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05/07/2018

BEING AN AMERICAN WOMAN IN BOTSWANA

HeadshotElizabeth from Bates College

 

Dumelang everyone! Currently, there are only three weeks left and as I begin to seriously reflect on my time in Gaborone, and wipe away the goodbye tears, I am looking back on an experience of happiness, gratefulness, and most importantly, growth. I was able to to do some amazing things, meet some amazing people, and have the time of my life. But, the truth is, that things here weren’t always sunshine and rainbows, and I think it would be a waste of my blog (and of my anthropology background), not to disclose to you one of the hardest: being a woman. Particularly with the #MeToo movement and the increasing global awareness of gender based violence, discrimination, and oppression, gender is an extremely important subject that shouldn’t be ignored as an influencing factor on your experience anywhere in the world. Botswana is a patriarchy! This may not be the first time you’ve heard this but I’m hoping this is a helpful description of the implications of this traditionally gendered system. That being said, this blog is in no way meant to deter you from the program or worry you, it is just something that I wish I knew more about before I came. (Obviously this is also from my individual experiences and it can vary greatly from person to person, nothing this serious can be universal)

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Our CIEE group this semester is made up of all women!

 

 Being a woman in Botswana can be extremely challenging. It doesn’t matter if you are American or Motswana, there are times where it is exhausting, overwhelming, and terrifying. Everything from catcalling to being touched in public to being cut in line to feeling unsafe with someone who is supposed to make you feel the safest, can happen every day. The tangible barriers of the patriarchy are common place in America too, but in America, you’re also able to stand up for yourself. In America, others stand up for you. Here, that isn’t always the case. And while you will definitely come across some strong, kind people who fight on your behalf, I have found that more often than not, you are left to your own defenses. Whether you are at the gym, buying a fat cake, taking a taxi, or sitting in class, you are constantly being reminded that you are considered to be lesser than the men surrounding you.

I’m sure it’s even harder for my LGBTQ and non-binary friends because as a society dominated by Christianity, Botswana refuses to legitimize their lifestyle. Gender roles are strictly upheld, as women are expected to spend their days in the kitchen and men are supposed to be the breadwinners. Especially nowadays as empowered women across the globe begin to reclaim their rights, the patriarchy is silently pushing back. Men don’t see their behavior as offensive, and women are expected to accept it. Although it’s slowly but surely improving, the scene in Botswana is still pretty rocky. While this is going to be something that affects your everyday life in Gabs, and it may be something you have little to no control over, here are some tips that have helped me cope:

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Here is some of us wearing the traditional kgotla attire of a woman!

 

MAKE FRIENDS!! People too often underestimate the connections women can make with one another. For me, it was very helpful to form close bonds with other women on the program. We were able to debrief tough situations and be there to comfort and support each other. American friends were particularly helpful in times where I wanted someone to understand the circumstances I’m used to. (Chances are, they’ll need you too at some point)

Talking to Batswana friends is also very helpful! The women here undergo this objectification and indecency every day, and have for most of their lives. While it can be shocking to come in as an American and have your life uprooted by a strict patriarchy, it’s just normal life for many Batswana. These friends can help to ground you, support you, and reframe your often privileged perspective (also they are very good at fending off creeps in Setswana)

Making friends is also essential because although it’s a burden there are certain times when it’s safest to use the buddy system and bring along a friend or two.

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This is a group of us CIEE students at station with our driver!

 

PLAY PRETEND!! A lot of men you meet will propose to you. Naturally, it doesn’t make any sense for two total strangers to get married but this logic doesn’t usually stop them. If it isn’t too weird for you, bring a cheap ring from home and when you’re in a dicey situation, pretend you’re married or engaged. I have done this and it’s come in super handy! Most men respect other men, and if they realize that you are taken, they are less likely to bother you. Also, its sometimes just super fun to make up a story about a fake life (even if in the end you’re the only one who feels comforted)

BE YOURSELF!! Don’t let the perceptions of others keep you from doing what you enjoy, speaking your mind in class, and refusing to let others take advantage of you. When a man cuts you in line for the ATM, step right back in front of him. One of my greatest regrets while reflecting on this experience is that there were times when I let a fear of this dynamic hold me back from doing things I know I would have enjoyed, interacting with people I know I would have gotten along with, and traveling to places just because I wasn’t in the mood to be harrassed at station. It is gonna happen anyway, so show everyone exactly how resilient and extraordinary women are!

REMEMBER!! Any time something like this happens remind yourself that it’s not your fault. It doesn’t matter what you wear or what you’re doing, that’s just the unfortunate reality of the world sometimes.

04/25/2018

Bringing Home Here

HeadshotSophie  Morris from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

I’ll be the first to admit it: I’m more than halfway done with this semester and I’m still homesick. I’ve been lucky enough to grow up with a super tight family, both immediate and extended, so being so far away from my family and friends has been really difficult. Luckily, though, I have made amazing friends during my time here in Gabs that make it feel like home. The girls on our program this semester are all from different places in the United States (and Guinea, shoutout Tima) but I feel as if I’ve known them forever. When you’re dropped in a brand new place with no concept of the local culture, language, or geography, it’s a bonding experience with your fellow newbies. I’ve also discovered a few things to do that make me feel closer to home.

 

Home reminder #1: Hang out with friends

            I personally was worried about making friends before I left for Gabs because I didn’t want to be stuck in a foreign country with no friends, but I should have known that anyone adventurous enough to do this program would be relatively like-minded to me. The girls I have met on this program are wonderful and each of them have something about them that remind me of a friend at home. I have made friends that I can tell anything to; we laugh and cry together as if we’ve known each other for years and I can confidently say that I will stay friends with them for years and years to come. Sometimes, all you need is a hug from a friend to make you feel right at home.

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(Ellie, myself, and Margaret - just two of the many wonderful friends on this program)

Home reminder #2: Traveling

As weird as this may sound, traveling on my weekends and breaks from school as helped me feel more at home. I’ve found that while they definitely vary in size, amenities, and bathroom cleanliness, airports around the world are pretty standardized. I can close my eyes in just about any airport around the world, hear the noises around me (the whoosh of the plain, the rolling of a maintenance cart, babies crying, people speaking all different languages) and feel like I’m right at home This small comfort is nice in and of itself, but thinking “I’m almost home!” when I’m headed back to Gabs after a long weekend of travel makes me realize that Gabs really is my home this semester and that I appreciate having it to come back to more than I realize. Sometimes you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone, and I’ll admit that that goes for a sense of home too.

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(Nikki, Becca, Hannah, Margaret, Paige, and I at the Cape of Good Hope in Cape Town)

Home reminder #3: Eat familiar foods

            Growing up in a big Italian family, I was always taught that food is love. Don’t get me wrong, I love trying new foods (and Batswana food is doooope), but sometimes I just have a craving for the familiar. We discovered a little cafe called The Daily Grind (it’s right by Main Mall, Bethel knows where it is) that serves some of the best bougie toasts, smoothies, and lunches I’ve ever had. Even little things like a simple lunch out with friends or an iced coffee (a rarity here in Gabs) can be so comforting.

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(Avocado toast at The Daily Grind - yum!!!)

04/05/2018

“You’re not a Motswana?"

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Teniola Balogun from George Washington University

Growing up the suburbs of Atlanta, I was not a stranger to being the only one that looked like me in my classes. When I got to college, the narrative was the same. Before picking a studying abroad program, I had to research the cultural acceptance of people of color for each country I was interested in. Issues of cultural acceptance or other financial issues cause African-Americans to be among the most under-represented groups to study abroad. Because of this, it was always better to err on the side of caution when it came to picking which country I wanted to study in. This just comes with the territory of being a person of color. In spite of this, being a minority student abroad has not only enhanced my experience but it has also help me with my own personal identity issues.

1Five minutes after landing in South Africa, my mom and I were already mistaken for Zulu.

I knew that once I got to Botswana I would be “invisible”. When Batswana see my skin complexion, they would immediately think of me as their kin-folk. Unfortunately for my CIEE program friends who aren’t invisible, unwanted attention follows them wherever they go. My colleagues are constantly getting marriage proposals, being stared for unnecessarily long amounts of time, and/or getting other forms of verbal harassment. This has made their transition and acceptance of life in Botswana much more difficult. And I empathize. Every girl in Botswana faces some sort of harassment on the daily, so my friends and I could relate to that aspect.

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But we don't let it the harassment to ruin our experience

Once people assess me as Motswana, no one really wants to get to know me or hear my story. Constantly being spoken to in Setswana is the biggest disadvantage of being “invisible”. This mostly affects me because of the connotation associated with a Motswana not speaking Setswana. To Batswana, a Motswana not speaking their language comes across as elitist. That was certainly not the impression that I wanted to give off. Once I open my mouth and start speaking English in my American accent, the jig is up. They know I am American. There is a Black American female stereotype that is displayed on reality TV, which is watched by Batswana, so that was another stigma I had to work past. What’s worse is when I tell them that I am actually 100% Nigerian but born in the States. Minds = blown!

30124423_10216216104617638_7429347034626260992_oI did not know they were people of Motswana skin color in America" - my host mom in Kanye lol

“You’re not Motswana? What do you mean you are Nigerian? You were born in the States? And you’ve never been to Nigeria?  Lol, what?”, a compilation of common reactions after I explain my situation. These reactions have caused me to question my own identity. In the US, I am too “white” to be “black”/”African”. Here, I am too “American” to be “Nigerian”. Despite the issues that have come up causing me to question my identity, being in Botswana has enabled me to further embrace my African, American, and Nigerian identity. I can relate to my peers because, I too, grew up in a home enveloped in patriarchal values. I am able to learn from my professors about African history and the differences and similarities in cultures that are found throughout the entire continent. The unique experience that I get the privilege to have reinforced the need for me to embrace my identities even more.  It is truly a privilege to be different and to stand out. Studying abroad (especially “back to the motherland”) as a minority has given me not only a new perspective on myself but also an insight into what my “African in America” experience meant for other people in the world.

30221992_10216216104377632_4201002972160720896_oWith Lebo, Eunice, Keya and Lulu at the CIEE office

 

03/15/2018

Why I Chose Gabs!

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Paloma Hamlett  from Johns Hopkins University

If you are skimming the blogs looking for some advice before your upcoming study abroad trip you’ve found the right post. A few months ago my search history was full of inquiries of weather, dress code, customs, and culture in Botswana. I hope this blog posts serves to provide some well-timed advice and relief for all your study abroad concerns.

Overall, CIEE, Basetsana (the director), the interns and volunteers, are phenomenal resources for transitioning into the culture and systems here. At orientation we were swiftly and smoothly introduced to Setswana language, greetings, food, transport, university, class registration, CIEE regulations, and areas in Gaborone via scavenger hunt.

Pic 1With Keya, Lulu and Teni

 

The greatest advice I took is live with an open mind and heart. The pace in Botswana is more laid back and so many things will be new and different. There will be so many experiences to approach with appreciation and awareness. Your classes and credits will be sorted, your weekend trips will be organized, and you will make friends, so appreciate the moments as they come for their uniqueness and learning opportunities. You are about to embark on one of the most incredible and influential journey of your life! Have fun and stay goofy!

Pic 2Group selfie please..!!

And with that, here are some things I wish I knew or am glad I was advised of before coming:

Weather:

Bring rain gear! To be fair, I am here Jan-May, in the wet season, but umbrellas are used both rain and shine to ward off precipitation and heat. The say the dry season is best for viewing wildlife and nature. As a student in the wet season, I was able to see luscious landscapes and beautiful animals like the big 5 and stunning birds. It’s definitely crucial to have a rain fly for your tent. Also, it is extremely hot, so make sure you bring a water bottle–especially because they do not sell Nalgene bottles in Botswana. Also sunscreen is much much pricier here, so consider buying in bulk in the US.  And while you may plan on bringing a lot of shorts, I found that flowy pants and breezy bottoms come in clutch.

Pic 3Elephants in Nata

 

Food and Travel

Within the first day in Botswana, I learned the main dietary staples and make up of meals, and within the first week, my favorite foods and places to eat on and off campus. As for travel you may have heard of combis, public transport white vans which cost p3.50 per ride (exchange rate is ~1USD=p10), so coins are coveted. Most transportation information is through word of mouth, but I found combi maps online! (https://www.facebook.com/bpsc2/posts/413711368793276 )

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Kanye, Botswana

 

CIEE Extras and classes

We had the incredible opportunity to stay in Kanye, a large village near Gabs. We visited clinics daily, which provided a unique perspective on public health. In Gaborone we visit clinics once a week, and have two CIEE classes that are once a week, and Setswana three times a week. There are weekend outings to cultural villages, volunteering, hiking Kgale hill, rhino park, lion park. CIEE interns help with our visas, transport with our favorite taxi driver Bethel, international documents, setting up volunteering, guides to travel, and tips to managing culture shock and gender treatment differences.

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Up Kgale hill

03/14/2018

 KANYE, WEST OF GABORONE (get it? ha)

Paige headshotPaige Spata from Miami University

 

This past week was spent by the Community Public Health students in Kanye, and the Arts & Sciences students joined for the weekend. Kanye is a very large village with beautiful rolling hills about an hour and a half from UB. Each student was placed with a host family, and each host family differed in demographics. I stayed with a 72-year-old woman, whom I called “mom”, and her equally elderly cousin. The children and grandchildren of my mother as well as her siblings joined us for the weekend as my mom is the matriarch of her family. 

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My host mom

Hannah stayed with her host mom, brother, niece, and nephew. Most of the host families did not have running water which was a situation most of us had never been exposed to. Many of the families expected us to participate as daughters by helping prepare dinner or washing dishes following meals.

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Hannah and her siblings

For four days, the CPH students travelled to different clinics to observe healthcare in a village as compared to healthcare in the capital. To our surprise, the clinics in Kanye seemed to be more clean, organized, and equipped than the clinics in Gaborone. Many of the clinics even appeared to be making the transition from physical record keeping to electronic records kept on computers. However, many of the obstacles observed in Gaborone are also obstacles faced by Kanye clinics such as poor allocation of resources, lack of patient compliance, and a failure to follow sanitary protocol. After clinic each day, we regrouped at KFC or Debonaire’s for lunch and swapped clinic experiences. Afterwards, we either went to the education center for Setswana or went home to spend time with our families. The families asked many questions about life in America as compared to life in Botswana, and it became very obvious that most of the information Batswana receive about America, unsurprisingly, come from TV. For example, my host mom asked if there are old people in America since she never sees any on TV.

 

On Thursday, the CPH students went to the Kgotla in the morning. The Kgotla is more or less the court of the village in which weddings, criminal cases, and general meetings are held. To visit the Kgotla, a woman must wear a long skirt (past her knees), long sleeves, and a headwrap.

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At Kanye Kgotla

During our trip to the Kgotla, there were four weddings officiated by the chief of marriage, and we heard that the family of one bride received 10 cows and a sheep for the marriage. I later asked my host mom more about marriages in Botswana, and she said the family of the bride is offered a minimum of eight cows as the bride price. Also, ceremonies typically occur on Thursdays while the parties occur on the weekend. For the parties, multiple cows are slaughtered to prepare food that lasts all day and night since the festivities last far into the night. She also said that the bride will change into multiple different white dresses that family members have bought for her. My mom then asked what the bride price is in America, and she was appalled to learn that the groom does not have to pay the bride’s family cows – or at all – to marry. On Saturday, all of the CIEE students went to Motse Lodge which is a cultural village, similar to Bahurutshe. At the lodge, we learned how to milk goats, make phaphatha (sort of like large English muffins), and prepare porridge.

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Phaphata

Overall, this week gave me a firsthand understanding of the cultural and lifestyle differences between Batswana and Americans. It was wonderful to have a family just as interested in my life in America as I was in their lives. I hope that we impacted their lives even half as much as they impacted ours.

 

03/12/2018

CIEE Volunteer day - Spring 2018

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On a beautiful bright day, after so much blessings of rain that have occurred lately. We arrived at 9am to the children at the center having their breakfast and their volunteers helping them out. This Saturday was the schedule volunteer day hosted by CIEE at Gamodubu Child Trust Center, with the study abroad advisors as they visited our study center in Gaborone.

Group Site Visit

The group of study abroad advisors visits different universities and get to understand the CIEE center in those universities. The visit is an excellent way to promote our program and University of Botswana as a host institution to study abroad administrators and faculty at key CIEE sending institutions. These institutions include schools who currently send students here or those who are considering approving the Botswana program. The aim of the visit is to convince participants that they should be sending students to the Botswana program, we took the along on our volunteer day.

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Gamodubu Child Trust Center

Gamodubu Child Care Trust is a centre for orphaned and vulnerable children who are mostly also living with HIV and Aids. The Centre offers an out of school program that includes, but is not limited to feeding and also ensuring the children take their medication and have access to regular check-ups. Gamodubu is a Childcare that looks after 200 orphaned children, most of them with HIV. The center was open in 2005 and it’s located in the small village of Gamodubu in Kweneng District.

 Shirley Madikwe is the founder of Gamodubu Child Care Trust, one beautiful soul as she is a mother to many children as well as a sister and daughter to Gamodubu. Madikwe has made a tremendous impact in the lives of many young people. The Child Care Trust began simply out of a realisation of the deep need in the village. Madikwe began feeding desperate children out of her own resources at her own home. Together with volunteers, Madikwe washes the children’s clothes and prepares their lunch so that when they return, they find food ready. After eating, she makes sure that all the children study and do their homework. The centre also takes care of babies and toddlers who need a lot of attention. The babies are bathed, fed and taken care of daily. The center gives those children accommodation, who have  to walk 12 kilometres to and from their villages to school daily. The center has a poultry and vegetable garden.

Past donations

  1. The BIHL Trust continues to support the Gamodubu Child Care Trust in its daily activities and its projects such as the construction of the Multi Purpose hall.
  2. Zion Christian Church donated food and toiletries to Gamodubu Child Care Trust.
  3. Letshego donated P71 000 with a  fun-filled day , football and food.

Etc.

Introductions were exchanged and the owner explained more about the center, how many children it accommodates, their different ages and the type of help they get from now and then.

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The center children gave us a performance before the activities started.

 

Activities of the day: (everyone was divided into different groups together with the center’s children and the staff)

CLEANING

The cleaning crew helped with picking up litter around the center and putting them into trash plastic bags. This activity had an educational twist to it and taught students how to recycle, how to store different types of trash and the importance of not littering. After collecting all the litter, the activity leader taught their group how to make Paper Mache with recycled paper.

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EDUCATIONAL GAMES (indoor)

The group did games such as the alphabet hunt: looking for hidden alphabets in the library and making words from them, book reading, crafting sentences using different letters the group leader provided, making a FIRST AID kit and memory game.

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Reading circle

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COOKING

The kitchen had more fun than just cooking, while the group was waiting for food to cook, they had chats in between and the older kids telling us about their day to day life and our students sharing their experiences and leadership skills.

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  1. PAINTING

The crew painted the playground and the soon to be open day care center while making sure that the activity is more of educational aswell as fun. 

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In between we had chats about what their favourite subjects at school, what they want to be when they grow up and what sports they like.

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LAUNDRY

We helped to wash the uniforms of children at the center and discussing leaderships skills with the older kids who were helping out.

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ACTIVE GAMES (outdoor)

Outside we had to groups playing variety of games, soccer and some local games that the kids at the center taught us.

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The day was a success, a day full of fun games, educational activities, cooking, cleaning and motivational talks. At the end of the day we presented donations to the center.

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Thank you Gamodubu Child Care Trust, till we meet again!

02/20/2018

A culturally filled day in Bahurutshe and a game drive in Mokolodi

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Our student volunteers and students met the OIEP students and staff at the UB maintenance to meet the driver and begin the weekend gate-away.  

Bahurutshe cultural village

As the crew arrived at Bahurutshe cultural village at 9 am and the festivities began. Bahurutshe always gives the best traditional food and always makes sure that our students really get how we eat when we are at our home villages.

Porridge is one of the staple food that majority of Batswana have for breakfast.  After breakfast and checking into the rooms, the students got ready for the day activities.

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Manyana Rock paintings: first stop was Manyana Rock paintings, where we learnt about different ways how Basarwa communicated with each other, drew what they saw in the environment and also as a way of a leisure activity. This is now a tourist attraction for the Manyana village which is about 10 km from  Bahurutshe cultural village.

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7 KM Walk to Kolobeng river, as a way of unwinding and seeing the some cattlepost of people the kolobeng. The walk might have been exhausting but the final destination of it was beautiful. On our way back to the bus we stopped by the Livingstone Memorial and learn a few about one of the first missionaries in Botswana. Where he lived, where he built his church and were he and his family were buried.

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Night Activities

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After a long but wonderful day we drove back to the cultural village, and upon our arrival we found beautiful older women waiting for us. The women surrounded the chief of the village, as soon as we sat down the owner of the cultural village welcomed us back and introduced those who accompanied her.

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Mokolodi Nature Reserve

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After breakfast at Bahurutshe, we are arrived at Mokolodi Nature Reserve at 10 am had the welcome remarks and welcome drinks and started our two hour game drive and later ad our bush braai. The two days get away was refreshing from the stressful school weeks  we been having.

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02/19/2018

My Bahurutshe Cultutal Experience

 

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Nicole A. Silverstein from University of Vermont

This past week we went on our first excursion to the Bahurutshe Cultural Village. It was our first real journey outside of Gaborone, and it was exciting look out the window of the bus and see what life looks like outside of the city. Our first day at the village started by learning a little about the kgotle, or gathering place of the village. This is the area where the king, otherwise known as the kgosi would gather his people to give them information or ask them to do different tasks. After breakfast we left the village to go on a hike. It was hot out, but the scenery was beautiful. We walked along the river, and our guide explained to us that the people who lived in this area believed that there was a giant snake under the pond that feed the river, which kept a constant supply of water. Medicine men would also dip their medicines in the water to give it its healing powers.

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In the afternoon we bused over to see 2,000 year old rock paintings. They were difficult to spot at first, but eventually we were able to make out the giraffes and impala illustrated on the rocks.

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The best part of the trip was when we got back to the village. We all sat around a bon fire as a group of men and women performed traditional songs and dances. The acrobatic dancing was amazing to watch, and the “grandmothers” of the village even got up and showed us some moves. Half way through the performance the chief joined us. He dropped bones on the ground to ask the ancestors if we were allowed to stay in the village. Thankfully, (after three tries) the ancestors agreed to let us stay. One of the women then taught us about the importance of the grain sorghum in their daily life. A few students even learned how to grind and separate the grains.

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The Chief of the village

The Next morning we headed out to Mokolodi Nature Reserve, which is only about forty minutes from Gaborone. On our game drive we saw cheetahs, giraffes, zebras, impalas, and kudus.

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It was especially cool to see the giraffes so up close. Our guide was very knowledgeable and told us about Before heading back home we enjoyed a braii (barbeque) out in the bush.

Traveling to Bahurutshe was a great way to learn some history about the country we will be living in for the next four months, and to experience a little bit of what life was like in pre-colonial Botswana.

02/12/2018

Welcome braai (spring 2018)

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Saturday 3rd February 2018, preparations for the braai started at 12 noon when Lebo and I arrived to Mma Tibone at Diamond’s host home in phase 2. We arrived to her and her sister preparing food, chicken wings, beef stew and madombi (dumplings) to be exact, for the braai and the volunteers trickled in and it was time for preparations.

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Preparations

As soon as Bethel arrived with the tables, chairs and the braai stand, we had to make sure that the table were well prepared and just awaiting for the food to be placed and.......

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...........the braai stand was ready for the meat.

The preparations sped up and the place started to look like a barbeque scene.

 

Music

 The 2 hours flew by so fast and families slowly but surely started arriving while the different music requested were being were flying in to the djs of the day dj Lulu/Keya/Deji/Tima. We had music from all corners of the world, as we wanted everyone to have a good time and hopefully build good friendships and memories that will last a long time.

The company

About thirty people were in the Tibone residence and everyone filled with happiness, smiling from ear to ear the whole place was overflowing with joy. It was nice to see different homestay families and also welcoming the new families aswell. Looking around seemed like everyone was a having a good time.

 

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The kids looked like there were having most of the fun.

 

Food

DSC_0477Everyone had to bring a dish or dessert for the braai, and everyone got the memo. We also wanted to taste different recipes and we all know food makes everyone happy. Different cultural dishes were on the table looked delicious and we couldn’t wait to dig in.

 

The dance party

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As the day went by, now we are full and ready to dance the day away. Dance battles took place between the kids and the students.

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Clean up

As we were getting ready to leave, we had to leave the place the way we found it. So it was time to clean up! Overall the braai was fun, and the best part was the food!!! Thank you Mma Tibone and Diamond for hosting us.

02/06/2018

Welcome Spring! - 2018

 

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As we welcome the spring 2018 students, we begin their journey with the orientation week and get them ready for a spring semester. Even though they might be jet legged we have a long week of orientation to equip them with information that will help them navigate their new life for the next five months. 

DSC_1014Orientation Workshops: Workshop on being a UB student for the semester, and how they can benefit from this study abroad experience. During orientation week we go over being a homestay and dorm life, health and safety, community interactions and go shopping with the students to get some necessities. 

IMG_20180124_124234Lunch at Botswana craft

 

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A mix of modern and traditional food

 

DSC_0034Botswana Culture and Dance workshop: The students learn more about the Botswana culture and our different dances. Dance and music are considered forms of communication and plays as functional role in the Setswana culture. The workshop also addresses  the evolution of dance and music in the Setswana culture.  Thabang  (the choreographer) also adds modern dance moves into the mix and show how batswana evolve with times, but still holding our setswana culture to heart.

DSC_0130Cultural activity: In one of the neighborhoods nearer to campus, we had lunch at one of the chill-spots  in Extension 12 and got  more of the cultural entertainment of storytelling through songs. After lunch we went on a city tour and got a chance to see the other side of Gaborone, the not so fancy side of the city. We went into the townships such as Old Naledi,  White city and Bontleng and our tour guide showed us a glimpse of the living situations in these areas, and  further explaining the type of people who settle in these areas aswell as how townships grow overtime.

DSC_0338Welcome dinner: Let’s dine, and yes the famous Avani stir-fry.

Amazing Race: Before students start their clinic visits, our volunteers (the heart of the program) go on a combi safari and teach the students how to use our local public transport. The main aim of this activity is too get students comfortable with using public transport and mainly how to stop the combi when you reach your destination “Ema mo stopong”.

DSC_0219Welcome to Botswana!