Sunday, January 25, 2009

Mexican food at an Asian resturant in Africa

Classes began in earnest this week, which turned out to be hell. Monday, once again, no professor showed up for politics of poverty, as well as intro to the african novel. I went to Batsi's, the program director, office and he made some calls and found out that in fact those classes had been canceled. Thus the task of switching classes began, which involved wandering around campus, which is quite large, trying to find buildings, which are all numbered in no particular order. For every class added and dropped, a signature from the department head is needed. Eventually I got all the necessary signatures and added Radio and current affairs, and politcs of southern africa.
Also on monday, I went to the main mall with a few friends, via the combis. Now for those not familiar with transportation in Botswana (in other words you who are reading this, most likely) Botswana uses a system of combis. Combis are small vans which carry up to 16 people, and normally have all 16 seats filled up. There is a very complex and confusing system of combis, with different route names and numbers, so you have to hope and pray you're in the right one or you may end up somewhere strange. On the upside, they only cost 2.70 pula per ride, or about 35 cents. Main mall is slightly shady, but there are a number of cool craft shops set up with people who actually made what they are selling.
Monday night is rib night at Bull and Bush, the wonderful resturant across town, thus a number of us decided to check it out. The ribs are on special for 49.99 pula, or $6.50, in other words a wonderful meal.
For our CIEE class, which is the course run by the study abroad program, we have to choose an aspect of Botswana which we intend on researching through interviews. Working in parters, we must travel around Botswana, gathering information from various types of Batswana, from professors to poor farmers. My friend Rebecca and I were discussing the project, and we both thought that researching myths in Botswana culture would be interesting. So we shall be conducting interviews to see how myths and folklore are present in the modern society, the reasoning behind beliefs, how they contradict and interact with the new religions (Christianity and Islam), and how they differ in seperate villages. I'm pretty excited, as hopefully we should be able to get some very interesting interviews.
In continuing with the hellish classes, I went to my Radio and Current Affairs class on Thursday, to which I was the only one to show up. It turns out it got moved to 10am on Wednesday, a time which I already have a class. I had to thus trek around to get signatures to add and drop once again, though since add drop ended on Friday, I was under a good deal more pressure. I eventually got radio dropped, and picked up a history course. The professor of this class is crazy. He spent most of the class bashing the Batswana students and praising the American students, calling the Batswana students lazy and useless, telling the class he had already decided he wanted to be a professor at UB his sophomore year of college there. He was quite interesting and I talked to him for a while after class about various political issues in the country.
On Saturday morning we went to volunteer at a SOS Childrens Village, which is a village entirely for orphans. SOS is the largest orphan charity, operating in 123 countries. The kids here are adorable. We got there and they just all ran over and wanted us to play with them and carry them around and show us different things. I played with them for about 2 hours, then helped the women who work there cut up potatoes. I then sat down at a table and for about an hour just sat around with about 6 kids and drummed on the table and sang songs. It was so much fun. These children are mostly orphans because of AIDS, and many of them also have the AIDS virus. However, while they have already gone through so much at such a young age, they all just keep smiling. They are exactly like any child in the US. One of the most ironic things I saw happened while they got lunch. Each child had a bowl of oatmeal with sugar and milk, which looked quite good. Most of the kids at the table ate all of it up, except for two. I couldn't help thinking of how many times I was told to finish my food because, "there's starving children in Africa who don't even have food." Sometimes you just don't want it I guess.
Last night we went out to dinner before going off to a international student party. We chose an Asian resturant for some reason, which worked out well, as the owner gave us free Mexican food because we were the only customers.
Anyways, I hope this was mildly amusing. And now..........PICTURES!!!

Goats crossing the road
I live here!!!! This is outside the graduate dorm I live in.

From Top, clockwise: Strange green vegetables, goat intestines, maize, chicken, pop (bland white stuff), goat meat, tree worms. mmmmmm
Right outside one of my classes. The university is quite open to the air, as all my classes are open to the outside
The University of Botswana!!!
Kgali Hill. We climbed it. It was glorious.
Trekking up.
The view was beautiful.
One of our many water breaks.
You could see for miles and miles.


  1. those elephants are amazing. i had no idea that leading them by the ear was so effective.

    also, i have page a day calendar based on that '1001 places to see before you die' book. and today's place is Chobe National Park in Botswana, and has a photo of elephants. i ripped off the old page this morning, saw this one, and got excited and thought JEREMY!

  2. you. are. great.

  3. Jeremy your pictures are rad. As are elephant videos. Continue the enjoyin'!