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.


  1. 1. I did not know this!
    2. Mrs Ball's Chutney Flavour...still don't get it.
    3. ....
    4. Though we did have female Regents
    5. Sorry :(
    6. :D
    7. ROFL
    8. Controversial there Jeremy...What do you mean by Bride "WEALTH"? There is a thesis in the library by Dr. Radijeng that deals extensively with bogadi.

    - Have you bought some sugar cane to munch on? What's experience without tooth decay?

  2. sorry about your bottle hobbit. but on a brighter side, i thought of you and adam and took some pictures of the (hopefully) last snow in sandwich. they are found in my blog, here:

    hope all is well, watch out for the roaches - they can be mean mothers.

  3. alas, i cannot refuse to say no to camp. i'll be back but hopefully with higher pay, or else i'll have to pull off 2 jobs which would cut into our celebration of summer nights.