Sunday, March 29, 2009

Interesting Setswana words

This week was not very eventful. It was nice to be back on campus, mostly for the 5 minute foot commute to classes in the morning.

A bunch of study abroad advisers came from universities all over the US on Monday to check out the university and the CIEE program here. I was picked to bring 8 of them to my religion class.
They showed up at the school around 8:05 for my 8am class, so I walked quickly with them, hoping not to make too much of a disturbance arriving into class late. This didn't happen.
The thing with Botswana is that for me, being the only white man in a class of 80 black students, getting to class late is something very noticeable. So when you walk in 10 minutes late, using the door in the front of the classroom because the back entrance is locked, people tend to notice.
The entire class started laughing when I walked in with 8 middle age white people, while the professor sang a song which is sung in church when the priest comes in.
They liked the class though, as we were discussing intermediaries in religions, specifically how a mountain goat is used in one culture. (Hint: they don't kill it! They actually capture it on the mountain they believe god lives on, and since it lives near god and has the coolness of god, they rub it with ashes (warmth) and pray on it. Then the mountain goat is released, bringing the heat of earth and the prayers of the people back up to god. Soon the rains come to cool the land and prayers are answered.)
Anyways, we met with the advisers after my class and told them about our experiences in Botswana. It was fun remembering all the things we have done the past 3 months here. I also ran into two advisers, from two different schools, from Cape Cod! It was crazy!

On Saturday, our group went to visit a traditional healer. He was interesting and told us how people come to him with problems. He claims to know immediately what is wrong with a person without them telling him. He communicates with the ancestors of the person, then makes an herb potion for them to drink. People come to him with problems ranging from sickness, broken hearts, bad omens, desire for good luck or a promotion, or the need to have a women fall in love with them. He stated how he is different from a witch doctor, as he only does good and helps people.
He is certified by the Botswana government as an official traditional healer, and there has been research by western science into the herbs and potions used to help people. He also stated that he cannot fix everything and sometimes has to send people to a hospital to get help. However, clinics also send people to traditional healers to remedy some other problems.

Because this week was uneventful and my camera is still dead and I can't upload wonderful pictures, I will hopefully entertain you with the literal meanings of some Setswana words.

Seetebosigo: June or "Don't go about at night" (because it's cold)
Ngwanatsele: November or "The child will pick up" (it's harvesting season, so pick up crops)
Sedimonthole: December or "Please take this off my head" (as women carry baskets of crops on their heads)
Dumela: hello or "I trust you"
Ferabobedi: 8 or "Bend/break two fingers" (if two of your fingers are broken, you only have 8!)
Ferabongwe: 9 or "Bend/break one finger" (Same thing)
lekgoa: white man or "vomited out by the sea" (self explanatory)

A note about numbers. They are terrible in Setswana. No one uses them. They just use English numbers (one, two, three, you know them)

Anyways, I'll let you know about some more entertaining words later.
It's almost Easter! That means I have to get to planning travel. Right now it looks like Mozambique, but I'll keep you updated.

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Mochudi and witchcraft

Sorry for the delay on the blog. My internet has been on the fritz, so I haven’t been able to do anything on the world wide web. But here I am and here is last week.
Sorry for the lack of photos, as in no photos. My camera is dead and I need new batteries to get them onto my computer. They will be up once I can get them.

So after my quite eventful morning on Monday, with the whole waking up grandma and confusion reigning supreme, my week continued mostly uneventfully. I had to wake up at 5am everyday to make it to classes on time, taking the very crowded bus into Gaborone. Once I managed to get a seat, which was wonderful and made me appreciate chairs.

Taking the bus home was always more eventful, as people were more lively in the afternoon. One day, my friend Michael and I sat next to this middle aged woman who was quite friendly, evident after she offered the two of us snuff. We kindly declined, but continued talking to her, in Setswana, trying to figure out what she was asking us. The entire back two rows were invested in this conversation, giving us hints as to how we should answer.

By the time I got home every day, it was already around 6pm. I would walk from the bus stop to my house then help prepare dinner. One night I was chopping up onions, which is always never good for your eyes, but these were especially potent. I was chopping with tears streaming down my face, eyes barely open from the painful burning. My host brother looked at me and started laughing, asking me if I thought onions should be outlawed in Botswana because they make people cry.

Other than the embarrassing onion chopping, the meals were quite good. We ate a lot of chicken and beef, as well as rice with a tomato, onion, and pepper mix. One night we had a chicken stew, which was mighty tasty. I believe that was St. Patrick’s Day, so it was as close to corn beef and cabbage that I could get.

On Wednesday, as I was walking to the bus stop, I noticed a commotion up ahead. There was a man carrying a bike surrounded by a group of people yelling. At first I thought he had been hit by a car, as his face was quite bloodied. However, then I noticed that the bloodied man’s hands were tied to the bike, just as the man walking next to him hit him on the back of the head and pushed him. I realized that I was witnessing the street justice that I had heard about. This man had been caught stealing a bike, jumped by the crowd there, and beat up before being taken by the police.

Every night, after dinner was prepared, we would take our food outside and eat on chairs in the yard. I spent every night just sitting, eating, and looking up. The stars above were like nothing I have ever seen. My constant staring at the sky always made my host family laugh. I suppose they always have amazing night skies.

On Saturday, I once again woke up at 5am, not for school, but for the cattle post. I was picked up by my friend Alex’s host dad, and then we headed out to the lands. It was around a 40 minute drive, but finally we reached the much talked about cattle post. It consisted of two huts and a corral, where the calves are kept. The head boy lives in the hut. He is hired to look after the cattle all year round, as the owners normally have other jobs that keep them away from the post. The cattle boy was around 18 and spoke no English.

While out there, I learned a great deal about cattle. Here are some interesting facts:
-The calves are kept in the corral all day so the mothers have to come back at night. A type of ransom I suppose.
-To get a brand, you have to go to the department of agriculture and they type in your name and print out your brand. This was quite disappointing, as I hoped you could design your own brand.
-Apart from your unique brand to distinguish cattle, a micro chip is also put into the stomach of the cattle. When the cattle are sold, the stomach is scanned and the microchip provides information about the cattle. This helps prevent the stealing of cattle.
-Cattle sell for more when they have no horns.
-A high end cattle sells for 5,000pula, or around $650. Your basic model goes for 1,100 pula, or around $130.
-The punishment for stealing cattle is 5 years in prison.

I returned from the cattle post to find no one at my home. So I took my note book out and began working on my story. I started a young adult book a few weeks ago and I’m around 20 pages in. I’ll let you know if it progresses any further.

Anyways, while I was sitting outside, my host mom and siblings showed up. The kids were carrying boxes. My host mom told me that they had gotten them at the church down the road. I looked at them and was blown away. I realized that these boxes were wrapped in Christmas wrapping paper. What they had just gotten were exactly what churches in the US, including mine, do every year. Every year people bring presents to the church for the poor children in Africa. I was sitting there watching my host family unwrap presents that I might well have sent, in 80 degree weather, in the middle of March. It was a very surreal experience, especially since they gave me some candy that was in the box.

Saturday night there was a party for all of us who stayed in Mochudi that week. Alex and I ended up the ones working the braai (grill). We cooked up some mean steaks, sausages, and pork.

We were to be picked up around 2pm on Sunday, so I wasn’t able to make it to church. However, I did have a fascinating conversation.

I was sitting outside my house, working on my story, when one of my older brother’s friends dropped by to visit. He sat down next to me and started a conversation about witchcraft.
Here are the notes I took after the talk:
-flies on roofs while chasing devils
-can call for someone and they must go to where they are called
-the person who is called feels lost; they don’t know where they are but know where they are going
-the person called is killed for body parts used in potions. These potions are used to bring a person wealth, good luck, and power.
-in 1996 a 14 year old girl was killed by a witch doctor for body parts. The man who was arrested for the killing was not convicted, even though he was found with the body parts in his house.
-this man threw a party for himself after he was released, and at the party, people showed up and burned his house down and proceeded to riot for weeks.
-the government was persuaded to carry out an investigation, with the help of Scotland Yard, but the report was never released. It is believed that some high government officials were implicated in the killing.
-in 1996, students at the university went on strike because of the government withholding information. 200 were arrested.
-there are “too many” of these witch doctors around

It was a fascinating discussion and I have been doing more research into witchdoctors in Africa. I think it would make for a sweet movie.

So I hope I can post this up soon. My internet has been out for over a day now and it is getting quite annoying. I’ll probably have to use someone else’s connection.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Moving into Mochudi and and all that ensued

Now, I was going to write about my week last week, but I can't remember a single thing that happened. Now, I'm fairly certain that a lot happened, but this weekend has overshadowed anything interesting that I could have talked about.
And so I will begin the tale of my weekend adventures:

On Saturday I woke up around 7am to pack. I showered, drying off with a t-shirt as I had to bring my towel to the village.
I suppose I should begin by explaining what exactly I was packing for.
This week is homestay week. Everyone in my program, all 12 of us, are living in the village of Mochudi for the week. We each are staying in different homes across this very large village, each home with different economic wealth and family makeup. Last week I was informed that there was a single mother, a grandmother, a 29 year old son, a 12 year old son, and an 8 year old daughter in my house.
With that limited information about the people who I would be calling family for the next week, the group of us headed out at 8am on Saturday. (actually it was more like 9am as our bus was late).
Arriving in the village, we began to drop off each person, one by one. We began to see the range of families and homes we all would be staying in, with some filled with small children, while others looked like they had primarily older members. It was somewhat sad to see everyone leaving, but I got more excited as the time went by, looking out the widow at all the goats, donkeys, and people.
Finally there was only about 5 of us left on the bus. Batsi, out program coordinator, looked back at me and told me I was next. Now, I had been told I was about a 5 minute walk from a few people, but after driving around for over an hour, I had absolutely no idea where anyone else was. We drove down a dirt road, came to a house at the end, and finally I was home!!
I hopped out and first met my older brother, Mpo, younger brother, Molopi, younger sister, Banyana, and grandma, grandma. After the bus left, I was informed my mother, Mmathebe, was at a wedding and wouldn't be back until the next day. My brother called her and I talked to her for a moment: "Hello!" "Hello my son!" "How are you?" "I am fine. I will be home tomorrow." "Alright." "Bye." "Bye." It was a good beginning, I could tell.
I was shown my room (I actually have my own room. A few people are sharing beds with their brothers or sisters. I lucked out)
Since my mother wasn't there, who I am supposed to give the gifts to, I couldn't use those to break the ice. Instead I brought out the postcards of Sandwich that I had brought (thanks mom) and pictures of my family and snow. This kept them asking questions about Sandwich and the animals on the cards. And when I say them, it was pretty much my older brother. The younger sister just stares at me and the younger brother just kinda tries to ignore me. Grandma was somewhere else.
After showing them the pictures and postcards we sat and watched tv. I tried to talk to everyone, but they just looked at me. And I know full well they can speak English. The kids at the orphanage can speak English at 6 or so, and Mpo told me they could. So, after some awkward sitting and me trying to make conversation I gave in and watched tv. They only have one station and luckily it was soccer. You would have liked it dad.
I then remembered I had brought my hemp! I proceeded to get my hemp out and show Banyana how to make a necklace. Molopi was too cool do want to learn. Later he did though. I cut her some so she could work on one, and I started on my own necklace. Since I hadn't really become friendly with grandma, I figured making her a necklace would break the ice. I finished, making a cool red hemp necklace with a shell from Fairfield beach.
I walked outside and gave it to grandma. She took it, laughed, talked to me in Setswana, then pointed at me and and started talking to Mpo. I took this as a good sign so I proceeded back inside to help Banyana with her necklace. She eventually got the hang of it.
After sitting around for an hour or so, I asked Mpo where the bus stop was. Since we have to attend classes still this week, I have to take an hour bus ride from Mochudi into Gaborone to the university. He said sure and we set out. Walking down to the bus stop took maybe 30 minutes, during which I was able to make some solid conversation with Mpo. I asked him about the village and what he does (bartender at a restaurant), and various other things about his life. It was cool.
Then he told me that grandma was scared of me because I spoke English and she did not. Scared of me?! Jeremy?! After I heard this news I was determined to use what little English I knew with grandma.
We eventually made it to the bus stop, passing by the home of Rebecca, one of my friends also doing a homestay. I was relieved there was someone within 5 miles of me. The village is intersected by a number of paved roads, and off of these houses stand, with fenced in houses and yards, full of chickens and children.
Here's the chickens in my yard:
I would eat one later this weekend.
After our tour of town tour, we got back to the house, settling down to watch more tv. I felt like I should be doing something, but I suppose there isn't as much to do in a village as I imagined. Mpo did tell me that he would take me to his cattle post on a donkey cart. These carts are pretty much the roofless and sideless frame of a car pulled by two donkeys. The cattle post is suppose to be the man's area, where time is spent looking at cattle, drinking milk from them, and drinking beer.
After watching soccer for eons Mpo decided that it was time for lunch/dinner at 3pm. We made some papa and potatoes and chicken and a tomato-onion-garlic sauce. I tried to help, but the only thing I was allowed to do was peel the potatoes. Food was good and quite filling.
After dinner Mpo asked me if I wanted to bathe, to which I replied that I was ok for now. We proceeded to watch, in order: Setswana news, Friends, professional dart throwing, a soap opera in both Setswana and English, and My African Dream. My African Dream is a talent show where people sing, dance, rap, and recite poetry. I wish I could have understood it, though Mpo told me what some of the people were saying, like the man who recited a poem on AIDS, which I could never have guessed because everyone was laughing through it.
I was so sick of watching tv while trying to make conversation and failing when Mpo talk me to bathe. There seemed no arguing, so I agreed. Apparently bathing is very important in this society, as Mpo told me they sometimes bathe 3 or 4 times a day. He took me around back to where the outhouse and shed/bath. There is no plumbing at the house so there is no flushing toilet, only an outhouse.
Mpo opened the door to the shed and low and behold, a bath tub!!!
With many cockroaches!!!!

Surrounded by, well, stuff!!!
This is a text I received while in bath:
"Hows life at home?"
My response: "I'm ok. Grandma is scared of me, my young brother and sister don't talk to me, my older brother is cool, and my mom hasn't come home yet. But I am taking a warm bath right now, so that's pretty awesome."

So the bath was cool, and when I went back in I was offered dinner, which was leftovers from lunch. It was around 8 though, so I wasn't feeling like eating before bed.
As I was heading off to bed, Mpo showed me his room and various books he thought I'd be interested in. Included were Bricklaying and Roofing, Geography of Botswana, and a bull catalogue. On the cover of the bull catalogue was a large bull, which Mpo commented was quite nice. I took his word for it, and he proceeded to show me every bull in the catalogue. Now, it turns out this was for ordering bulls or their "urine" as Mpo put it to impregnate your own cattle. It was weird. I went to bed at 9pm. It was awesome.

I woke up around 7 the next morning to go to church. Because my host mom wasn't home the family wasn't going to their church, so I called a friend, Carlos, and found out I could go to his church. Mpo walked me there, which was about 40 minutes from my house. At the church, which was called the Spiritual Healing Church, I met everyone that was of some importance. When Carlos and my friend Max got there with their families, we met with the pastor in his office. He asked us to write down our names and why we were in Botswana. He then tried to pronounce our names.
Me-No, Jeremy
M-Close enough

After our meeting, during which I was surprised the minister didn't react to Max saying he was Jewish, we went into the church. The church was segregated by age and gender, so we sat with the older men, while male children, female children, young women, and older women all sat i different sections.
The mass was entirely in Setswana, except for the reading, which they did in Setswana and English because we were there.
There was a great deal of singing, which made me sad that I didn't have a hymnal. However, they clapped through all the songs, which was entertaining. I picked up the chorus for the majority of songs though.
The reading this week was Jesus washing the disciples feet, so they had a special rite where the pastor washed the congregation's feet. Now, the men went first, so I was one of the first ones done. Then the young men went. After all the males had gone, we had taken around 25 minutes, making me wonder if only men got their feet washed. No. Not true. Every single person there got their feet washed.
The congregation sung the same song, about the cleansing water the entire time. I memorized it. I sung it and clapped for An hour and a half. THE SAME SONG!!!!! It was crazy. So the feet washing made the normally shortish service run over 3 hours and a half. Eventually Max and Carlos' host moms called us outside and had us walk to their homes.
I found that my home is much less well off than them, as their homes are large and they have satellite tv. I was eventually walked back to my house.
We watched more soccer for a while until I asked Mpo to walk me to the bus stop again, so I would remember in the morning. He proceeded to walk me in a totally different direction to another stop, which happened to be near where my friend Alex was staying.
When we returned my host mom was home. She is a very nice lady, though equally as quiet as the rest of the family, or so I thought. After sitting outside with the family, she dismissed me inside to watch tv more. I showered again, then ate freshly slaughtered chicken and sorghum porridge (it tastes exactly like traditional beer, eg not good). Bed at 8pm. Very nice.

I woke up at 5am to get to the bus. I had talked to Alex the night before and decided to meet him so we could take the bus in together. Then the madness began.
I walked out back to wash my face before I left. Unbeknownst to me the chickens sleep next to the outhouse, thus the rooster sleeps there. I must have woken it up because it started crowing the instant I walked by, scaring me half to death. I got over it, washed, and went back to my room. While packing up I could hear grandma talking quickly and someone talking to her. I walked out and was greeted by Mpo. The following conversation occurred:
M-What are you doing?
J-I'm going to the bus.
M-It is early, you're taking the half six (6:30) bus.
J-No, I want to get in early and take it in with my friend Alex.
M-At 6:30
J-No, 6. I'm meeting him.
J-No, at his house. We saw it yesterday, I pointed it out to you.
M-I don't know. Go inside and sit.

I proceed to walk inside the living room, where I found grandma on the floor under a blanket mumbling. Not wanting to wake her I quietly took a seat. She started talking loudly, sat up, turned, saw me, and yelled. She then turned and started shaking the "blanket" a few feet away from her, which turned out to be Moloki, all the while yelling and pointing at me.
Traumatized, I just sat.
Finally, my host mom came in and quizzed me about this plan I had for taking the bus. I appreciate the concern but she was certain that I would be lost and killed if I tried to do as I told her. She eventually said she would walk me to Alex's house. We never made it. She had me call Alex, who couldn't give directions to his house, so we went to a different stop. I asked her if we had to wait down and across the street with the other people, but she said no. Then a bus passed on the other side and stopped a ways down.
I literally sprinted to make the bus.
Then came the hour long bus ride, during which I stood the whole way. We blew out a back tire but did we stop, never. That's why there's two tires on the back wheel.

Anyways, that was my weekend.
I hope you made it through the entire story. I didn't realize it would be so long. Sorry.
I'll have the rest of my story next post.
I hope it is as amusing to you as it has been for me.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Halfway done

Happy Daylight Savings!!! Botswana doesn't celebrate Daylight Savings, so I am now an hour closer to the US, only 6 hours ahead of the East Coast now!!!

Tuesday marks 9 weeks of being in Botswana, and since we leave a day after 18 weeks, I find myself halfway through my time here. Madness.

This week certainly had it's ups and downs.
Academically, this week was quite eventful. I had a religion paper due Tuesday, a paper for my study abroad due on Friday, and I'm currently working on a paper for my politics of southern Africa class and another for politics of poverty.

During my politics of poverty class on Friday, the professor finally got the best of me. This man is a terrible professor and all he does is read facts out of books at us. Not to us, at us. He doesn't even understand much of what he reads, as every so often he asks the class if they could explain what he just said. He has also made quite inaccurate comments, such as, "the Jews were lucky in WWII because they had an army and it helped them to defeat the Palestinians."
***I don't want to give you a bad impression of all UB professors. Most are quite competent and I have learned a great deal from the rest of them. It is only this one who is miserable******
He also tends to make very sexist comments throughout class, such as laughing at sexual assault because men have needs, as well as telling the class that often the man earns money and before he knows it, the women has spent it all. He is a huge misogynist. On Friday, we were talking about informal economies, which I find very interesting, when we got on to the topic of the trafficking of women. He seemed to think that women who are trafficked do so by their own free will and it is their fault. He then decided that it would be better to have the class debate over the reasons men leave their wives to sleep with prostitutes than to address why the trafficking of women occurs in the first case, getting a kick out of thinking of reason women drive men to do so. I finally was so fed up that I raised my hand and explained to him that discussing why men leave their wives has absolutely nothing to do with the informal economy and that women who are trafficked do so against their will. It is not normally their choice. He just laughed and said that I was trying to get us off topic. I responded that this discussion was off topic and we should be discussing the issue at hand. He laughed again and continued on his merry way. I was so mad I was shaking. It's no wonder that my doodling skill have vastly improved during this class.

The head of CIEE, Adam , the organization which runs our program, came to visit. We went out to dinner, it was free, so good. He has an awesome job, as he gets to visit all the programs that he runs throughout the year. He said he just got a new passport, but the old one had over 45 countries in it.

This week was also cultural diversity week at UB. This is much more interesting than that at Fairfield, as on Thursday and Friday, booths were set up where you could go around and eat food from about 20 different African nations, as well as check out some of their crafts. On Friday, I had a class canceled, so I was able to check out the parade of nations, where the traditional attire, songs, and dance was put on display of many nations. Here's a few pictures:
This first one is of women in traditional dress singing. I can't remember where they're from, sorry....
Here is all of the nations. The guys that are all covered and looking like characters from Mortal Combat are from Lesotho. I have a class with one of them. He is cool. Even out of costume.
These ladies are from Swaziland.
And these women are from Somalia (Somalis that aren't pirates!!!)
The UB choir sang a number of songs:
I'm going to try to load one song, but it might take a while (DAYS!!!!)
**On second thought, I'll try to load a video later. The pictures alone are taking an eternity. So check back soon to hear the awesome UB choir.
Instead, here's a picture of cool percussion players (the video will also come shortly)
I was also asked by a girl from Botswana if I was going to display my culture. She proceeded to ask me where my baggy pants and large t-shirts were, as, "aren't they part of your culture?" I proceeded to tell her, no, they aren't, but some people wear them. She then asked me if I was going to rap for everyone. I laughed. Then said no. I don't rap.

We met this week to discuss our home stay, which starts next Saturday, the 14th. I am quite worried about this home stay, even though I know I shouldn't be. The prospect of living with a family for a week sounds great, but I'm not sure how my host family will like me, how the living arrangement will be (some homes are nice, others, well, not very wealthy), how I'm getting to school (we have to commute an hour every day, so I have to get up super early), or how well I will be able to complete my school work. I mean, it is cool that we get to help the family out with household activities like cooking, chopping wood, and the sort, but right now the uncertainty of the whole deal is just causing me unneeded stress. Urgh.

I also woke up Saturday morning and began the most unpleasant day I have had in years. I haven't really been sick in a while, but I caught some sort of 24 hour flu. I couldn't eat or drink anything for most of the day without throwing up. It was terrible. Finally around 5 I was able to keep some liquids down, which was great, because I was incredibly dehydrated. I spent the whole day in bed, making it the most useless day EVER. However, I woke up this morning still pretty weak, but as the day has progressed, I've been feeling much better.
However, the combination of sickness and stress about the home stay has resulted in a bit of homesickness. This is annoying, though hopefully during the week with all the work I have to do, it will soon pass.

And if anyone saw the New York Times Travel section this week, I hope you read the article on Cape Cod. Sandwich was one of two towns the reporter visited, writing great things about the Green Briar Nature Center. Whoooo Sandwich!!! Here's the article so I can claim the shameless promotion of my town:

Email me to: let me know how you like my blog/suggest new things for it/demand info you'd like to know about Botswana/just say hi.
And Barbara, I haven't forgotten about the info on military coups. That will also come soon.

Monday, March 2, 2009


March is here! Spring is on it's way! Wait, summer is here now, so fall is on it's way? Strange.
I realized today that daylight savings is on March 8th in the US, yet Botswana does not take part. So in a week, I will be 6 hours ahead of the east coast instead of 7.
Anyways, this week was mildly entertaining. Finally the academic part of study abroad kicked in, leaving me scrambling to fit in all my work. There is a great deal of group assignments at the university, which I hate. At one point, there were 8 different people trying to meet with me on the same day at around the same time. Quite hectic. Another interesting part of group projects is the method of grading. For my presentation on Military Coups in West Africa, the professor asked the class at the end what grade they thought we should get. Luckily for us, he took the highest grade someone shouted, a 95. However, being graded by those sitting before you was quite surreal.
This weekend a few of us took a taxi outside the city to the village of Oodi. Here is the location of the Oodi weavers, a cooperative of women who make amazing woven tapestries.
Here is one of the women working on a piece:
And this is the workroom, where around 20 women work at a time:
Here's the shop where all their blankets and tapestries and mats are sold:
The Oodi weavers have been in existence since 1977 and has helped many women in the area develop valuable skills and provide work and income. Here's a link with more information:
Sadly, in this last picture, you can see my red bottle. It was left in Oodi by accident, and attempts to retrieve it have been in vain. It was a nice bottle and helped keep me hydrated on many a hot day.

Here's some interesting notes on Botswana. At least I find them interesting:
1. Water goes clockwise down the sink in the Southern Hemisphere. It has something to do with the Coriolis effect.
2. There are no plain chips here. Everything has some sort of weird flavor.
3. The same party has been in power for the past 40 years.
4. To become a chief, one must inheritate the title from one's father. Only men had been chiefs until recently, when a woman claimed the right to lead after her father died with no male children. However, since a woman can't pass her family name onto her children in Botswana, this line of chiefs will come to an end. So sadly, women have a very limited role in leadership in Botswana.
5. I have lost my favorite backpack (stolen), my favorite sweatshirt (blown off a safari truck), and my favorite water bottle (you know).
6. Dumela, which is the greeting used in Setswana, actually means "I believe". So essentially when you say hello in Setswana, you are stating that you "believe" that this person is a friend and that you can trust them.
7. I have so many cockroaches in my apartment. SO many. We've given up fighting them, though soon I may wake up being carried away.
8. Bride wealth is still paid in Botswana. The family of the man pay somewhere between 8-16 heads of cattle for a wife. Even those living in the city normally do, purchasing cattle to give to the bride's family if they no longer own any.
9. An large Oodi tapestry takes around a month to create.
10. Watching a thunderstorm roll across an African landscape from miles away is something everyone should see.

I hope this was entertaining and that you are well. Thanks for reading.