Shadowing Cont’d: The Tour

First of all – Etsha 6, our shadowing destination, was not hit by the severe flood that others villages surrounding the Okavango Delta had to unfortunately evacuate from. The flood is, however, the main reason why the rest of my bus ride consisted of repetitive cattle and grassland and no sight of crazy wild game (at least in Etsha).

We arrived in Etsha 6 Wednesday the 5th at around noon. Our Bots 8 shadowing volunteer met us and walked us back to her home from the bus rank, which took a whopping 2 minutes.  Etsha 6, which is the largest Etsha village (out of thirteen), is still very tiny, and is home to approximately 2000 people. It has sand for dirt. Etsha has a baker, a butcher, a couple of clothing and food co-ops, a bar and a couple of bottle shops (places to buy alcohol), a community center (called a Kgotla – all “g’s” in Setswana have a guttural throat clearing sound), a singular clinic used by residents of all thirteen Etshas, a primary and secondary school (which are beautiful and well kept), and I’ve heard there are about twenty churches (the Batswana are known for their religious adherence). There are about 3 paved roads and a Shell station, which is a really big deal.

Our host’s house is a functional and pretty big. Three bedrooms, a large lawn of sand surrounded by a protective gate and tall wire fence which runs angled barbed wires along the top. In front of her house she has a lemon tree, a laundry line, and a water faucet. Inside, she has a stove, oven, refrigerator, freezer , electricity, running water (most of the time) and even a shower. There is no hot water from the tap, but few care about this when showering after a hot day. The shower was fantastic.

At first I was a little put off by Etsha’s small size. I worried that I might get easily bored in such a rural area  (it is still a concern). But because of its small area and population, our host managed to integrate herself deep into the community. Her Setswana is well practiced, and she would walk down the road and 5-10 people either on foot or in cars would stop to talk with her. The baker makes her special brown bread, and the school teachers leave their classes to see how she’s doing when she stops by. Now that I’ve been here I can see some benefits to living in a village this size.  She says she feels safe, and is involved in some community projects because people know who she is and that she is there to help. These things would be much harder to accomplish in a large village like Molepolole.

– So this is the part where I was going to post pictures, but for some reason the photo album program thing isn’t working.  Instead, I should have photos up on my Picasa album soon. I know that’s reliable, and I’ll work on this issue for future posts. Photos from this will be under “Shadowing”. Thanks!

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