This was the 10th and best picture I had taken over two days and I couldn't allow myself to make my host family sit through another one. This was early in the morning before school started. You can tell because my younger host brother was trying his hardest to keep his eyes open.
I was lucky to have been placed with an excellent host family. I have heard stories from other volunteers of just how unpleasant an experience it could have been and I am thankful for just how open and kind my family was. All of the most important points of what I was looking for and expecting were met. They included me and never made me feel like I wasn't supposed to be there, which I have gotten from other people even in my own village. My private space and time were respected just as much as I respected theirs. And above all, they are all good people.
Sure, I was disturbed by the youngest kids sitting outside my door and counting to 5 in Setswana repeatedly or screaming goat (pudi!) non-stop even when there was no goat in sight but it was also nice to hear kids playing and laughing almost everyday. And I wasn't always open to hearing the pounding of Tswana medicinal concoctions and burning of strange smelling incense next door but I learned more about their culture this way. All of the things that upset me were only trivial and fleeting. There were also plenty of little things that would brighten my day like saving me a few magwina (fried bread) when they were made and knocking on my door on my darkest, most hermetical days to make sure I wasn't dead.
The host family (in South Africa anyway) can really make or break a volunteer's service. A lot of the experience rides on it and I don't know if I would have stayed the entire way with another family. I wish mine all the best things in the world.