Greetings friends and family!
It is officially our last day in the lovely country of Botswana before we begin our sojourn to Capetown, South Africa. While the team is much anticipating the new experiences on our second leg of the journey, we are sad to depart from our new friends and “home” at the Mokolodi Backpackers.
We thoroughly enjoyed the last week of touring and work at Kamagela and Holy Cross, but the past 24 hours has been a much needed time of rest and fun (and fun we had!). Last night we ditched our shorts and t-shirts and glammed up with our best dancing attire (Botswana has never seen so many Target Maxi dresses in one location in all of history) and headed to Bull and Bush restaurant and club. It was an excellent time for the team to bond in a new and laid back atmosphere.
The team who worked at Kamagela invited three of the school teachers to join us, allowing us to get to know them on a more personal level. What a treat! Speaking of treats, the wide variety of cuisine offered each of us everything from fish and chips, to pizza, to a whole rack of ribs (which impressively and much to everyone’s surprise, petite Sarah finished ALL by herself), to every type of steak imaginable. To say that our table was filled with happy campers is definitely an understatement! The rest of the night allowed us to soak up the local vibe and get to know people from around the world. Through the hoppin’ dance floor, riveting conversation, and very competitive pool games, it was an enjoyable evening. Our guide, Steve, even taught us some great dance moves!
On a different note, this morning began a day of sight-seeing and history lessons that no classroom in Nashville could top. The tour began with the film sites of The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency, a course text, which is also an HBO television series based on the novel. The set is located across Gaberone and is comprised of Mma Ramotswe’s office, the barber shop, auto repair shop, Patel’s movie theatre, and SOS, one of Gaberone’s orphanages for children whose lives have been affected by HIV/Aids. In our opinion, the sights accurately portrayed our imagination’s views of the author’s depiction in the book. We have been reading and discussing the novel all week and this was a concrete way to delve into the text on a deeper level. The book truly came to life (pun intended)!
Our last stop (besides the essential refueling of chips and water at the gas station), was the 3 Chief’s Monument, outlining the historical events that led to the independence of Botswana. The tour guide walked the group through various time periods marking crucial milestones in the country’s history. The focal point was the massive statues of the three chiefs from separate tribes, who united to request aid from the Queen of England to protect their common land from Dutch colonization. We learned an ample amount of new information and now have an even greater respect for the people of Botswana and the many hardships woven in the country’s past.
After reflecting on the day’s events, questions began to arise regarding our experience at the SOS orphanage. To further explain, we dropped by in order to see the film sight and ended up staying and playing with many of the kids for about thirty minutes. The kids were extremely open and came running towards us ready to intermingle the moment we arrived. After kicking the “futbol,” jumping on the jungle gym, and holding children galore, our time came to an end. The kids were obviously enjoying themselves and did not want to see us go. After asking us for more gifts and climbing on the bus and wanting to join, we finally peeled ourselves away and resumed the tour.
The trip was a surprise to everyone and while we had a bla