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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The Plan

Here is the plan as I know it so far:

Saturday, March 27th – Leave for Austin and party with my kickass friends from the Kinky Friedman Campaign (who are, without knowing them from the campaign, individually kickass). May go dancing later?

Sunday, March 28th – Breakfast tacos in the morning and then later on attend Junkfest! Rally to save the Cathedral of Junk from demolition, then, hopefully, the best Rockband night evar.

Tuesday, March 30th – Alexis’ Goodbye Texas, Hello Botswana Pint Night! at the Dog & Duck Pub

Wednesday, March 31st – Back to Dallas (goodbye, Austin! I will miss you so much)

pret-ty sure my sleeping bag should be here by now as well as my day pack. continue packing…

Thursday, April 1st – Going away party with the Hospice I volunteer at and then a drum lesson and then a Mavericks game with Dad!!

April 4th-8th – Dentist, haircut, packing, relaxing with family… maybe Salsa dancing.

Saturday, April 10th – fly out uber early to Philly, probably with no sleep from the night before

Sunday, April 11th – fly out at a reasonable time but after not sleeping for a day and a half to Johnannesburg, South Africa

“You will have 8 hours between the time you land in Johannesburg and when you have to depart.  You will walk some long hallways and pass through an easy immigration step (while not even leaving the airport) while there, which will end up giving you six hours to hang around the airport.  You may have to also get a boarding pass at the international transfer terminal so please pay attention to this factor.  It will be a bank of counters just after you pass through a South African immigration checkpoint (again, not leaving the airport).  Once you get your boarding pass for the flight to Gaborone, you will pass again through metal detectors before getting to the terminals.”

After which we arrive in Gaborone, Botswana, which is the capital of Botswana.

“From there, everyone will be bused to the hotel called The Big Five Lodge in Mogoditshane on the outskirts of Gaborone.  Trainees will spend four nights in Gaborone getting briefed and preparing themselves for the transition to community based, host family living. “

Ok, I think that’s a good schedule for now. More later on what this whole thing is about.

stay tuned!