A Perk as a Third-Year (and Texan): Meeting Former President Bush and Former First Lady

In the midst of traveling for all of these tiny-regional meetings I had the opportunity to attend a gathering with former President George W. Bush and former First Lady Laura Bush. The presidential pair was in the country supporting, “See and Treat,” a PEPFAR funded program supporting cervical cancer diagnosis and treatment.

During the trip they made a planned stop to a tiny village just outside of Gaborone, Gabane, to visit a home-based care organization for people living with HIV. A fellow PCV, Tija Danzig, put the event together with the help of the Bush Center Staff, and so several volunteers (Texans, extendees, and former military) were also invited to attend and support the event.

It was surreal meeting the former President and First Lady, and I was honored to receive the invitation. We spoke with Mr. and Mrs. Bush individually, formally as a group, and in a causal “mingling” setting. He asked me what I was planning on doing after service and when I was heading back to Texas, and while several of us were chatting in a group he voiced his strong appreciation for the Peace Corps as an institution (to his credit he brought Peace Corps back to Botswana in 2003 after a six year absence).

Irresistibly I had to wear my cowboy boots to the event, and as we were arranging ourselves for this group photo Mr. Bush exclaimed, “I like your boots!” I thanked him and explained that the boots are perfect for walking around on Botswana’s very dusty, Texas-like terrain. Boot wearing success.

This service has certainly brought me to some unexpected places, and I think this event juxtaposes nicely with meeting First Lady Michelle Obama last year. All in all life as a third-year is much busier than before, and I’m enjoying how it’s all rounding out. Posts on my new role at SAREP and life in Maun to follow.

More photos of the GWB event can be found here.        

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