Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Tuesday, March 10, 2009 The office

I am picked up by the cab at 7:20 and whisked to the office beside the airport by 7:45. It had rained considerably during the night and the secondary roads are little more that muddy trails, deeply rutted and a challenge to navigate. It is all done with a great calmness and acceptance. The driving I have observed so far is all moderate, cautious and careful of the condition of the vehicle. Although that is not the only driving because yesterday I saw the clean up of a fairly good crunch up of two cars in front of the World University Service of Canada Offices in Gaborone.

One of the staff is busy doing the cleaning sweeping the sea shore like sand that is everywhere. This is followed by a thorough mopping of all the ceramic tile floors - the only kind of flooring I have seen anywhere whether it is the mall, office or my room. Cool, attractive and easy to clean.

The staff slowly wander in and although not all are present yet, the morning ritual starts pretty much at 8 sharp, OK, it was 8;05! Someone begins singing a hymn and eventually most join in. This is followed by several more hymns, a brief reading from Hebrews and an eloquent prayer that included the welfare and well being of the clients. I had been told this would happen or I would have been caught off guard.

The day begins. I have further meetings to confirm dates and times I will do trainings and meetings with clients. I meet for a final time with Fortune, the L4C officer. He is a brilliant man who has done leading edge work in the field of HIV/AIDS in Botswana and his own country of Zambia. He did the very first research linking the spread of HIV to some old customs associated with polygamy and particularly ritual cleansing of a widow soon after her husband passed. She is taken into her brother-in-law's home and has ritual intercourse with him to tie her to the his family so she does not return to her own parents with the bridal and family possessions, traditionally measured in cows. The husband had died of AIDS and then the wife - also infected, spread it to her brother-in-law and he to his other wives. With the customs of looking after family members [read: having intercourse with] when the husband is at the country home or at the grazing pasture home, the virus is spread geometrically. Fortune was able to convince six chiefs in his own family of this with much difficulty and some awareness of how to stop the spread started to build. Botswana, very progressive in theory just launched a One Partner campaign a few days ago.

The rain stopped a few hours ago and the temperature has gone up steadily. I am sure that is preferable to the -5C and snow that some friends have told me has hit Vancouver of late!

At 1 pm, I feel the need to eat as I have had nothing yet today. I ask about places near by and make my way to Hilary's down a muddy road, past several lake sized pools across from the airport. There are three people there. I have a good salad and a sandwich as it fills up. It has only whites in it besides some of the service and kitchen staff although the white owner [I assume she is Hilary] is working the tables.

I wander up the road a bit to get some information on Delta trips and other possibilities for after my volunteer work. It seems a pricey business, but I am considering 2 nights in the Delta, 2 nights in the Linyati - a more northern area where there are more animals at this time of the year and , for something totally different, 2 nights in the Kalahari.

I wander back to the office. It is totally hot and so I try to do some work.


  1. I just had a look on Google Earth, and I am amazed at the beauty and variety of country side around you. Sure hope you're making good use of your camera!


  2. It's amazing Fortune is working at WUSC... Seems he should be sollicited by greater projects there. Everybody says he's so experienced and competent.
    - phil