Check out these cool video’s!
BTV-news covers the malaria campaign
Motswedi Rehabilitation Center
Elephants and the BIG cat
Elephants and Rhino’s
Don’t forget to see all of our pictures on the Gallery 2012 page.
Wednesday – Friday, June 13 – 15
We had a great time at the Madikwe Game Reserve in South Africa. This was a short drive from Gaborone. The reserve is very large and protected to the point where you must get picked up at the gate and driven to your lodge. We stayed at the Mosetlha Bush Camp which is way back in the bush. The rooms are rustic with platforms that have a canvas roof, oil lanterns, and very comfortable beds. No electricity or running water but very comfortable with great food cooked over the braii. We went on evening and early morning game drives that were unforgettable. The evening drive left at 3:30 and returned around 7. We saw many many animals the highlight being 2 bull elephants and 9 white rhino’s at a water hole. Then we came across a pride of lions after dark. About 8 females with cubs. One of the large lions walked right past our truck and we were told to sit very still as it was a little nervous with the cubs nearby!
When we got back we had a nice dinner, tea around the fire and a nice star talk under very clear skies. A few of us took showers in the outdoor showers which was a little chilly.
In the morning we left at 7 for our drive and saw some beautiful scenery before coming across a large group of female elephants with young ones. They were feeding in an area where we could just sit back and watch them interact. After seeing giraffe, zebra and a variety of antelope we came upon a male lion about 4 years old. He was sitting on a hill and was beautiful. After we watched him for a while he walked down the hill, past our truck, and laid down in the sun very near us. What a great morning!
We had brunch when we returned and then left for Gaborone. We had a relaxing afternoon bargaining for souvenirs on the main mall. A few people commented that they had seen the students on TV distributing nets in the village. BTV had covered the campaign and it had been shown on Wednesday. We were lucky enough to see the story repeated on Thursday and everyone was very happy to see themselves on TV.
We are about to leave for the airport. It will be sad to leave this beautiful country and welcoming host families but I know everyone is also anxious to be home. Thanks for following our blog. Don’t forget to look at all of our pictures on the Gallery 2012 page. Cheers!
Saturday – Tuesday, June 9-12
We have returned from the north and had a wonderful experience! The students from GSS and Colorado have become such good friends and work so well together. It was truly a joy to travel with them. On Saturday we left Gaborone and drove to the Khama Rhino Sanctuary near Serowe. We unpacked in nice chalet’s and then went to dinner. After dinner we were treated to a sky full of stars in the Southern Hemisphere. We went to sleep early because we had to be ready for a game drive at 6AM. It was cold when we woke up but we did not know what we were in for until the open truck carrying us took off and the cold wind hit our faces. It was freezing! It felt like a cold snowy day in the Colorado mountains. Apparently the rhino’s don’t like the cold either because we did not see any but we did see a beautiful sunrise, a heard of zebra, wildebeast,, impala and others. The hot coffee and tea were very popular at breakfast. After breakfast we drove to the village of Matsitama. Once we arrived the students went around town putting up posters explaining how to protect yourself from malaria. We then went to the primary school where we were given a couple of rooms to sleep in. We put down our bed pads and our sleeping bags and then began to prepare dinner. The campfire was a lot of fun, with everyone talking and laughing as they enjoyed dinner. The Colorado students introduced the GSS students to the fine are of making s’mores and they were very popular.
On Monday we learned from the environmental health officer where we would be going in the village and what information to record from the people that were given mosquito nets. Before we left the school we met many of the students and their teachers. They told us that 60% of the students lived alone because their parents had to travel so far for work at their cattle post and most students had not eaten since lunch on Friday. The school lunch was the only meal that they got.
We were taken into the village by the environnmental health officers and sent off in different directions. One GSS student and one from Colorado in each team. The students were well received and had a very rewarding experience meeting families and explaining to them the correct way to use the nets that they were being given. By noon we had distributed 250 nets! Each team of students had different stories to tell about the people that they had met.
After lunch we visited a few classrooms. One teacher told us that many of the students had never met someone with white skin and that after shaking out hands they would not was there hands for a week. Then we started playing catch with a football one of the students had brought. Classrooms started to empty and soon 40 or 50 students from 5 to 10 years old were in the school yard playing with the ball. I can’t remember the last time I have had this much fun. To see the students so happy was very rewarding. After the game Kyle was nice to donate the ball to the school. They do not have any balls for the students and were thrilled to get the American football.
From the school we went to Francistown for the night and then back to Gaborone today. This was an experience none of us will forget.
Thursday and Friday June 7&8
On Thursday we went to the Motswedi Rehabilitation Center in Mochudi. It was so nice to meet the students and to distribute the stuffed animals that we had collected at home. I don’t know who was happier the students who received the toys of our students who were handing them out. It was a very touching ceremony with the Motswedi students and teachers singing songs for us and a few speeeches before the toys were donated. From there we visited the Raserura Primary School which has been a partner in SLAM in the past. We got a nice tour of the school and were able to visit a few classrooms. From there we had a nice lunch and restful afternoon. Thursday evening there was a very nice reception braii for us at the school. Students cooked meet over a fire and served this with other traditional Botswana foods. There were many nice speeches talking about the benefits of students interacting on world issues and the gains that are made by our countries and students. All of the host familes attended along with a government official and administrators from GSS.
On Friday we attended a malaria workshop where we heard from a doctor at the main hospital here in Gaborone and the public health official who is in charge of the malaria elimination program in Botswana. They explained the different health concerns in Botswana and encouraged the students to pursure careers in medicine and public health. We learned more about malaria, the current status in Botswana and how to hang mosquito nets. The students were instructed to give one net for every sleeping space in a home. They were told how to politely ask to see the inside of the home and to instruct the people on the correct method for hanging the net. Education of people in the village is the primary objective.
Saturday we leave for the Rhino reverve in Serowe and then on Sunday we will travel to the village for the campaign on Monday! We are having a great time. The students are making many friends and are anxious to spend more time together as we travel north.
Wednesday June 6
What a wonderful full day! At 7AM the students from Colorado gave 10 minute presentations on life in Colorado to 6 different groups of students from GSS. This meant that each student, teacher and chaperone had to give a presentation. The feedback from the GSS students was very positive, they especially enjoyed hearing the greetings in Setswana at the beginning and end of each presentation. From there the students from Colorado went to visit different classes at GSS with their partner student. The students from GSS were wonderful hosts and brought the visitors to tea at 10AM after the early classes. From this point Aidan went with Mr. Hamaluba to be interviewed on the radio. Mr. Hamaluba was very impressed with the way that Aidan spoke with such confidence and had many good points to make. The rest of the Colorado team went for a walk around Gaborone and saw the homes where the Ambassadors from various countries live. We then all had lunch in the GSS dining hall. Following lunch we had our first exposure to African wildlife when we visited the Gaborone Game Park. We saw Zebra, Impala, monkeys and more. Please see the pictures that we have added to the Gallery 2012 page.
Tuesday June 5
We all arrived on Monday with no problems after a very long journey. The team from Gaborone Secondary School (GSS) met the team from Colorado at the Gaborone airport. Students went home with their hosts and had a wonderful evening getting to know each other. Today we toured Gaborone Secondary School, meeting many students, teachers, kitchen staff and anyone else that we came across. What a welcoming community this is! The music class played a very nice marimba piece for us and we had a nice snack in the cafeteria during tea break. After lunch we visited the Al-Nur Primary and Secondary School. This is a private Muslim school for students of all religions and races. We had a very nice meeting with the Headmaster and a nice tour with students and teachers. We enjoyed watching students play net-ball and cricket. The rest of the afternoon was spent preparing our presentations for tomorrow when the Colorado students will each speak to a separate group of GSS students about life in Colorado. We will all sleep well tonight!
We are very excited to be planning our 2012 Malaria Eradication Campaign. This years campaign will be in Gweta Village in the Tutume District of Botswana. Gweta is near the Makgadikgadi salt pans which flood during the rainy season and are a popular place for wildlife and migrating birds. This is also a wonderful place for the breeding of mosquitoes which carry malaria and infect the people living in Gweta. Students from the Alexander Dawson School and Boulder High School in Colorado will be collaborating with students from the Gaborone Secondary School. The students will distribute mosquito nets to families in Gweta and educate people on ways to prevent the spread of malaria.
Please follow our blog on this page to keep track of our adventures together!