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Friday, November 15, 2013

10 Ways Peace Corps Botswana Prepared Us for the Zombie Apocalypse

Now that our service in Botswana has finished, and we utterly failed to keep this blog well updated, we are going to continue using this site to post articles regarding our re-integration into life in the United States and our reflections on our past service in Botswana with the United States Peace Corps.

1.    1)   Water hoarding and rationing is second nature

a.       Many villages are without running water and are fed only by boreholes. Even if you live in a village with a municipal water system, outages are common and can last for days, so you must store water inside your house and use it conservatively.

2.    2)   Bathing is optional

a.       We got very used to bathing occasionally, especially during water outages and in the cold of winter when freezing air in inescapable.

3.    3)   Scavenging and conservation of food

a.       Basic foods like starches and beans became a staple of our diet. When special care-packages of food arrived we got used to rationing the goods. Even living in a village with a small grocery store, fresh fruits and vegetables were expensive and hard to come by. Also, insects are now seen as a viable source of protein (in a pinch).

4.    4)   Hitch Hiking safely

a.       In Botswana, hitch hiking is a common and necessary activity. And when you are picked up you pay the driver what it would cost to take the bus that distance.

5.    5)   Sleeping in "the bush"

a.       Sleeping on the hard ground with a sleeping bag is standard fare in the Peace Corps. When visiting other volunteers or working at an overnight youth camp, this is usually your only option.

6.  6)     A roll of duct tape and a pocketknife is all you need for most survival projects

a.       Whether you are trying to make a clothesline to dry your hand-washed laundry or you have to tape survival items together to make a super weapon against the zombies, you find that a knife and some duct tape covers most tool and maintenance needs.

7.   7)    The immune system is kept on its toes from barrage of foreign pathogens

a.       While the Peace Corps has a medical office and staff in each country and does its best to provide care for volunteers, when you join Peace Corps you accept that you will be living in hardship and it turns out that unless you have a very serious medical issue you are usually on your own to work it out. We lived a seven hour bus ride from Peace Corps medical care so we tried to manage health issues on our own.

8.    8)   Travelling light – only the essentials

a.       In the apocalypse, speedy travel is a key to survival, and in the Peace Corps you become acclimated to living with only the bare essentials especially when you are on the move to other villages or Peace Corps trainings. To join the Peace Corps you pack your world of belongings into two suitcases and once at site you eventually get used to living with just the most important of those belongings out of a backpack.

9.    9)   You are ready for everything and nothing at any given moment

a.       You can work tirelessly on a project for weeks or months and see that it is going nowhere, and then in an instant everything happens at once. This mirrors existence in a zombie wasteland where the monotony of scavenging is mixed with intense episodes escaping from the clutches of zombie hordes.

1010).   Walking endurance and vigilance.

a.       A lot of walking is involved in Peace Corps service! And with the destruction of society as we know it, transportation by car becomes a fleeting luxury as finding fuel becomes more and more difficult and roadways become clogged with dead vehicles. Not to mention walking miles through the Kalahari desert each day requires vigilance to avoid bugs, snakes, scorpions, thorns, and crumbling stones that are out to trip your every step. And with this, we are ready for the long walks and constant vigilance that ensure survival in a zombie wasteland.