Tuesday, 10 June 2014

From Botswana, With Love

By Ali Everitt, 2nd year MDP student

Dumelang from Gaborone, Botswana! This summer I will be working as a Resource Mobilization Intern for three months with the Centre for Youth of Hope [CEYOHO]. CEYOHO is a small organization that was founded by, and for, young people living with HIV. This organization strives to reduce the number of new infections, and to improve the lives of young people living with HIV through the use of prevention strategies and support services. If you have the chance, I urge you to check out their website at www.ceyoho.wordpress.com to see all of the great work that they are doing!

On my first game drive - Ali (L), our house mom, Thato (C) and Sunny (R) my roommate

While in Gaborone I am living with another student, Sunny, and our house mom, Thato. We live in the eastern part of Gaborone and since the city is just over 200,000 people it is quite easy to get around. My main mode of transportation has been combi’s (15 person vans) that have routes all over the city. At the start they were a little scary as the driving down here is quite fast-paced and the routes can be difficult to learn. Now after almost four weeks of practice I feel a little more comfortable and (almost) never get lost. Now having said that though I’m sure I’ll end up on the outskirts of town next time I take one.

What I didn’t realize before arriving here was that I would be in Botswana during their winter season. As a Canadian prairie girl, when I was told this upon arrival I was not too worried. Now after being here for a few weeks I have found that a southern Africa winter is not as warm as I had originally expected. During the days Gaborone is beautiful – usually around 25 degrees Celsius and perfectly sunny without a cloud in the sky. At night and in the mornings, however, it can drop to around 0 degrees and as the homes do not have insulation or central heating (to stay cooler in the summer and to keep costs lower) it gets very cold. As my roommate and I are always freezing we have had a lot of jokes thrown our way and trust me, the irony of being a Canadian who is cold in southern Africa is not lost on me. 

My first giraffe sighting at the Mokolodi Game Reserve!

So far we have gone on a game drive through Mokolodi Game Reserve and there we saw giraffes, baboons, warthogs, and ostrich. My roommate and I are looking in to doing several more of these around the country in the hopes of seeing the Big 5 – lions, elephants, rhinos, buffalo, and leopards – as well as Victoria Falls and the 4 Points (the only place in the world where four countries meet at one point). I can’t wait to see as much of this beautiful continent as possible!

Thanks for reading my first blog post! I’ll update you all again soon.

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