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08/24/2017

DUMELANG (HELLO)!

Image1

Saying goodbye to a group of students is always sad and bidding the Summer students of 2017 farewell was no exception. Fortunately, the departure of one group means the opportunity to meet a fresh group of new students for the semester! Our first week was exciting as we got to share our culture and city with our new friends. Here’s what’s in this issue:

Welcome to Botswana!

Getting Acquainted

Afternoon fun

Dinner time

Welcome to Botswana!

On July 31st we welcomed yet another all girl group to Gaborone, Botswana, which would be their home for the next four months! Homestay students were met by their families at the airport and got their homestay experience going instantly while dorm students were welcomed by our lovely student volunteers who helped them settle into their rooms. Despite the confusion of late arrivals and evening trips to the airport, everyone arrived safe and sound and in time for Day 2 of Orientation Week.

Airport pic

Getting Acquainted

The students started the second day of Orientation with workshops on how to deal with their Homestay families headed by our Resident Director, namely Basetsana Maposa, who gave informative perspectives on the different expectations and norms of living with a Tswana family. Dorm students had a similar workshop on navigating dorm life in the University of Botswana led by Lebogang Gubago; a former on-campus student and CIEE staff member.

In achieving the purpose of Orientation week, most mornings were filled with informative presentations on various issues of relevance to the students including (but not limited to) Safety and Security, Culture Shock and Adjustment, Community Service involvement, a Bystander Intervention as well as a student volunteer led campus tour. The students also got a chance to learn a few basics of our native language, Setswana, to help them get acquainted and navigate the city.

Base orientationBasetsana giving a presentation on Academics at UB

Ub tour picUniversity of Botswana Campus tour

Ub indoor sports complexOur recently opened Indoor Sports Centre

Afternoon Fun!

After early mornings filled with an overload of information, we usually like to get the students active in the afternoons with different and exciting cultural activities.

Food is an integral part of our culture, and as such, the Gaborone Study Centre is intent on exposing the students to traditional food during their first week in the country. Botswana Craft is a local store that sells handcrafted artwork, also has a Gallery, a Courtyard Restaurant, and is a popular venue for hosting live music shows. The students therefore get a chance to taste traditional food, as well as have the opportunity to look at and purchase local handcrafted artwork. Have a look:

Botswana Craft pic

 Botswana Craft food
Lunch is served! A delicious meal composed of Seswaa, Oxtail, Dumplings and Bogobe

Botswana craft productsHandcrafted amenities available at Botswana Craft

Evrybody picGroup picture taken at Botswana Craft

Like any other African community, dance is at the centre of our cultural norms. While traditional dance is not something the students are likely to be exposed to in the city, the Gaborone study Centre goes above and beyond to ensure the students get a chance to experience an afternoon of traditional fun!

Thabang dancerThabang, a local Afro fusion and traditional dancer, shows off his talent

Dance workshopSignificance of Culture and Dance in Botswana

On the 3rd of August, the students got the opportunity to handcraft their very own bracelets and necklaces using beads with the help of Thabang Molefhe; a local Afro-fusion dancer who also specialises in making traditional arts and crafts. Handcrafted arts and crafts for sale are a popular way in which people make a living and as such can be found all over the city.

Bead work Bead work 2
Ariana and Alexa giving it a shot!

After a week of informative presentations and sight-seeing, a student volunteer led Amazing Race is used to expose the students to locals through fun activities and interactive challenges. The students get a chance to use public transport for the first time and get an introduction on how the system works with the help of student volunteers. As they ride through the city, they get to see various hot spots and tourist attractions until they reach the finish line after which they will be required to submit a creative video highlighting their experiences in hopes of winning the prize! Take a look at their experiences:

Amazing raceLulu, Ariana, Maeve and Shante at the Taxi Rank

Extension 2 clinicExtension 2 Clinic

Main mallPaige, Hayley and Alexa in Main Mall

Botswana's first presidentOur students featuring Botswana’s first president

Man and bull UBThe Man and the Bull Statue in UB

Main deckMain Deck is a popular Bar and Restaurant in the heart of Gaborone

Dinner Time

A candlelit dinner at one of the oldest hotels in the city is where we end off Orientation Week. Savuti Grill of Avani Hotel is a delightful buffet which caters to anyone's desires. Their menu comprises of a variety of meats, stir-fry, salads, desserts and many more. Students and staff get a chance to relax after a long first week over a good meal and great conversation.

Welcome dinnerGroup picture at Savuti Grill

Welcome dinner 2Palesa, Ariana and Basetsana looking beautiful!

The dinner ended relatively early as the students had an early morning sunrise hike up Kgale Hill to get a view of the city they would call home for the remainder of the year. Have a look:

Kgale hill hikeHayley, Paige, Emily and Palesa made it to the top!

Kgale hill 2Emily and Alexa with the Gaborone Dam in the background.

Gaborone view Beautiful view of Gaborone!

After a hectic first week, we look forward to the exciting semester ahead! Until next time, sala sentle (stay well)!

DUMELANG (HELLO)!

Image1

Saying goodbye to a group of students is always sad and bidding the Summer students of 2017 farewell was no exception. Fortunately, the departure of one group means the opportunity to meet a fresh group of new students for the semester! Our first week was exciting as we got to share our culture and city with our new friends. Here’s what’s in this issue:

Welcome to Botswana!

Getting Acquainted

Afternoon fun

Dinner time

Welcome to Botswana!

On July 31st we welcomed yet another all girl group to Gaborone, Botswana, which would be their home for the next four months! Homestay students were met by their families at the airport and got their homestay experience going instantly while dorm students were welcomed by our lovely student volunteers who helped them settle into their rooms. Despite the confusion of late arrivals and evening trips to the airport, everyone arrived safe and sound and in time for Day 2 of Orientation Week.

Airport pic

Getting Acquainted

The students started the second day of Orientation with workshops on how to deal with their Homestay families headed by our Resident Director, namely Basetsana Maposa, who gave informative perspectives on the different expectations and norms of living with a Tswana family. Dorm students had a similar workshop on navigating dorm life in the University of Botswana led by Lebogang Gubago; a former on-campus student and CIEE staff member.

In achieving the purpose of Orientation week, most mornings were filled with informative presentations on various issues of relevance to the students including (but not limited to) Safety and Security, Culture Shock and Adjustment, Community Service involvement, a Bystander Intervention as well as a student volunteer led campus tour. The students also got a chance to learn a few basics of our native language, Setswana, to help them get acquainted and navigate the city.

Base orientationBasetsana giving a presentation on Academics at UB

Ub tour picUniversity of Botswana Campus tour

Ub indoor sports complexOur recently opened Indoor Sports Centre

Afternoon Fun!

After early mornings filled with an overload of information, we usually like to get the students active in the afternoons with different and exciting cultural activities.

Food is an integral part of our culture, and as such, the Gaborone Study Centre is intent on exposing the students to traditional food during their first week in the country. Botswana Craft is a local store that sells handcrafted artwork, also has a Gallery, a Courtyard Restaurant, and is a popular venue for hosting live music shows. The students therefore get a chance to taste traditional food, as well as have the opportunity to look at and purchase local handcrafted artwork. Have a look:

Botswana Craft pic

 Botswana Craft food
Lunch is served! A delicious meal composed of Seswaa, Oxtail, Dumplings and Bogobe

Botswana craft productsHandcrafted amenities available at Botswana Craft

Evrybody picGroup picture taken at Botswana Craft

Like any other African community, dance is at the centre of our cultural norms. While traditional dance is not something the students are likely to be exposed to in the city, the Gaborone study Centre goes above and beyond to ensure the students get a chance to experience an afternoon of traditional fun!

Thabang dancerThabang, a local Afro fusion and traditional dancer, shows off his talent

Dance workshopSignificance of Culture and Dance in Botswana

On the 3rd of August, the students got the opportunity to handcraft their very own bracelets and necklaces using beads with the help of Thabang Molefhe; a local Afro-fusion dancer who also specialises in making traditional arts and crafts. Handcrafted arts and crafts for sale are a popular way in which people make a living and as such can be found all over the city.

Bead work Bead work 2
Ariana and Alexa giving it a shot!

After a week of informative presentations and sight-seeing, a student volunteer led Amazing Race is used to expose the students to locals through fun activities and interactive challenges. The students get a chance to use public transport for the first time and get an introduction on how the system works with the help of student volunteers. As they ride through the city, they get to see various hot spots and tourist attractions until they reach the finish line after which they will be required to submit a creative video highlighting their experiences in hopes of winning the prize! Take a look at their experiences:

Amazing raceLulu, Ariana, Maeve and Shante at the Taxi Rank

Extension 2 clinicExtension 2 Clinic

Main mallPaige, Hayley and Alexa in Main Mall

Botswana's first presidentOur students featuring Botswana’s first president

Man and bull UBThe Man and the Bull Statue in UB

Main deckMain Deck is a popular Bar and Restaurant in the heart of Gaborone

Dinner Time

A candlelit dinner at one of the oldest hotels in the city is where we end off Orientation Week. Savuti Grill of Avani Hotel is a delightful buffet which caters to anyone's desires. Their menu comprises of a variety of meats, stir-fry, salads, desserts and many more. Students and staff get a chance to relax after a long first week over a good meal and great conversation.

Welcome dinnerGroup picture at Savuti Grill

Welcome dinner 2Palesa, Ariana and Basetsana looking beautiful!

The dinner ended relatively early as the students had an early morning sunrise hike up Kgale Hill to get a view of the city they would call home for the remainder of the year. Have a look:

Kgale hill hikeHayley, Paige, Emily and Palesa made it to the top!

Kgale hill 2Emily and Alexa with the Gaborone Dam in the background.

Gaborone view Beautiful view of Gaborone!

After a hectic first week, we look forward to the exciting semester ahead! Until next time, sala sentle (stay well)!

07/31/2017

An Important Decision: Homestay or Dorm Life

Sam1

By Samantha Ernst

When I decided to come to Botswana, one of the biggest choices I was faced with was where I would live during my two-month stay. I picked between living in the dorms with other students in the program at the University of Botswana and living in a homestay with a Batswana family. When I was weighing my options, I knew in the back of my mind that I would also have the opportunity to experience living in a homestay when the group did a village homestay in Kanye for one week. Other factors I considered included the cultural immersion I would experience in a homestay as compared to in a dorm, the level of independence I would have, and the types of food that I would be eating. I was worried that if I chose to live in a dorm at UB with other American students, I would fail to get as full of an understanding of Botswana's rich culture as I would if I lived in a homestay. I was also relatively concerned that I would exist in an American bubble in the dorms and that was something I really wanted to avoid. However, I was a little nervous that if I were to live in a homestay that I would lose my sense of independence, which is something that is tremendously important to me. As a pretty introverted person, having my independence and time to recharge is critical.

Anyways, when it came time for me to fill out my housing form for CIEE, I probably spent a good thirty minutes just staring at the screen. I ended up deciding to live in the dorms at UB, instead of living in a homestay because I felt that I would be happier in my own environment and that I would get to experience a homestay while in Kanye. I am very thankful to have made this decision because living in the dorms has been an extraordinarily positive experience for me. I live with three other girls in the program and while we all have our own rooms, we share a living room and kitchen area. I have gotten very close to the girls I live with and we spend time together making meals, going to the gym, and relaxing after classes and clinics. Additionally, the dorm has become a home base for everyone in the program and we often retreat back there after class, before a night of going out, and on weekends. I still feel that I am experiencing true cultural immersion, while also maintaining my independence. I don't feel like I'm stuck in an American bubble because I interact with Batswana people daily, whether it is on a combi or taxi, in the clinics, or on campus.

Sam2

While living in the dorms was the best decision for me, while in a homestay for a week I learned substantial amounts about Setswana culture and myself. I lived with my host mom, my brother who was my age, and my four-year-old nephew. I ate traditional food, interacted more in Setswana, and learned more about the Botswana way of life. Furthermore, I overcame more than I expected to during the village homestay in Kanye. I took my first taxi all by myself, something I hadn't even done in Gaborone, and I successfully walked to a friend's house even though I wasn't fully sure of the way. With another girl in the program I cooked for, served, and cleaned for 13 incredible individuals and I tried foods I never expected to like. While I definitely think I made the right decision living in the dorms at University of Botswana, the village homestay taught me tremendous amounts about Setswana culture and I got to bond with a family whose path I wouldn't have crossed otherwise. It goes to show that leaving your comfort zone to the fullest extent and conquering your fears really does pay off.

Sam4

Sam3

Sam5

Botswana & Travels.

Meagan1

By Meagan McAuliffe

This weekend, I had the pleasure of being able to go to Cape Town with seven of the new friends I have made during my time in Botswana. We knew we had a long weekend coming up; so several weeks ago we began planning this trip. Well, not this trip precisely. Initially, we were going to go to Durban, but that plan fell through. Then, the idea was to go to the Okavango Delta but, again, that didn’t end up happening. Finally, after several hours of planning various trips, someone asked about Cape Town. In less than an hour, the trip was planned. Tickets and an Airbnb were purchased shortly after and over the next couple days activities and restaurants were decided upon. And then we were on our way.Our trip to Cape Town was a long day. We got up at 4:30 AM and got to the bus pick up location before 5:30. We were on the bus and on our way by 6:00 AM. After a long bus ride and a rather short plane ride we made it to Cape Town, where we waited over an hour for our host to let us into the Airbnb but, we had a beautiful view to keep us company. It all worked out though, and we made it to our first restaurant, the wonderful Royale Eatery. All in all, it was a successful trip to our home for the weekend.

Meagan2

The next day we went to a cute café called Honeybun. Their coffee was delicious and their French toast with nutella was even better. Afterwards, we went to Bo-Kaap, an area with lots of colorful houses and took pictures. After lunch, we went to the botanical gardens and saw some beautiful views. We ended the night going to nice Italian restaurant and then out to one of the bars on Long Street.

Meagan3

Our Sunday started with coffee at Tribe Coffee, a cute coffee shop/restaurant with steampunk décor. Then we went to a winery and enjoyed a tasting of their red and rose wines. We spent our afternoon along the ocean, though it was far too cold to swim. We had a relaxed night in and an early night sleep.

Meagan4

Our final day in Cape Town, after coffee at Tribe Coffee again, we took the cable car to the top of Table Mountain and experienced some of our coldest weather in Africa, but also some of the most amazing sights I have ever seen. After a rest at our Airbnb, we went to the waterfront to shop and sight see. While there, we road the Ferris wheel and had a beautiful view of the city as the sun got ready to set.

Meagan5

Travelling home was a rough day with a lot of waiting at the airport, then a very long drive, followed by a ridiculously long wait at the border. The memories made this weekend though, are worth all the hassle of getting to and from Cape Town.

I highly recommend that everybody take advantage of their time in Botswana and go see as much of the world as possible. Cape Town was an amazing destination but I don’t think you can go wrong with any travels, as long as you are smart and stay safe. Find someone to travel with. Ask people for suggestion. Search the web. I guarantee you can find somewhere to visit that will steal your heart. Travelling may be difficult to plan and expensive to execute but it is worth it once you are there and coming home to Gaborone is such a pleasure. I still would love to see the Delta and Durban and all of the other places we started planning trips to, but that will have to wait until another time. For now, Cape Town is the place that stole my heart.

My End of Program Botswana List

Maire1

By Máire Nakada

We’ve come to the end of the summer 2017 program and through the two months that I’ve been here I’ve started thinking about all of the things I wish I knew before studying abroad in Gaborone. Some of the things on my list would have made life easier in general and other things are social norms that I had to get used to very quickly. I hope that at least one thing on this list will prepare you for what to expect in Botswana. So let’s jump right into it!

Batswana stare very freely, especially if you are white. Don’t think anything of it. Don’t be surprised if men ask you to take them back to America with you and marry them. My clinic partner often had marriage proposals from mothers with single sons. People like to ask you where you are from, what is your number, and my personal favorite, “what are your objectives for being here?”. Batswana are very straight forward and you should not be embarrassed to be straight forward back. If you have food in public people will ask you to share with them; it’s part of the culture. These experiences are shocking at first but eventually you will be comfortable with them.

Maire2

Secondly, when visiting clinics do not be surprised when the person in charge says they were not expecting you or they do not know who you are. Just go with the flow and respectfully tell them you are studying public health at UB. Our program director gave us a number to call in case there was a problem so you will probably get a similar help line. Most clinics do not have toilet paper or soap in the bathrooms so I recommend bringing some with you in your back pack. Paper towels or strong air dryers were rare so just get used to shaking your hands off after washing them. Clinics are what you make of them. I recommend visiting every part of the clinic to get the most patient observations. My personal favorites to take notes in were the dressing room and child welfare clinic.

Maire3

If you choose to do the homestay option like I did, you are going to eat a lot more Setswana foods than the students who choose to stay in the dorms. Personally I liked this a lot because I wanted to be fully immersed in the Setswana culture. Most families cook one big meal a day which is usually dinner. Breakfast was something simple like porridge or toast with tea or instant coffee. If you want more Americanized foods hit up Mugg & Bean at Riverwalk or Main Deck in Main Mall. SPAR and Pick n’ Pay at Riverwalk are good places to go grocery shopping. Bethel is the head CIEE driver and he can take you places for a small fee. Also, Bethel is awesome and will always help you.

Maire4

A few miscellaneous things: make sure you try a phaphatha (puhPAHta) from the street vendor or grab an egg and cheese phaphatha from the student center at least once. Make friends with the student volunteers because they are really chill and know a lot about Botswana. If you have the chance to visit Cape Town, South Africa – GO. Finally I recommend keeping a journal throughout the program. It’s been really entertaining to read over my thoughts these past 2 months and see where I started compared to where I am now. I hope you enjoyed this brief list and have a solid study abroad program!

Maire5

07/06/2017

Be prepared to eat…. A LOT!

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Jordan Wahl

During your stay in Botswana you will work up a hefty appetite! If your group is anything like ours you will find that you will spend most of your time here with food in your mouth more times than not. Whether you choose to do a homestay or to live in the dorms you will have plenty of opportunities to eat local food. 

4

Now one thing to know about Botswana food is the portions are enormous - in a very good way. Portion control does not exist here, by the end of your stay you will get used to a full plate, and be able to finish it all without guilt.  Homestay kids, get used to your plate being prepared for you. Don’t be surprised when you can’t see the bottom of the plate because food fills the holes. A typical meal will always contain a big portion of meat followed by an even larger portion of a grain/carb (rice, pap, pasta, etc.) and some other sides to go along.

3

Dorm kids, we didn’t forget about you. You guys will also have many chances to eat local dishes during orientation week, Kanye village stay, and weekend excursions. Also, when you are asked by a local if you want food and you say no ten times out of ten you will still end up with a plate. Locals love giving you food and in this culture, it is very common to give your guest food and is what to be expected. You will also have plenty of opportunities to go out to eat in which Gaborone has a lot to offer. Even at these places (Main Deck, Mug n’ Bean, and Europa just to name a few of our favorites), you find that you will be given a lot of food.

2

My advice to people coming in is to encourage you to try everything you can. There are so many good foods that the locals have to offer and you will be surprised how much you will like. Even though there are some differences in the way things are they are still very good. The best food comes during excursions and during orientation, this is where you will be served the most local food and you find the things you really like. Once you find what you like you will always be hoping they will be served at the next excursion. The best part about the food during excursions is that it is buffet style and you can serve yourself everything you like. Be careful because by the end of this trip you will find that you will start to serve yourself the same size portions!

5

10/23/2014

International Faculty Development Seminar 2014

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DUMELANG (HELLO!)

On Tuesday, July 8, five faculty members from different universities in the United States arrived in Botswana to attend the International Faculty Development Seminar (IFDS), titled Turmoil and Tenacity: The Progress of Public Health in Botswana. For ten days, they listened, shared, and learned about the Botswana public health care system. Further, they engaged with local experts through panel discussions, presentations, site visits and excursions. All left with a broader understanding and appreciation of Botswana--its culture, landscape, and public health challenges and successes.

Closing Worship Day 1From L to R: CIEE Gaborone IFDS Leader Dr. Marape Marape, IFDS Participant Gabriela Soto Laveaga, CIEE Gaborone Program Assistant Tanya Phiri, CIEE Gaborone Resident Director Basetsana Maposa, and IFDS Participants Ryan Saylor, Gayl Crump Swaby, Monica Melton, and Shiko Gathuo.

Here's what's in this issue:

Orientation: Public Health in Botswana
Understanding the HIV/AIDS Response in Botswana
Cultural Snapshots
Processing the Experience

ORIENTATION: PUBLIC HEALTH IN BOTSWANA

After a long flight, IFDS participants arrived in Gaborone. CIEE staff welcomed them with a dinner at Gaborone Sun's Savuti Grill. Although the participants were exhausted, everyone was excited for the week ahead.

Welcome Dinner 4

 

 

 

Tanya, Monica and Dr. MarapeWelcome Dinner 6

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gabriela, Basetsana and GaylWelcome Dinner 7

 

 

 

 

 


Basetsana and Ryan with CIEE Gaborone Intern Gaone Manatong and CIEE Gaborone Program Assistant Amelia Plant

 

 


Orientation began on Wednesday, July 9th. Participants toured the University of Botswana (UB) in the morning and were given a lecture on the Historical Perspective of Botswana and Southern Africa by Dr. Gumbo, a lecturer in the UB History Department.

Gumbo 2

Gumbo 3The lecture sparked great discussion about Botswana's political present, past and future. Participants left with a better understanding of the role of the government and its political figures in Botswana society.

The afternoon began with a bus tour of Gaborone by Moabi Mogorosi, a local filmmaker. After dinner, they watched "Hot Chilli," a traditional Setswana love story based on a traditional folk story, directed by Mr. Mogorosi.

The next day began with overviews of the health care delivery system and health care financing in Botswana by Dr. Malebogo Pusoentsi from the Botswana Ministry of Health and Dr. Howard Sigwele, economist and consultant, respectively. The rest of the day was spent at site visits to Princess Marina Hospital, the National Health Laboratory and a clinic in Molepolole, a nearby village.

Princess marinaPrincess Marina Hospital is the largest referral hospital in the country. It provides specialized care to patients referred from district and primary hospitals and clinics. Participants toured the hospital and learned about the services provided in the various departments.

From there, everyone headed to the National Health Laboratory, one of the government-owned laboratories in Botswana. Participants learned about the role that the NHL plays in the fight against infectious and chronic diseases as well as its quality management system.

In the afternoon, participants toured a village clinic in Molepolole to compare the urban and rural public health care delivery systems.

These site visits and lectures provided important introductions to the public health system in Botswana. With this information, participants were prepared to delve into deeper issues surrounding the Botswana public health care system, such as HIV/AIDS, TB, and human rights.

UNDERSTANDING THE HIV/AIDS RESPONSE IN BOTSWANA

The next 6 days were jam-packed with site visits, panel discussions and great meals. Each day introduced a new theme to the seminar:

Day 4, Fri July 11: HIV and AIDS Response in Botswana
Day 5, Sat July 12: Challenges of Developing a Human Rights Approach to HIV Response
Day 6, Sun July 13: Botswana History, Royal Family and Lifestyle
Day 7, Mon July 14: The Role of Traditional Medicine in Botswana Health Care System
Day 8, Tue July 15: Pediatric and Children HIV Care and Treatment in Botswana
Day 9, Wed July 16: The Relationship Between Tuberculosis and HIV in Botswana

NACA
Each day had some major highlights. Day 4 featured a panel discussion on the Overview of the HIV and AIDS Response in Botswana and Challenges to the Public Health Sector featuring Oscar Motsumi from the Botswana Network of AIDS Service Organizations (BONASO), and our own IFDS Leader Dr. Marape Marape and Resident Director Basetsana Maposa. This presentation highlighted Botswana's early response to the epidemic, the national ARV Treatment Programme, and the role of NGOs and international partners in the national response.

BONASO is the umbrella body for AIDS service organizations in Botswana, thus coordinating the the civil society response to HIV/AIDS.

Bonela pic

 

Experts on the intersection between human rights issues and HIV/AIDS came to speak to the participants on Day 5. They included Mr. Olebile Machete, Director of Childline Botswana, Mr. Uyapo Ndadi, a human rights lawyer, Mr. David Ngele, founder of the Botswana Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS (BONEPWA) and Mr. Tshiamo Rantao, Board Chairman of Botswana Network on Ethics, Law and HIV/AIDS (BONELA).

BONEPWA and BONELA are two of the seminal human rights organizations in Botswana. BONEPWA is well-known as an advocacy group for HIV-positive individuals, by HIV-positive individuals. BONELA focuses on many issues concerning the intersection of human rights and health, such as the equal access of health care services by homosexuals.

Later that afternoon, participants visited the Botswana Harvard AIDS Institute and laboratory.

Botswana Havard HIV InstituteBotswana Harvard Institute is a partnership between the Botswana government and Harvard University. Its primary purpose is to conduct research and assist in education and M&E around HIV/AIDS and other sexual reproductive health issues.

Harvard Institute LabRyan, Shiko, Gayl and Gabriela in the Harvard Institute Lab

On Day 6, everyone departed for an overnight in Serowe to tour Sekgoma Memorial Primary Hospital and the Institute of Health Sciences. Serowe is the home of the Bangwato tribe and is one of the largest villages in Botswana. The participants were happy to get out of Gaborone and get a chance to see more of the country.

Sekgoma hospital

Sekgoma Memorial Hospital is one of the largest state-of-the-art and busiest district hospitals in the Central district. In the tour of the hospital, participants saw firsthand Botswana's efforts in ensuring that high quality health care is provided in a village setting.

Institute of Health Sciences 3

 

 

 

In the Institute of Health Sciences, participants visited the hospital education center for nursing, midwifery, and health education students.

 

 

 


Day 8 brought the focus to pediatric HIV care and a return to Gaborone. The morning began with a panel discussion featuring Dr. Marape Marape and representatives from two organizations doing groundbreaking work on support for HIV-positive children and adolescents. Lila Parvey came to speak about Stepping Stones International, a Mochudi-based NGO that focuses on building life skills for in- and out-of-school orphans and vulnerable children. Edward Pettitt described programs at the Botswana-Baylor Children's Centre of Excellence, which provides anti-retroviral treatment (ARVs) and other support for HIV-positive children and their families.

Baylor Bristol Myers

After the discussions, the participants visited Baylor's new teen center, called the Bristol Myers Squibb Phatsimong Adolescent Centre, located across the street from the current Baylor Children's Centre next to Princess Marina Hospital. The Adolescent Centre is a new addition to Baylor and developed out of the need to provide more services to HIV-positives teens. HIV-positive youth have unique difficulties in completing  schoolwork and  navigating other life challenges.

 At the teen center blurred faceGayl, Gabriela, Monica, Tanya, Basetsana, Ryan and Shiko with a Baylor teen at the Baylor Adolescent Centre (face cannot be shown due to privacy reasons)

Day 9 was the last substantive day before the closing workshop. The morning began with a panel discussion on the State of Tuberculosis in the Era of the HIV/AIDS Epidemic in Botswana. Dr. Chawangwa Mudongo from the Botswana/UPenn Partnership and Dr. Dipesalema Joel from Baylor came to discuss the dynamics of HIV and TB coinfection. Botswana/UPenn is a partnership between the government of Botswana and the University of Pennsylvania to promote clinical care, education and research on HIV/AIDS.

The day ended with a tour of the National Tuberculosis Reference Laboratory.

CULTURAL SNAPSHOTS

Although the visits and panel discussions were educational, the learning did not stop there. The participants had a wealth of cultural experiences that enriched their time in Botswana.

Natl Museum (2)

 

As part of their bus tour of Gaborone on Wednesday, July 9th, the participants explored the National Museum, which has been officially opened to the public as of 1968. It features exhibits on human evolution, local culture, and political history of Botswana.

 

 

 

Natl MuseumTouring through the National Museum

Botswana Craft 2An exhibit of traditional baskets and pottery at the National Museum

In between the panel discussions and site visits, the participants had some delicious traditional food. On Thursday, July 10th, they were treated to lunch at Botswana Craft. They ate seswaa (pounded beef), phaletshe (maize meal), koko ya Setswana (Tswana chicken), morogo wa dinawa (bean leaves), and other western foods such as rice, chicken stew, lettuce, and a variety of cold drinks. Botswana Craft also sells local merchandise and souvenirs that are crafted not only locally but also in the region. The participants got the chance to look around and purchase what interested them.

Bcm_court2The Courtyard at Botswana Craft, taken from the Botswana Craft website

A nice break from all of the academic information came when the group went to Serowe. In addition to the hospital visits, they got a chance to relax and enjoy a bit of village life. Upon arriving in Serowe on the morning of Sunday, July 13th, they visited the Khama III Memorial Museum. In addition to providing a wealth of information on the Bangwato tribe and the first President of Botswana, Sir Seretse Khama, the museum boasts old photos depicting the development of the village of Serowe. It is also a great place to buy inexpensive local crafts.

Serowe Museum 2Gayl, Ryan, Dr. Marape, Shiko and Gabriela enjoying a museum tour amongst exhibits on the San people, or bushmen

One of the special aspects of the museum is its proximity to the Serowe royal cemetery. Sir Seretse Khama and his wife Ruth Williams are buried in the Bangwato royal cemetery along with other important members of the Bangwato tribe. After the museum tour, the participants headed up the hill to pay their respects at the cemetery.

Serowe Royal GravesClimbing up to the Serowe Royal Cemetery

After the Bangwato royal cemetery, participants enjoyed a game drive at Khama Rhino Sanctuary, a community-based wildlife project in operation since 1992. They boast over thirty rhinos and a variety of other animals.

Safari driveShiko, Monica, Gabriela, Dr. Marape, Gayl and Ryan in the safari vehicle

Between the site visits, panel discussions and trip to Serowe, the participants got a well-rounded Botswana experience.

PROCESSING THE EXPERIENCE

Although the IFDS participants only spent ten days in Botswana, they left with a better appreciation of Botswana, its culture and public health system. But their time could not be complete without a closing workshop to help process their experience.

Dr. Marape and Basetsana led the workshop, which used participatory techniques to encourage the group to view their experiences from varying perspectives. They first discussed the "what?" of their time in Botswana - the places they went; the things that they did.

Participants gained a unique perspective about Botswana. Two memorable quotes about the experience were, "Botswana. So much more than HIV/AIDS," and "Botswana like home: Transformation in process."

The closing workshop then moved on to the "so what?" - making meaning out of their experiences.

One participant said the experience was, "As I expected, but way better!" Another said their learning outcomes were, "Riches harnassed. Lives saved. Stereotypes challenged."

Lastly, they answered "now what?" by brainstorming how to translate their experiences back to their home universities.

Participants were already planning to incorporate the Botswana experience into their academic studies. One said that they wanted to "educate more people about Botswana and somehow integrate into my own research to continue to come here." Another hoped "to write a case study of Botswana in my next big research project."

All in all, the participants had an amazing experience. They will all be missed!

Closing Worship Day 2

Until next time, sala sentle (stay well)!

08/12/2014

Summer 2014 Issue III: A Quick 8 Weeks

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DUMELANG (HELLO!)

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We had a jam-packed eight weeks with the summer 2014 students. Although they were here for such a short time, they engaged with the community, grew to felt like Gaborone was home, and even traveled internationally! Check out this issue of the Gaborone Newsletter to see all that they got up to.

Here's what's in this issue:

Blog Highlights
From the Viewpoint of a Combi
Past Newsletter Editions
Climbing Kgale Hill

BLOG HIGHLIGHTS

A great way to experience the Gaborone life from afar is through the eyes of the students. They wrote about everything from tasting new food and traveling to nearby countries, to the academic experience. It is never too late to catch up on these jam-packed blogs!

JUMPING RIGHT IN

Sara Sanders introduced us to the first few weeks of life in Gaborone in her post, "Dumela Botswana!" Part of adjusting to any new location is trying local food. Abbey Kennedy and Asia Moore had different experiences in this endeavor. In Abbey's blog, "Dumelang Borra Le Bomma, Ke Rata Botswana!” she described her newfound love of the food, whereas Asia had difficulty eating mopane worms in "More Mopane Please."

DSCN0435Bianca, Brett, Ashley, Keamogetse and Asia tried mopane worms in Main Mall

In addition to food, students wrote about other aspects of their adjustments. Alex Gary and Brett Solfermoser took the opportunity to explain the transport system and grad village dorms on campus in their posts, "Using the Transportation System in Gaborone" and "The Summer Dorm Experience," respectively.

TransportAlex tried her luck with public transportation

VOLUNTEERING

We are committed to helping our students get more acquainted with the community. One way in which we do that is by organizing some opportunities to volunteer. In Michaela Riley's post, "An Introduction to Botswana Wildlife: Mokolodi Nature Reserve," she talked about our activities in Mokolodi; we spent a few hours helping to prevent soil erosion and ended the day watching giraffes on an exciting game drive. At our volunteer afternoon at Batlang Support Group, we had a great time entertaining the preschoolers. Read all about it in Alex Vasquez's post, "My Day at Batlang."

BatlangAlex and Abbey at Batlang

OUT AND ABOUT

Another great way to spend weekends is to travel around the region. Our students opened their horizons through CIEE and independently-organized trips. Maria Harlan and Bianca Herrera wrote about the fun they had learning about local culture at the Bahurutshe Cultural Village in their respective posts, "African Reflections" and "Bianca's in Botswana!" Our trip to the Khama Rhino Sanctuary in Serowe was chronicled by Meaghan Pope in her post, "Fun in Serowe." We also banded together to climb Kgale Hill, which Allie McConville described in her post, "Hiking Kgale."

Bahurutshe hikeEveryone climbed up to some hills in Molepolole during the Bahurutshe excursion

If you are interested in traveling to Cape Town in South Africa or the Okavango Delta in Botswana, you can't miss Rachel Auerbach and Sophie Brickman's blog posts. In "Traveling While Abroad: The Cape Town Experience," Rachel took a beautiful tour of South Africa' Cape. Sophie spent a fun-filled day on a mokoro ride in "Lessons from the Okavango Delta."

The deltaSophie and Emily got the chance to row the mokoro

THE CLINIC EXPERIENCE

All students that come to Gaborone in the summer enter the Community Public Health (CPH) program. They visit clinics and health-related non-governmental organizations in Gaborone. For a snapshot of a day in the life of a CPH student, check out Kylie Chase's post, "Clinic Craziness."

ClinicAlex and Kylie in their lab coats outside of one of the Gaborone clinics

A week of the summer program is spent outside of Gaborone, in the village of Kanye. Students stay with a host family, learn to cook traditional food and visit a traditional court. They are given the chance to compare the urban and rural public health systems. Three students wrote their blog posts about the Kanye experience. For personal anecdotes, check out, "A Week in Kanye" by Kate Taylor, "A Second Look at a Week in Kanye" by Caitlin Bond, and "Adapting to a New Lifestyle" by Emily Greenwald.

KanyeAll of the students at the kgotla, or traditional court, in Kanye

REFLECTIONS

Studying abroad can be a life-changing experience. Many students use their blog post as a space to reflect. In "Overcoming Obstacles," Ashley Henderson wrote that friends and family were nervous about her trip, so she was proud that she chose to come. Katrina Boi remarked about how close the group had become in her post, "Our Summer Abroad." They even had the opportunity to see elephants together up in Chobe National Park, Kasane, Botswana.

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FROM THE VIEWPOINT OF A COMBI

The students all enroll in a 2-credit Setswana Language and Culture course. In addition to Setswana language, they do numerous activities to help them get acquainted with the local culture. The first activity is called the Combi Safari.

In the combi safari, students compete for the grand prize of a dinner at a nice restaurant in Gaborone. To win, they must use combis to get around the city and take creative photos at different points of interest. Combis are 15-passenger vans that follow specific routes and have a set price. They are the most common form of public transportation in Gaborone.

Check out some of the great photos from this summer's combi safari:

NatlmuseumRachel, Michaela, Sophie and Sara at the National Museum

Main mall girls Alex, Allie, Abbey and Alex showing their Botswana pride at the main mall

RiverwalkEmily, Meaghan and Caitlin with Youth Games Team Egypt at Riverwalk Mall

 Phase 2Kate, Katrina, Maria and Kylie at the Phase 2 taxis in the bus station

The winning group's photos were put up on our youtube channel. Check out Ashley, Asia, Brett and Bianca's style. They took the combi safari assignment to the next level, truly enjoying their experiences.

  

PAST NEWSLETTER EDITIONS

The students had amazing excursions during their time in Gaborone. Two of them are captured in earlier newsletters. If you missed them, check out these links for more details!

The first chronicled the students' trip to the Bahurutshe Cultural Village on Friday, June 13th. They learned how to dance the traditional Bahurutshe dances, tasted local food and climbed into some beautiful caves.

IMG_3256Emily and Alex participated in some after-dinner cultural entertainment

The second edition of the newsletter chronicled our volunteer day at Mokolodi Nature Reserve on June 14th. Everyone worked hard in the morning and enjoyed a game drive and delicious bush braai in the late afternoon.

IMG_3291Michaela and Kate took down some overgrown trees

CLIMBING KGALE HILL

One of the activities that students enjoy partaking in while in Gaborone is climbing Kgale Hill. Kgale Hill is the largest hill in Gaborone, standing tall at 4,222 feet above sea level. It is great exercise and affords a beautiful view of Gaborone from the top. What a great way to begin a Saturday morning!

Around 10 am we all met to climb the hill. We took combis and taxis to Game City mall and walked ten minutes on a tarred road to reach the summit. The climb began well; there were clearly-marked paths and we were finding our way easily.IMG_0234

We stopped for a group photo after about thirty minutes.

IMG_0241Abbey, Sara, Michaela, Rachel, Alex, Katrina, Allie and Kate paused for a bit of a break

Even from part-way up, the view was something to behold. But we had to keep climbing.

IMG_0239Katrina, Kylie and Maria took in the view

We reached a beautiful open rock area and thought that we were almost done. Little did we know, we had only begun.IMG_0244

After we had traversed the open rock space, we weren't sure how to get back to the trail. A nice passerby told us to climb back down the side we were on to get to the peak of Kgale Hill.

IMG_0250Students attempting the descent over the smooth rock face. Don't worry - it wasn't as steep as it looks!

After the open spaces, we commenced the climb through a more bush-like area. We posed for one more group picture before we reached the top.

IMG_0252Our group! Lily, Emily, Sophie, Abbey, Katrina, Kate, Allie, Rachel, Sara, Maria, Kylie, Michaela and Alex

The light was beautiful through the trees as we began the last part of our climb. But it took almost an hour! We had someone in our group who had done the climb before, but she couldn't remember the trail. There were arrows at the beginning, and after a while they disappeared. Our easy mid-day hike turned into more of a strenuous climb. Luckily, those of us who had two water bottles shared with those students who forgot.

IMG_0253Navigating our way through the brambles

Finally, after two hours, we made it to the top!

IMG_0273Everyone was tired after the hike. Alex, Katrina and Rachel took a nap while Emily and Sophie had a snack.

The top of the hill boasts an old radio tower that is no longer in use. It is a favorite spot for tourists and locals alike.

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The best part about the climb is the view from the top.

IMG_0269Michaela and Abbey enjoyed the view of the Gaborone Dam in the distance. The Dam is a huge water supply for the residents of Gaborone. Currently the Dam stands at 15% capacity and water shortage is a recurring issue.

IMG_0254View of the other side of Gaborone

Even though everyone was pretty hungry by the time we finished the hike, we had a great time! There are many ways to entertain yourself in Gaborone, but Kgale Hill is not to be missed!

That brings us to the end of the Summer 2014 newsletter. Until next time, sala sentle (stay well)!

07/24/2014

Summer 2014 Issue II: Animals and Hard Work at Mokolodi

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DUMELANG (HELLO!)

Students and CIEE staff headed to Mokolodi Nature Reserve on Saturday, June 14th, to do some volunteering, learn about conservation, and (maybe) see some animals! After a final breakfast at the Bahurutshe Cultural Village, we made the hour-long drive to Mokolodi and arrived mid-morning.

Nature reserve

Here's what's in this issue:

Background of Mokolodi
Manual Labor
First Glimpse of Botswana Game

BACKGROUND OF MOKOLODI

Image6Mokolodi Nature Reserve is located about 10 km away from Gaborone and was founded in 1994 by the Mokolodi Wildlife Foundation.

In addition to being a huge tourist attraction in the southern part of Botswana, Mokolodi boasts an education centre, conference facilities and space for other events. Around 10,000 children from schools throughout Botswana visit Mokolodi every year. It is a tourist destination for many, as it boasts many different kinds of animals to see on game drives—giraffes, kudu, wildebeest, rhinos, impala, and many more.

In addition to tourism and education, Mokolodi has many conservation projects going on. They nurse injured wildlife in their clinic and breed white rhinos. African rhinos are an endangered population because of poaching, so Mokolodi has been breeding white rhinos in order to help preserve the species.

MANUAL LABOR

After arriving at Mokolodi, we sat down with Sean, the conservation specialist, to learn a bit more about the conservation issues. He told us about the rhino breeding program and wildlife sanctuary, but he also alerted us to the issues of soil erosion going on in the park.

Soil erosion is a huge threat to the maintenance of the park. When there are heavy rains, the roads deteriorate and it makes it difficult for grasses to grow. Then, in periods of drought, the animals have a hard time finding food. A lot of Mokolodi workers, then, spend their time trying to slow down the process of soil erosion. We helped them by creating barricades using wood, rocks, and digging holes.

Image6Emily getting ready to put those rocks in an eroded road. Don't worry - she had some help!

Image6Allie, Brett and Rachel digging space to put the wood logs into. They then put rocks around the logs to help prevent the soil and other plants from eroding when heavy rains come.

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Image6Koketso, Sara, Abbey and Alex digging holes. Having holes in relatively flat land helps to trap the water so it does not run and take the vegetation with it.

Soil erosion is not the only environmental issue in the park. There are also many parasitic trees that take the nutrients away from other plant species. Those who did not help with soil erosion helped in cutting down smaller trees.

Image6Bianca used the axe to great success!
Image6But sometimes teamwork made the job go faster - Michaela and Kate used those muscles!

Although a couple hours of volunteering did not fix all of the environmental issues in Mokolodi, we still felt like we had accomplished something!

FIRST GLIMPSE OF BOTSWANA GAME

After all the hard work, we rewarded ourselves with a late afternoon game drive. It was the first time we had experienced some of the famous southern African wildlife.

Safari carIn the safari truck: Pops, Meaghan, Ashley, Bianca, Sara, Brett, Maria, Michaela, Kate and Caitlin

We saw a lot of giraffes, but unfortunately they were a bit far from us or hidden behind trees. We were told that giraffes are the tallest land animals. The older they get, the darker their spots become. That is one way that you can tell their age.

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Animals 2Male Impala

Animals 3Wildebeest, one of the "ugly five"

All in all, it was a great day!

Until next time, sala sentle! (stay well)

07/23/2014

Our Summer Abroad

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Post by Katrina Boi from the University of Illinois at Chicago

As we look back at this past summer, it is almost as if there are not enough adequate words in the dictionary to describe the amazing adventure we all have taken together. From the first moments at the airport to the last tearful goodbye, we all go our separate ways this week while memories of each other will always live in our hearts.

For one last hooray, for our summer in Africa, a few of us went on a weekend trip up to Chobe and Victoria falls (A must see). Apparently it is one of the only places where you are guaranteed to see an elephant while on safari. They were not lying! I couldn’t even begin to count how many we saw; we even watched them swim!

2014-07-16 12.47.05In addition to the hundreds of elephants we saw hippos, crocodiles, giraffes, lions, various other animals as well as a beautiful sunset and sunrise over the gorgeous Chobe River. We all also were lucky enough to be visiting during a full moon. When there is a full moon and high enough water levels it creates a phenomenon where during the night at Victoria Falls you can see a moonlight rainbow. It was enchanting and incomparable to anything I have ever witnessed before.

20140712_143600It was coming back from Zambia when I realized the bond that I formed with Botswana. As soon as we crossed the border and got that passport stamp it was as if we were coming home. I wasn’t too surprised by the level of attachment that we had formed to Botswana living here for the summer. As I thought about how the relationship with this country blossomed, I had to go back to the beginning when we first landed and had to navigate our new surroundings. I think I speak for everyone when I say we never were sure we would reach this level of comfort.

At the beginning none of us thought we would be able to navigate or be completely comfortable in Gaborone. When we finally realized how much we had learned about living in a different country, we had already been independently traveling the city for a long time.

20140711_165134I then started thinking about all the other fears that had formulated in our imagination and minds during the first week abroad. I know I was afraid I would have never make true friends and that all summer we would spend the days together awkwardly making conversation and pretending to enjoy each other’s company. I could not have been more off! The individuals I met here in Botswana permanently are imprinted into my journey and my life. They were not surface acquaintances but rather impactful and deep relationships. These relationships were not only made with other students but with homestays, student volunteers, and other friends we met along the way. The lifelong bonds that we have formed are just the tip of all the things that we all are bringing home with us and things that will stay with us for the rest of our lives. Every fear that we had, I think, was diminished and disappeared as the summer went on.

20140709_204732I believe that Botswana has had an enormous impact on every one of our lives as we navigated this summer together. My only hope is that we all carry the knowledge and experiences with us throughout the rest of our lives. Letting these experiences, good or bad, help determine and guide us through the other journeys that we inevitably will encounter.

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