In case you missed yesterday’s post, I received another Fulbright award which is a huge honor. However, if you have been following my blog for any amount of time you know that living in Africa is a bit more challenging than home, or any western country for that matter. But Fulbright, and the U.S. Embassy here, really want me to stay, so much so that I was told, “Tell us what we can do to make this deal happen.”
Today I gave that proposal a little bit of thought. I’ve spoken to a few friends and gotten lots of email messages from people trying to convince me why I should return to the U.S., why I should stay another year, or what concessions I should ask for. Here is the ultimate list, compiled in conjunction with one of the (many) co-Presidents of my Fan Club:
Thank you for your support for my Fulbright award. As requested, I have compiled a list of concessions I would require to remain in Botswana for the next 14 months. Please find the list below:
- Embassy-sanctioned housing. I am aware from my friends who work in your office that all embassy homes have their own power generators, water tanks and fuel which are maintained by U.S. government resources. In an effort to provide a more comfortable standard of living and professional existence, the avoidance of power cuts, water rationing and Internet inconsistency would be ideal.
- Diplomatic mail privileges. During that past year I have had a particular challenge attempting to receive any mail from loved ones. There was the time my package was impounded because I needed to obtain a beef permit from the Ministry of Agriculture for a box which contained a package of beef jerky. Another time it took nearly two months for a postcard to arrive from Namibia. I could have walked to Namibia and back in a shorter amount of time. I still haven’t received my Christmas cards and I know my Dad sent me one that sings- he always does.
- PX shopping pass. I would like to shop at the PX with all the other embassy workers. There is no such thing as toilet paper shortages or lack of fresh fruit at the PX. And you don’t have to buy dead people’s clothes either. You guys get your stuff shipped in from the U.S. every week! I also know there is a Subway franchise. I got that information from a very reliable source. Given the lack of restaurants or real fast food in Botswana, this would be a big plus for staying here another year.
- A seat at the table. I think the U.S. needs a Secretary of Tourism. I’m your girl! I went to the UNWTO Conference. No one represented the U.S. I already made lots of connections and have buddies in all the tourism ministries all over Africa. I could work on your visa facilitation programs, development initiatives and spearhead homeland security and safety training in the tourism sector.
- Naming rights. I realize Phelantown may be too large a request. But how about a lake or a river? Queen Victoria is long gone; she won’t know if we rename her lake. Actually, on second thought, you really don’t need to make me happy. My mom’s the important one. Let’s say we just name a shopping mall after her. Now, that’s definitely doable
Looking forward to your response,