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12 posts from July 2014

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.

07/15/2014

Summer 2014 Issue I: Experiencing Culture in Bahurutshe

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DUMELANG (HELLO!)

On Friday, June 13th the students and CIEE staff headed to Bahurutshe Cultural Village to learn about the Bahuruthse way of living and have themselves some fun. The village is located near Mankgodi village, which is about an hour’s drive from Gaborone.

Image13Napping on the ride to Bahurutshe (Meaghan, Bianca and Sophie)

Here's what's in this issue:

Hill Climbing
The Cultural Site
Activities Around a Bonfire

HILL CLIMBING

We arrived at Bahurutshe at 9:00 in the morning. After dropping off our bags in our new accommodation, we were transported to Molepolole, a nearby village. Molepolole is one of the largest villages in Botswana and is home to some huge caves. We were all geared up for adventure and excited to climb the hills and to get into the caves.

Image13CIEE students Alex, Brett, Katrina, Michaela, Caitlin, Abbey, Meaghan, Asia, Emily and Rachel
and local student volunteer, Kuda

Image13Rachel, Sara, Maria, Alex, Abbey, Kate, Katrina, Kylie and Michaela soaked up the sun

The caves have an interesting history. In olden times, women who were suspected of being witches were thrown into the caves. Legend has it that if one was to go into the cave today, they would disappear and never be seen again. Luckily no one disappeared, but we did have a lot of fun relaxing on top of the hill after our climb!

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Kylie doing yoga; Sophie, Ashley and Michaela riding the wind

 

 

 

 

From the hill top, the view is gorgeous. There, high above the world of cities and civilization, we paused and looked across a natural world ruled by nature and her raw beauty. It was a nice break from the hectic schedule of classes.

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THE CULTURAL SITE

After the trip to the caves and a great lunch, we returned to Bahurutshe to find out more about the tribe's culture. Bahurutshe is a trip in the south eastern part of Botswana. Like all tribes, they have their own traditions. In the late afternoon, we sat down with Bahurutshe elders to listen to their wisdom.

Image13In the Setswana culture, during official gatherings in villages, men sit on chairs whilst women sit on the floor. However some women still practice this even during unofficial gatherings. Traditional huts seen in the background are made from materials indigenous to the village and its surroundings.

The elders told us that the Bahurutshe's totem is the Baboon. That means that the baboon is sacred to the Bahurutshe people, and they cannot harm it.

Some of the Bahurutshe elderly women demonstrated various female roles of pounding sorghum the traditional way. Our students were even able to try it themselves!

Image13Emily pounding sorghum

Image13Abbey grinding sorghum into a power that can then be used to make soft porridge (motogo) for breakfast and thick porridge (bogobe) for eating with meat at lunch and dinner

Image13Katrina filtering the powder from the larger sorghum seeds

Everyone had a great time participating in these traditional activities. We were told that women go to gather food, come home and prepare the food. The men, on the other hand, went to the kgotla (the traditional court) and discussed important village matters.

ACTIVITIES AROUND A BONFIRE

After dinner, Brett (one of our students) helped the elders make a fire.

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Fire is an important aspect of life. It used to be very common to cook every meal over an open fire. Nowadays, some families in villages still do it, but cooking inside on stoves is also becoming more popular.

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As day turned to night, we were entertained by traditional Bahurutshe dancers. They danced various forms, including phathisi and tshutsube.

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We then joined; sang and danced the night away!

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 Until next time, sala sentle (stay well)!

07/14/2014

Overcoming Obstacles

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Post by Ashley Henderson from Prairie View A&M University

Thanks to all the commotions in Nigera, most individuals were not supportive of my study abroad program. “Do not go,” “stay here,” or “it is very dangerous there.” Nobody had anything positive to say towards Botswana, and most people were not even aware of its exact location. The minute I mentioned Africa, everyone’s eyes always seemed to bulge and they uttered nothing but discouragement. I was so determined to prove them wrong while encountering an experience most may never encounter or have the opportunity to. After being accepted into the program, and receiving scholarships including that of the Gilman International Scholarship, I managed to obtain a great start. Before I knew it, it was time to say farewell Texas and hello Botswana. I had never flown before, but what do you know, I pick the longest flight in history; suppose you can say I just love challenges. This is where I encountered my first obstacle; I missed my last connecting flight to Botswana from Johannesburg. Completely frustrated and full of anxiety, I overcame the issue, stayed the night in a lovely hotel located in South Africa, woke up early and landed in Botswana by noon.

Image1The picture above was my hotel accommodations in Johannesburg, at the Birchwood hotel

Although I was completely overwhelmed from my flight, that didn’t stop time from flying by so quickly. One minute we were all in orientation learning about Gaborone; the next minute we were in clinics doing observation at the crack of dawn. When applying to the program, eight weeks seemed so long until now! Time in the clinics and class flew by just as time in Gaborone did, as opposed to the waiting period for transportation in Kanye. During the homestay visits in Kanye I was completely comfortable and satisfied to the point that I resented my decision to stay in the dorms during the entire program. Although I had plenty of freedom and INTERNET in the dorms, I suppose one could say there were disadvantages and advantages.

Image1I’m sure Bianca was thinking about food because I surely was.
Long rides and waiting periods have that effect on your mind.

This past weekend we visited Khama Rhino Sanctuary, one of the many trips we have taken together, but the last we will all take together.

Image1The photo is a mother rhino with its baby, taking during a night game drive.

The opportunity to study abroad has been an amazing experience so far. The program has managed to fly by extremely quickly. Just when you assume that time can’t move any faster you find yourself preparing for goodbyes. Getting to Botswana was a complete struggle, awaiting scholarship notification to missing my last flight in South Africa. While traveling abroad I’ve encountered so many unique individuals, who managed to change a few of my aspects of life. From past experiences I have learned not every situation may be great, but the learned experience will one day create a great situation. This last week of the program is extremely overwhelming, but it’s the last quarter, hold on it's crunch time!

Image1Hiking the hill and I decided to play in the tree.

07/11/2014

Fun in Serowe

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Post by Meaghan Pope from University of Illinois at Chicago

This past weekend, we had the opportunity to visit the Khama Rhino Sanctuary in Serowe, Botswana for a nighttime game drive. We were able to see not only white rhinos, but wildebeest, impala, ostriches and zebras; some of the students even saw a leopard!

Image5White Rhinos at Khama Rhino Sanctuary

Botswana relies heavily on tourism, and destinations like the Khama Rhino Sanctuary, Mokolodi Nature Reserve, Chobe National Park, among others are national treasures. They create jobs for locals and bring in tourist dollars to support the local economy and infrastructure.

Image5Impala at Khama Rhino Sanctuary

The night drive, although very cold (many of us brought blanket covers from the dorms we were provided at the sanctuary), was an amazing experience that I’ll never forget. As we ventured further into the bush, my group fell into silent observation of the various creatures as the guides shone lights over their eyes, which reflected back at us in the dark. It was an eerie moment as we saw the disembodied head of a wildebeest staring back at us as it idly grazed the grassy plain.

Image5Poster of the first president of Botswana with his wife

The following day, we paid a visit to a nearby museum called the Khama III Memorial Museum, also in Serowe. The students were given a brief background into the history of the village through a guided tour of photographs, personal items that belonged to previous chiefs and various pieces of Botswana art. In addition to this, there was an entire room dedicated to the memory of the beloved Southern African writer, Bessie Head, where her works and personal photographs were put on display.

Image5Art and baskets by local artists and crafters

Other items that the museum had on display were traditional medicines, musical instruments and finely crafted baskets created by local Batswana. The baskets feature many aesthetically interesting designs but they’re also designed to convey a message about an event that happened in the past, an omen, or observations of wildlife.

After the museum tour, we were given the chance to take a short hike nearby to visit the Royal Cemetery where the first president of Botswana, Sir Seretse Khama lies buried next to his wife, Ruth Khama, and influential figureheads central to the development of Botswana as an independent country. Although we were not allowed to take pictures, the view granted at the top of the hill overlooking Serowe is one that I will never forget.

This previous weekend gave us a chance to see and experience more of Botswana outside of Gabs and to delve into the cultural history of the village of Serowe. I will be sad when the program ends, but I’m glad to have taken away so much knowledge about the local culture!

Bianca's In Botswana!

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Post by Bianca Herrera from the University of Illinois at Chicago

Hello everyone, or dumelang! Greetings from Gaborone, Botswana. It has been an amazing 6 weeks since I first set foot in this country. Since then I have slept in a hut, danced traditional dances, seen zebras, wildebeest, and rhinos, negotiated with local vendors (and got pretty good deals), rode combis, eaten Mopane worms, seen amazing landscapes, and much, much more!

I will start off by talking a little bit about my experience at the Bahurutse Cultural lodge. During this overnight trip, I was able to see traditional Setswana dances, eat traditional food, and climb up a hill. I enjoyed climbing up the hill during the Bahurutse excursion. It was difficult to climb with large jutting rocks everywhere (literally “rock climbing”), but when we got to the top, no one could deny that the view was amazing.  I felt like I could stay up there for hours, but we had to come down so we could go back to the lodge and watch the traditional dances.
ThumbnailThe dances were amazing to watch! What most struck me about them was how young the dancers were. It was very interesting to see young people keeping a part of their culture, despite the influences of western culture in Botswana.
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After this I was able to sleep in a hut, which was, well, it was cold!!! CIEE was not lying when they said to bring a jacket because it gets cold at night, I would actually suggest bringing a scarf and hat too.
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So I have talked about culture, but what about animals? There were so many animals on this trip that I saw both on safari and just walking around. On campus, there were always some cute cats and monkeys. Sometimes they would follow you, but most of the time they just kind of hung out. However, in Jwaneng, I witnessed baboons roaming the streets….that was SCARY (but only if you are afraid of baboons, as I am)! We went on two safaris, one during the day and one at night. I saw impala, antelope, wildebeest, spring hare, zebras, rhinos, and more!

The last thing that I will speak about is my experience in the markets. I loved going to the local shops and negotiating for things such as handmade beaded bracelets and necklaces, statues, figurines, and even a Botswana flag (because ke rata Botswana!). At the market, you will also find these interesting little snacks called Mopane worms.ThumbnailI was hesitant about it at first; I mean they are fat caterpillar-like critters. However, after I tried one, fed to me by one of the local vendors, I found that they were quite delicious! Fried and with the right seasoning, those little critters are a delicacy.ThumbnailOverall, I have had an amazing and different experience during my time here. I have learned so much about culture, people, and about myself as well. This trip has inspired me to travel other parts of the world as well. I would love to come back to visit; it wouldn’t be for a while but “ga go na mathata”, I’ll make it back someday!

Go siame!

07/07/2014

Lessons from the Okavango Delta

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Post by Sophie Brickman from Brandeis University

The Okavango Delta, a natural wonder of Africa, is an 18,000 square kilometer region in Botswana fed by the Angolan River. The Thamalakane River and Boro River also feed into the Delta. I traveled with my friend Emily to the Delta for three days, and I completely understand why Okavango is one of the seven wonders of Africa.

7 Lessons from the Okavango Delta:

1. International airports can be incredibly rural.
The airport in Maun was one of the tiniest we had ever seen! No one was able to direct us to a cab to take us to our lodge, but luckily, we had unexpectedly gotten the number for a Maun cab from a friend a few days prior to our trip. When traveling, the most random pieces of information often come in handy.

2. How to pitch a tent.
By the time we arrived at Old Bridge Backpackers, it was already dark. Setting up our tent was an adventure -- we were successful with the help of one of the workers at the lodge (after a few failed attempts). Afterwards, we explored the lodge, which was complete with a kitchen, bar, comfortable hammocks and a campfire.

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3. The African sky is equally amazing at night.
Sunrise, sunset and the Botswana sky in general are amazing. The view start-gazing at the Delta was indescribable. It was my first time seeing the milky way!

4. It is truly best to experience the delta in a Mokoro.
Our Thursday morning began perfectly with hot, outdoor showers under the moon. We then hopped onto a motor boat to take us about an hour into the delta to a Mokoro station. The three others on our boat were all retired teachers, and it was great to hear about their African experience. Around 9am we climbed into a tiny two person Mokoro and met our guide, Bubs. It felt amazing to be floating down the delta, weaving with the ‘ditlhapi’ (fish) through the reeds. At noon, we followed Bubs through the land on a game hike. We didn’t see much, but we did see a few monkeys and zebras. Afterwards, Bubs taught us how to pole the Mokoro. We also walked through Bubs’ village and met some of the locals who live on the Boro River of the Delta, drink, wash, cook, clean, and live off of the Delta. Their tribe is often referred to as the "River People."

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 5. Sharing stories and making connections are valuable elements of travel.
Echoing our first motorboat ride, we met a bunch of really interesting people on our way back to Old Bridge who shared their life experiences and reason for travel with us. That evening, we watched a world cup game with a group of missionaries, sparking thought provoking conversation about service and religion, met a man from South Africa who taught us how to cook vegetables on a fire and shared stories about his life surfing and working in the pharmaceutical industry in Durban and also met a woman who started her own company that develops greenhouses and makes countries more environmentally friendly and self-sustainable. Life is one big journey, and I truly believe that we are meant to learn from the people we meet along the way. Traveling halfway across the world as a young college student and being able to hear about life experiences of fellow travelers from all parts of the world is very special.

6. Riding a horse through a river is wonderful.
On Friday, we went for a morning horseback ride. It was just the two of us riding with our guide, which was cool because it didn’t feel touristy. We hadn’t ridden recently, but we hopped on our horses and immediately took off on a beautiful ride. We met bulls and cows pretty frequently, but our horses stayed calm. After riding for two and a half hours, we headed to Old Bridge to pack up.

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 7. A city becoming a home is a special feeling.
Although we were only gone for three days, returning to Gabs felt really nice. I was excited to see my host family, and it felt really special to be driving through a city that was once so foreign and to feel at home.

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Clinic Craziness

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Post by Kylie Chase from the University of Virginia

The most rewarding part of my experience in Gaborone has been the clinic visits. Each week, on Mondays and Tuesdays from 7:30-12, we go to a different clinic to observe and assist with basic tasks. I was initially shocked by many of the aspects of the clinics. For one, all medical records are on paper and are kept by the patients. Patients walk in with school notebooks or often folders decorated with magazine clippings filled with these pink and blue pieces of papers. There are no appointment times; the patients merely arrive when they can, most in the morning. There is no separation between adults and children. Most clinics only have nurses and doctors rotate to different locations and are in such high demand that they run around like crazy people from emergency room to screening to office all day. These clinics care for all kinds of people with all kinds of ailments.
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Image1I personally saw the circle of life in two weeks. Let me explain. I spent a morning with a doctor in the Extension 2 clinic. We had probably seen about five patients when a nurse came in the room and told the doctor he was needed urgently and to bring a death certificate. I froze. He saw the shock in my face as said, “Let’s go, are you scared?” I told myself, “Kylie you are entering the medical field, you have to be professional and learn to deal with things like this.” I took a deep breath and followed him to the emergency room. Paramedics rolled in a stretcher with a sheet over a body. They uncovered the sheet and the doctor began examining the body trying to determine the cause of death. I was standing in front of the stretcher in disbelief as I held what would be this man’s death certificate. He was only 29. His brother stood beside me. The doctor couldn’t figure out what had happened so we brought the brother into his office to write down details and to refer him to the mortuary at Princess Marina Hospital where they could do further tests. The brother left with tears in his eyes and we returned to the waiting line of patients.
Image1The next week, I went to G-West clinic where there is a maternity ward. They had two expecting mothers preparing to deliver. We watched as the nurse checked one of the women for her degree of dilation. To her surprise, the woman was at eight centimeters and the nurse told us the baby would be expected to deliver in the next two hours. We were so excited to get to be present for a delivery and see a newborn baby. We made arrangements to be late for class if needed and ran to grab lunch so we would be back in time. As we walked back to the ward the nurse rushed us over. She was delivering! We stood outside the room and once the baby was safely welcomed to the world we got to go in and greet the newest world citizen. Her name was Angel and she was a beautiful angel indeed. From death to life- you never know what you’ll see in the clinics.
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07/04/2014

Adapting to a New Lifestyle

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Post by Emily Greenwald from Brandeis University

When we arrived in Kanye, I was met by my host sister, who is my host mom’s daughter-in-law.  When I met my host mother and her grandchildren—my host sister’s children, nieces, and nephew—like my other homestays, it did not feel so different from my own life. After being welcomed by my host mom and talking with the children, I felt very comfortable. This week I lived in a lifestyle totally unfamiliar to me and felt like a part of the community because I was living like them.

Image4Illuminated by the camera flash

To bathe in the morning, one of the girls my age showed me how to pour water into a bucket that I would turn on to heat the water with electricity.  I use this water to bathe in the bathtub.  There aren’t lights in the bathroom and we leave for the clinics while it is still dark, so I have to light candles in the morning so that I can see while I bathe. Another difference is that to flush the toilet, we fill up a bucket of water and pour it down the toilet bowl.

In my home in Kanye, I really love the way that the traditional home lifestyle and the contemporary home lifestyle have been hybridized.

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One of the first things I noticed is that my host family lives in a plot of land similar to the traditional lifestyle, with one of my host mom’s sons and his wife and family living in a house on her plot of land and the other living just one or two plots away. I love that the whole family spends the evenings together in the grandmother’s home and think it is beautiful that all of the grandchildren can sleep over with her every night. I love the opportunity to get to know so many young children! We enjoyed dancing and leading exercises in turn, and the next night we each told a story with a positive message and then I took them to the big window in my room to stargaze and talk about the astronomy.

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One of the children was a nine-year-old boy and we worked on reading together. Then I showed this child, his six-year-old sister, and ten-year-old cousin the stars, I tried to explain that the stars were really big but very far away.
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Although there are differences to the way people live and what they have in Botswana compared to what I am used to in the United States, I think that a part of staying in another country is treating that country as your host. This means using the language when you can and trying to hybridize your own culture with that of your host country’s so that you feel comfortable but also show that you respect and are interested in learning and living in the different ways of a new place.  I think that I have felt so comfortable in both Gaborone and Kanye because I am putting in that effort to make myself comfortable and to show my host families that I want to live like them and be a member of the family. These connections have been so valuable and I am so thankful to have this opportunity to really live and integrate into two different parts of Botswana!

A Second Look at a Week in Kanye

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Post by Caitlin Bond from Indiana University

I recently just returned from my week in the small town/big village called Kanye, where I stayed with a wonderful host family. Before going on the trip, I was a little nervous for the homestay. I had some typical worries about whether my host family would like me, if I would feel awkward, or just not knowing what to expect. Of course, it ended up being great. My host family made me feel so comfortable and were really easy to talk to. It was only a mom and her son. My host mom’s name is Esther, but she told me to call her mami. My host brother, who is 25, is named Neo. I introduced myself as Caitlin, but they ended up calling me Cait, which was nice because that’s what my family calls me back in the US. Mami also gave me a Setswana name of Rosi, which has a religious meaning. From what I understood it has something to do with the idea that God is most powerful and everything we do on Earth does not compare to the power of God.  The house was nice, and most of the time was spent in the living room with the TV on, or working in the kitchen. I was able to help cook. My host brother’s cooking was amazing! I tried to pay attention when we were cooking so I can go home and cook like him.

Image5As I said before, I didn’t really know what to expect on this weeklong trip to Kanye. When we were being told about Kanye I got the impression that it was a small traditional village. However, when we got here I noticed that was not the case. It is smaller than Gaborone, but is a lot bigger than what I was expecting. My host brother told me there are about 15,000 people living here. I personally like that there are no huge buildings, rather small houses and stored spread throughout the hilly village. There is one mall area with a nice grocery store (Spar) and a Debonairs pizza restaurant, which we went to everyday after clinics. We also got to look at the tuck shops, which seem to be closing down as a result from the big grocery stores that are opening.

Image5A family owned tuck shop

The clinical rotations here were great experiences. At BOFWA, which is a Planned Parenthood organization, we did home visits and handed out information on sexual reproductive health, gave out condoms, and talked to families about the organization. It was interesting to see how families and individuals reacted to the home visits. If it were in the US I would guess that people would just tell them to go away instead of taking the time to listen and be open to the BOFWA workers. In other clinics, my group got to do a lot of hands-on work. We sat in and observed some nurse consultation, worked in the dispensary, and worked in the vitals and registration area. Some clinics seemed to be overstaffed with nurses and not a lot of patients, while others did not have enough nurses for all of the patients. I felt like we were helping out a lot in the clinics, which was a really good experience. While we weren’t in clinics, at home, or at the mall, I really enjoyed getting to go on walks during the sunset, watching the World Cup games, and going on a hike at the gorge.

Overall, this week has been a nice relaxing break from classes and a great chance to understand Setswana culture!

Image5Sunset walk

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Hiking the gorge

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