Thursday, August 10, 2006

Gaborone, Botswana: Moving Day - Again

Today was another moving day for me. I moved to Barbara’s house this afternoon. I’ll be house sitting while they are vacationing in Canada. There was a bit of an emergency. Her husband Wayne is a presenter at the AIDS conference and he forgot his poster and papers at home and they only discovered that when they arrived in Jo’burg so she called and I got a taxi to take it over to his office on the Western Bypass and someone there will make sure he gets it tomorrow morning.

There are many good things about being a short-term volunteer and I’m loving all of it. The down side is that housing is not readily available for a such a short term so accommodations can be a challenge. It seems that I have not been in any place long enough to unpack and feel settled and I keep accumulating much more than I brought here even though I promised myself that I wouldn’t buy anything too bulky. Of course there are the two teak tables that I couldn’t resist and the price was right. Now how do I get it home? And there is the heater, but I can give that away. And of course the cell phone that will work anywhere in the world except North America. How’s that for “anywhere in the world?”

The news today was quick – about the police in London arresting 27 people plotting to plant explosives on planes going from London to the US. Kathy called and told me because she knows that Robin is flying to Botswana via London and now people cannot carry any hand luggage. Does that mean that planes are safer if there is no luggage in the overhead bins? I can’t make sense of that because it’s he hand luggage that usually gets checked and not the checked luggage. Hey but who am I to question the police when their security procedures don’t make any sense?

I have to pack tonight to go to Ghanzi tomorrow morning. We are expecting to leave about 7am but with so many of us going, I’m sure we’ll leave later. In any event, I’ll be ready. I’m looking forward to the trip. I’m not sure what to expect – about the San Bush people or the desert. I was told to prepare for the weather because the days will be hot and the nights will be cold. Not any different from Gaborone for the last month. This time I’m going to try to pack lighter than I did for the trip to Jo’burg. Emily said she thought I was going for a month rather than days and I thought I was packed pretty lightly.

I was planning to work on the garden today but that didn’t happen. The fire from yesterday was still smouldering so I’ll let that burn out till Monday. That will give me some time to talk to Reynold about the grey water system. I asked the students to clean up the small stones from the garden but without supervision, it doesn’t happen. I’ll have to do some bargaining with them. I know they like to use the computer lab to learn to type so I’ll have to bribe them with the use of the lab in exchange for doing some of the work outside.

Oh, this is some exciting news for me and the students. I called Peter who is the person who is in charge of Mokolodi Game Reserve to ask about the price of a game drive out there. They have an all day one for P150 (CDN$30) and a 3 hour one for P50 (CDN$10). I told him that I was a WUSC volunteer and would like to take some of the students (the Catering program graduates who are volunteering their time in the kitchen) on a game drive and I would be paying for it. He was great and offered me a half price fare for the two hour drive. I was so excited that I was doing a little hop and dance.

I told the catering students that I would be taking them and they got very excited as well because none of them has ever gone. They cannot afford the cost. It’s my little treat for them because they work very hard starting from 8:00am to about 4pm – many times without a break. Psepho (a catering student) said that I was blessed. I asked her to explain that. If I am the one paying and she is the recipient, it seemed logical to think that she is blessed. She didn’t see it that way. This is how she explained it: Mama Sandra, you are the one who is blessed. If you did not come here, none of us would ever get to see Mokolodi. When you talked to that man, he heard the kindness in your voice and he gave you a special price so you could take us.” That was good enough for me. Kedy (another catering student) gave me such a high compliment today. She said that she wished she was my daughter and had my genes because it means that she would work hard and be a kind person. And I wasn’t even giving her anything and it was before they knew anything about the game drive. I would like to lead be example and if it makes a difference to someone’s life, then I would have succeeded.

There is just so much I would like to do though and I feel like I’m running out of time. The beginning of September will arrive quickly and it’ll be back to school to try to finish 12 months of work in 8. I was going to try for 4 months but that may be a bit too much. Better get my things packed for tomorrow morning. I’m sure I won’t sleep much tonight. I can hardly wait and I have to remember to take my Canadian flags and pins.

1. August 14th, 2006 by Robin Sukhan
I hope Wayne receives his stuff for the AIDS conference. I also I hope that the situation is better when I arrive in London on August 18. The trip to Ghanzi should be an experience for you. The trip to the Game Reserve will be an experience for the students. Take care.

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