Thursday, March 26, 2009

Thursday, March 26, 2009; last day at WAR

Fall is approaching here and the nights have become much cooler than when I arrived. In the middle of the night, I was awakened by the cold as nothing is insulated here. In a sleep fog, I crawled out from under the mosquito netting and found a tee shirt. I abruptly woke from the stupor when I walked smack into the side of the bathroom door. Rubbing my head and feeling a bump swelling, I crawled back into bed and tried to resume the work at hand.

Later this morning my head is fine, and I woke up to the usual orchestra that I have been experiencing here in Maun. It is a cacophony of 5 or 6 roosters crowing from all directions, joined by as many dogs barking to wake each other up. Donkeys were braying. All this was softened somewhat by the songbirds’ chorus of harmonious and not-so-harmonious songs. Add to that the increasing buzz of traffic in the distance as Maun shakes off its torpor. Then at 6:45 am, one of the fellow guests decided to have a conversation from outside his chalet with his buddy a few chalets over. At 7:15, perhaps in retaliation, another neighbour turns his radio on to loud morning news in Tsetswana.

I was more aware of it because the time to move on is approaching. Tomorrow I go to the Delta and the last leg of my adventure. Today at WAR, we will have the monthly potluck lunch to celebrate birthdays and other events. It has been moved up a day to acknowledge my stay and my departure

I continue to find fascinating observations. I can find no reason why most of the men are skinny as a rail and the women are buxom with ample booty. My cab driver tells me, laughingly, that it is because the men do all the hard work. I just laugh with him and say that I doubt it. It certainly is not my observation. The heavier men seem to be the better off and able to afford more leisure and more food. Food consumes a great deal of most people’s income as much as 50% or more I’m told – another impact of poverty. The high school students I see, are all slender and tall as are a few adults. Maybe with the women it is the post birth syndrome. A fat boy, I saw yesterday, stood out by his uniqueness. Even the cabbie commented on him.

Most yards around the dwellings are totally denuded of all vegetation even though grass will grow. I have seen people with spades and shovels working hard to remove it, roots and all. Then they nicely rake it so that all footprints and tracks are visible. I know it is not a beautification project because there are many other areas that left to their own fate and detritus. I ask. I am told that Batswana fear snakes and by removing the grass there is nowhere to hide; the nicely raked area shows there tracks and they can tell if any are nearby. In the heat of summer, there are also lots of ticks and bugs that live in the grass and are a very annoying and potentially painful pest. There is an explanation to most everything.

The second picture in this post is of the second WAR building containing 3 offices and a conference / education room. There have often been the eager voices of high school students coming from that room while I have been here - possibly getting a first exposure to gender based violence and how they play a role in perpetuating it or stopping it.

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