We Are All Our Hands and Holders

I just hosted my parents for two weeks in Botswana.  We spent a little time in Nata and then I took them exploring the great bush of Botswana.  Our first stop was the Okavango Delta, outside of Maun.  Here we boarded a wooden boat.  We were poled through the reeds and then we camped on an island in the delta.  It was a beautiful to glide through tall grass and clear water.  In addition, we saw a few elephants here and there. tip of mokoro

with out guide Martin

We spent a few days in Nata.  I showed them around the village and gave them a very big tour. During the tour, complete strangers would walk up to my parents and say ‘your daughter Refilwe is my best friend, we are always together.’ This made my parents think that I was very well liked in my community but it made me think that Batswana are pretty great liars! 

During their time in Nata, we held a GLOW meeting.  The GLOW club at this school is for guys and girls.  The lesson that day was about goal setting and my counterpart asked my parents to share a few words.  My parents were impressed by the kids and their ability to dream big.  Because these kids will literally be the future of Botswana.  And they can actually obtain their goals. Last week I also handed out the application to all the girls for GLOW camp.  We got 20 applicants!  Myself, two nurses and a teacher will sit down to pick the lucky five.  It is going to be hard to pick only five girls from those 20!

We then headed up to the Chobe National Park outside of Kasane for a three day safari.  Safaris are no joke and they a more than a little pricey. i figured my parents had earned their right to a safari and my default of being their daughter meant i could tag along.  The safari was unbelievable.  We saw every kind of animal you could see.  Buffalo, lions, elephants, kudu, crocodile, hippos, giraffe, zebra, wildebeest,impala, kingfishers, vultures, storks, wild dogs, blah blah.  so much!  And it was nice to be able to just watch the animals do their thing.

We came upon a pride of about 9 lions just seated under the tree as the cubs ate some scraps and the lionesses slept around the male lion. 

honestly, they looked like Zaza. (who happens to be pregnant again)

And just before they left i took them to my family in molepolole.  I introduced my parents to my african family.

In October, the Daily Herald in Utah published a story about me and they put a plug in for my GLOW camp.  My african family’s picture was included in the article.  This is a picture of them reading the article from the Utah newspaper in Molepolole, Botswana.

It was fun to go around with my parents having a grand adventure in the African bush, but it meant more to show them the people that had become so important to me.  Especially my beautiful church mates in francistown.

Botswana Day

walking to the edge

Nata is on the edge of the largest salt pans in the world- The Makgadikgadi Pans.  It is a remarkable place with stunning landscape and some interesting wildlife (namely- wildebeest, flamingos, ostrich, impala, hippos and lions).  What I love about the pans is the feeling that you are on the edge of the world, you are literally so far removed from the modern world.  There is a majesty to the feeling.  A certain sense of reverence for mother earth. I have had the opportunity to go to the pans several times and each time I am impressed. It is when I am out here, that I feel like I am in Africa, that i have arrived.  But clearly, that just shows you that my perception of africa is still based on Lion King and my professor’s ethnography of the !Kung Bushmen in Namibia. But in reality, it is so much more. And all i really know is Botswana, which is Nata and these beautiful pans.

This past weekend was a holiday weekend.  Thursday was Botswana Day! Celebrating Independence from the british (it was only ever a protectorate and was never colonized, which make a big difference).   I celebrate independence with a bunch of peace corps volunteers on these pans.  About 25 other volunteers came to my house and we headed to the pans.  We had a really great time.  Even though there was little water, we still saw flamingos, ostriches, wildebeest, impala and hippo tracks.  Also, a magnificent sunset.

camping

cracked earth

under african skies

morning glory

sunrise

I guess I am surprised when locals have lived there their whole life, but have never seen what is in the backyard.  But I shouldn’t be.  I’ve never seen the salt flat in Utah, don’t I claim utah as my home?  At least I have been to the grand canyon and disneyland.

Now I feel as if I need another weekend to recover from my weekend.  So exhausted! Also, it’s hot here and I guess that means giant spiders, scorpions, roaches and beetles the size of my head.  yikes