Saturday, March 7, 2009

March 6, 2009: My first day in Botswana

I just came back from dinner with another Leave For Change (L4C) volunteer who was at the Women Against Rape office in Maun that I am heading to on Monday. I met her at the volunteer training that I attended at UBC in December. And she is just heading out on her journey back to Canada.

She was able to fill me in on lots of interesting things about the town of Maun and the people I will be working with as well as her weekend into the Okavango. The dinner at an Indian restaurant was great too. The great puzzler was that she told while they said they were sad to see her go – she had built a website for them - they were looking forward to Adriaan coming on Monday to help them with their financial management. I was surprised and taken aback as I have not worked in finance in over ten years and the written job description I have from them stipulates team building and support counsellor training. That is why I chose them. Well, I will discuss it with Fortune during the flight to Maun on Monday

To the right is the first palce I stayed in Africa; #8A at the Innis Free Apartments in Gaborone.
Not too much to say about the quiet recovery day except for my Great Passport Adventure and the learning there. I got up this morning feeling somewhat rested and got ready for the day. I had to get some Pula and so I needed my passport. And it was nowhere to be found. ( Don’t panic, stay calm.)

You got though customs and into the country. Go through everything you have systematically and it will be found. Well, it was not. At the appointed hour, Fortune picks me up and I tell him about the passport. He said, “It is serious but we will retrace your steps from last night and you will find it. No one will steal it and if they find it they will turn it in to a police station.” Retrace we did, through the car, through the restaurant, through the airport and no passport. So I said,“Let me do another check of my room and luggage before we go to the Canadian consulate.” I was getting pretty up tight because without the passport, I could not get any Pula, even though I have $US with me. I, then ended up looking in the one side pocket of my suitcase that I had never used before and because I was so exhausted from 50 hours of travel and airports, I did not remember putting my passport in it . Great relief and sheepishness followed. Fortune was great and just said it happened and you’ve got it now. Not a word about having spent several hours running about town looking for something that was not lost.

Lessons: 1) Believe it or not, I am not invincible. I get tired, very tired and then, I might be affected and not operate at my Virgo Best!
2) The Batswana ( not Botswanans) are a lovely people. Everywhere we stopped while retracing our tracks the people went as far as they could to help out, much beyond what I expected. At the immigration office a woman hunted for 20 minutes and offered her phone number to me so I could check back with her later at home if it turned up. At the hotel restaurant, the person helping us hunted for a good half hour getting in touch with the restaurant staff and housekeeping who were on duty the night before to check with them at their homes. Very gracious, helpful and soft spoken.

With passport in hand, it is going to be a wonderful trip!


  1. I'm exhausted just reading about it, but this day will be memorable. Perhaps that is the best has to offer us. :o)

  2. The Innisfree looks beautiful! Fortune - what a stud!