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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.

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