Ftown Abode

I never thought Peace Corps living could feel luxurious, but the house I was assigned to live in definitely challenges that notion. Compared to other African countries, Botswana is incredibly wealthy due to the successes of its well-run diamond industry. Still, in 1997 almost half of Batswana lived below the poverty line, and only a small percentage of Batswana, mostly located in urban areas, can reap the benefits of its wealth.  Because Francistown is the second largest city in Botswana, its relatively enormous size allows for the inclusion of the full spectrum of incomes.

Urban Space of Francistown

Francistown was created to be a mining town, and began with a central, rich, largely ex-pat community responsible for running huge mining companies. Neighborhoods were created to house mine workers, and eventually its growth merged the central area with outlying villages and made them into wards. Within some of these large wards many people reside in unfurnished houses with outhouses, no electricity, and water coming from a pump in the front yard. Just a neighborhood away, others live in mansions with tall fences, sophisticated alarm systems and purebred dogs to guard them. They drive Beemers and sports cars, and unless they try hard they don’t often have to see the areas of town where people live without.  This town has it all, and is a perfect example of the country’s astonishing wealth gap.

Peace Corps prefers its volunteers to live similarly to those they are around the most. My PCV colleague in Francistown works for an NGO that put him up in an apartment complex otherwise entirely occupied with mine workers.  It’s a roughly 700 sf apartment, like any typical American style apartment, with an AC and hot shower and mostly working refrigerator.

I work in the District AIDS Office, which is a government run institution. Some of my coworkers and I, along with most Botswana PCVs in my program for that matter, live in government housing. These houses can vary in amenities depending on their location but usually are always cookie cutter houses made of concrete and have between 1 and 3 bedrooms. Most have electricity, an oven, a refrigerator, and running water. Some have hot water, and few have all that plus a shower. Because of my location in central Ftown, my house has two bedrooms and all of the above.  Knowing the house was handed to me I’m wholeheartedly grateful for it, and try to keep it as open to others as I can.

With that, here are photos of my beautiful, incredible abode.

One Response

  1. Thanks for letting us stay at your Ftown Abode as we passed through! Wish we had got to see more volunteers in Bots. So different from South Africa in someways, and yet so similar in others. Keep enjoy the Peace Corps gig.

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