Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Monday, March 9, 2009; Maun

After another nondescript [read: good] flight, I arrived in Maun on the edge of the Okavango - my intended destination. The interesting thing at the end of the flight was the luggage being put into a van and then delivered to the open passenger doorway to the terminal. Everyone who had luggage, just milled around in the tight door way space and grabbed theirs when it arrived.

As much as Gaborone is a carefully planned city, Maun seems to be the opposite, with the homes and buildings flung across the landscape, like the balls on a pool table, here and there with great spaces between them and in a haphazard manner. As I am brought to my new home, I see herds of goats wandering about and 2's and 3's of small donkeys foraging along the roadside free to wander as they wish. Skinny long legged dogs complete the scene. I am assured that they all belong to someone and the owner knows where they are.

My home is at a guest house called Jump Street, where I have a round building all to myself. It is a modern version of the round mud , thatched roofed homes that are in so many pictures and films of southern Africa particularly in veldt like areas. It has a peaked roof that traditionally are thatch, although mine is not. It is in a verdant area in an enclosed compound as all homes and buildings are here. There is local art creating the desk and carved into the door and a large stump in the garden.

The WAR office is at the edge of the airport. I meet Mpho, the coordinator and we quickly get to work discussing what she needs and what I can deliver. She is a lovely woman; soft spoken, as are most Batswana, but clear about what she needs. We come to an agreement that I will prepare for and deliver a team building for 4 hours on the 23rd of March. With Navoo, the head counsellor, we further agree on 3 sessions with clients lasting for 2 -3 hours each in which we will focus on helping them to break their economic dependence on those perpetrating violence on them. We will do some work in financial planning and exploring ways to create income. This will be interesting as many of the clients are local farmers and do not speak English like everyone I have encountered so far. The other item, we agree on is 2 training sessions for the counselling staff, one of which will include representatives from other local agencies like the police and the local psychiatric unit, debriefing and sharing on confidentiality, dependence, transference and counter transference, working with trauma, dealing with clients that one finds impossible, trauma, termination and empowerment.

It is satisfying to note that their mission is client empowerment just like at my day job in Vancouver and that gives us a common language and understanding.

The last item, Mpho agrees on is working personally with her to develop a contract with her for better work limits and boundaries. She is in the office at 7 am and was still there with me at 6 pm. Like all care givers I have encountered, they are not good at looking after themselves and families and eventually the clients lose out. In the afternoon she went to pick up her grandson from kindergarten, but swhe was so late that he had been taken home by somneone else. She agrees with a somewhat sardonic laugh.

I have my work cut out for me.


  1. Wow, quite the agenda! And you're just rolling with the punches, congrats!

  2. And gorgeous hut! Much nicer looking than I imagined.