana (the most common language of the Batswana people), Duemla. Fortunately, most of them also spoke English.