Saturday, 28 April 2012

Week 2

Week two in Botswana was pretty exciting but super tiring. After a week of am starts I am so ready for the weekend!
We spent last weekend just exploring around Kang. Sunday we went to the Salt Pan which is really beautiful. Its the only watering hole for miles around so all the animals go to drink there and its such a nice place to relax and reflect on where we are. We also saw some chipmunks which we scared into their burrow. After getting lost in the desert on the way we finally found the way there and spent some time taking pictures and following a donkey with a snapped off broken leg as it limped around ....
The working week started early with an assembly at 7.20 am at one of the local primary schools! We have been in meetings all week with the schools and collage to organise a timetable of when and where we will be working. We have been in bed by about 9 every night as we have been leaving the house about 6 to walk the 5 miles into town! We made the mistake of eating out on monday lunch time and got mobbed by an old woman demanding food... its really hard to get used to people just walking up demanding money off of us.
We’ve had some progress on the TXY project, we have organised to get measurements for the fence and have decided upon what we will be building - brick wall with broken bottles on top. We turned up on wednesday to find the fence had been trampled (apparently by goats!) but it just made us realize how much effort we need to put into sorting out the fence issue asap. We have also begun to paint the ‘sick room’ at TXY, were going for a night sky with moons and stars - because non of us can draw! At the moment we’ve only done the base coat so I will put up some pictures of it when its finished. I have been covered head to toe in dark blue paint for the past two days! 
We met the village chief this week! We expected him to be some old cute man but in reality he was fairly sleazy. I accidentally called a man ‘thick-shit’ when he was telling me his name (which was actually fiction) ... but that was what it sounded like with his accent!!! However I have promised to help him find a British BMW..... so if anyone knows where I can find one either in Botswana or one that can be transported over please let me know :) 

Monday, 23 April 2012

Week 1 Adventures

Blog Week 1.
Nantwich - Heathrow - Nairobi - Gaborone - Kang. 
After what seemed like the longest plane journey in the world which consisted of playing ‘I’ve never’ so loudly we got told off by the air hostess, watching ‘Happy Feet 2’ on mute and commentating on the penguins ..... we basically spent 16 hours pissing off every other person on the plane with our Africa joy, we finally arrived in Gabs the capital of Botswana! 
The first week was spent in Gaborone, just being major tourists and then having some lessons which basically taught us to avoid being eaten by any wild animals! However, we did have some epic trips out. 
Saturday was spent exploring Gabs and shopping for some souvenirs. It was also the first trip in a Combi! The combis are Botswana’s version of a combination of a bus/taxi. As many people as possible squeeze into a mini van and just shout when they want to get off simple as. So we took the first combi to a recycling centre just outside of the city centre where they use waste to make the most amazing jewellery and random objects. It was fairly distressing at first as none of us knew the appropriate combi decorum and looked like such nubes. We were just lucky to have our amazing tour guide/ Setswana teacher Yvonne to help us out! After that we attempted to try local food which was ruined when we realised that what we thought was chicken salad stuff turned out to be tuna and cold baked beans then a bee jumped in my drink and a man made me throw it away. It is surprising how westernised some of Botswana is then in other parts you feel like you’re in Africa. In the malls its just like being in the Bullring then you waddle down the road and there’s women selling individual sweets for 1 pula! I also saw my first lion!!!! It was just the skinned fur for sale in the market but I touched it so it definitely counts.
Sunday was lil David’s birthday the big 2 - 0! Today was “a day’s cultural visit”. We went to a small village about an hour outside Gabs called Thamaga. We went to the Khotla (basically the meeting place where the community comes together to discuss issues etc) and were given the most amazing and overwhelming welcome! All the local young people put on a show of traditional song and dance in traditional dress (I will attempt to put up the videos!). It was so amazing and the atmosphere was intense. We were all flattered by how welcoming they were and how much effort they had put in just to entertain us. In return we did David’s classic making melodies....... doubtless they weren’t that impressed! The local kids were just as excited to see us as we were to see them and followed us around making videos on their phones! After that we went to a local woman’s house who brews local beer, we learnt how to make it and had a small taste, it wasn’t that good but is far better than frosty jacks! Our lovely guide for the day Tonic then took us back to her house for a picnic in her front garden where Kesh fell in love with her dog Bobby. We then made fat cakes; a Botswanan staple which we are going to attempt to learn to cook. When we got home we attempted to make home made Nandos as it was so expensive for actual Nandos..... it was an epic fail! Then we went out for drinks for David’s birthday, accidentally got a little worse for wear then came back and threw cake in his face and had a mini food fight.
Monday and Tuesday was just more Setswana lessons and placement information. Wednesday we left for Kang. It was horrible saying goodbye to everyone that we had grown so close to in such a short time. The journey was exciting to say they least..... we saw a donkey get hit by a car, almost hit a donkey ourselves and all of 2 seconds later killed a bird with the car. I also saw my first monkey munching on the side of the road. There are so many animals just roaming around on the motor way. Cows, donkeys and goats just saunter across the road as if there aren’t cars speeding by at 150 km! The journey was made all that better by the fact that Wairimu is just absolute jokes! After telling us about her life (which is just inspirational and her son who is going to university after only 5 years schooling [he was a street child and missed primary school]) she then turned to Faye Tray and said “Faye tell me about yourself” and continued to question us all about everything. So after hours of discussing really random things we finally arrived in Kang. Kang is on the Tans-Kalahari Highway which runs from South Africa to Namibia and is literally like the Lion King (scenery wise... I’ve not yet met any talking lions or singing warthogs!). Its a small town with a few shops and schools but is by far not as I imagined it. 
We spent the rest of the week meeting almost every single member of the community individually, going to the schools and collage. People were either delighted to see us or didn’t care at all! On Friday we were invited to an event at Kang Primary School for the reception of some computers donated in memory of the ex-Head Teacher. it proved to me how far behind in terms of technological knowledge and resources this area is, and also highlighted how much these kind of gifts mean to them in terms of future opportunities. At the post ceremony lunch we met the Education Secretary for Botswana then he introduced us to the PSP (Personal Secretary to the President) who is basically 3rd in command of the country. They seemed really interested in what we were going to do with our time here and in Skillshare as an organisation so we will hopefully be bombarding them with demands in the future! In the afternoon we went to visit the TXY Pre-Primary School which is our core placement. Its  such a small little school with about 20 - something students, it was good to see how much work the previous volunteers had already done however they are still in desperate need of a more secure fence as people are breaking in at night to use the playground as a space to drink in. There was beer bottles and broken glass all over the floor, and the playground which people worked so hard to create has been damaged. So the school is really in need of something more secure to keep people out and make sure the kids are safe during school hours. We met the little kids who ranged from 6 months to about 6 and they were at first really scared of us but within 5 minuets we were all racing around with hopping races, and playing the hokey kokey. But by far the BEST bit of the day was Faye Tray face-planting the floor when she fell over the snake toy and a tiny little girl with the best pink sparkly sunglasses literally wetting herself with laughter at her! The weekend isn't going to be that exciting, just a well deserved lie in after a week and a half of 6 am starts and catching up with people from home. Start placements on monday so will be able to let you know about all the things we have planned!

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Crimeny I am going to Africa tomorrow :S

Well basically the title says it all!

I've set up this blog so that all you wonderful people back in chilly rainy England can see all the exciting things I get up to in good old Botswana! Today I had to repack everything as my bag was popping at the seams and I was too weedy to lift it. Packing is officially the most stressful thing I have had to do so far, I think I may leave as much as I can behind just so there is less to cram back in in July. This time tomorrow I will be on the 20 something hour plane journey and I canny wait :D.

That's about all I have to say today as nothing has happened yet but keep on reading to see if what I think will happen (I will basically spend the 3 months making friends with a monkey like Rafiki from the lion king and adopt a baby leopard!) actually does happen! I'm already fairly sure that wont happen but we will just have to wait and see! Until then please visit my just giving page and if you can spare anything then please donate to Skillshare International, it does some amazing work and I can't wait to be apart of it.

Hopefully my next post will be more exciting and actually say something other than complaining about packing :)