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08/12/2016

Summer 2016 Issue IV - Final Newsletter

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 13932191_10154109095260376_386816785_oSummer 2016 at Orapa Diamond Mine!

DUMELANG (HELLO!)

As we bring the Summer 2016 Program to a close, our students fly back to their various homes in the US or carry on their adventures in different parts of the world, we take a look back at the wonderful semester that was; from the first week in Botswana, to touring the world's number one must visit destination of 2016 (Lonely Planet, 2016) , we recap on the wonderful times we shared together in Gaborone, Botswana. Here's what's in this issue:

Welcome to Botswana!
Lending a Helping Hand
Discovering Botswana!
Goodbye? More Like See You Soon

Welcome to Botswana!

On 30th May, 2016 we welcomed 13 students to our University campus! They flew in from different corners of the US and settled in our little town of Gaborone. Our students were greeted by student volunteers and home stay families alike, they were whisked to various households or dorms, where they would be spending the next 8 weeks!

The first week in Botswana is often quite different from the weeks to follow; it is during this week students are integrated into the local culture. This cross cultural integration is facilitated by the Resident Director, and Program Assistant of the Gaborone Study Center, usually with the help of our wonderful team of volunteers.

The week was filled with relevant lectures and seminars on Health, Safety and Security, Customs,  Community Interactions and how to get involved, Culture Shock Adjustment and a Bystander Intervention that included our student volunteers for a local perspective. The students also had a Survival Setswana lesson  to help them understand general greetings, direction and introductions. Orientation week is usually comprised of heavy content and in order to lighten things up a bit, we expose the students to local culture by way of music, dance, and tswana cuisine!

9Summer 2016 students and volunteers Marimba lesson at Thapong Visual Arts Centre 

14Anna and Michael learning how to play Marimba at Thapong Visual Arts Centre 

31Summer 2016 students, volunteers and staff enjoying a meal at Botswana Craft - Courtyard Restaurant

24Students learning some move during a Significance of Dance in Botswana Culture during orientation week!

Once the students mastered the local sound moves and cuisine, it was time to take on the city! CEE Gaborone often sees it fit to explore the city in small groups in order for each individual to get a grasp of the public transportation system. In order to do this in a fun way, our staff organized an Amazing Race Combi Safari! This activity allowed the students the opportunity to explore the city, just as the locals do. They visited various tourist locations in the city such as the National Museum and the Three Chief Monument, all whilst racing for an ultimate prize! Take a look at some of their experiences:

50Team Red at the Bus Rank during the Amazing Race : Combi Safari !

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Team Red on the Amzing Race Combi Safari at the Three Chiefs Monument

 
Summer 2016 Team Green Amazing Race Combi Safari

 
Summer 2016 Team Red Amazing Race Combi Safari

As orientation week came to an end, we closed the week with a wonderful candle lit dinner at Savutti Grill of Avani Restaurant located in the heart of Gaborone. 

6Summer 2016 Welcome Dinner at Savutti Grill

58Summer 2016 Girls Welcome Dinner at Savutti Grill

Lending a Helping Hand!

Every semester, CIEE Gaborone makes it a point to give back to the community. This Summer, we chose to share our time with the wonderful I AM Special Education Society. I AM Special Education Society is a small community-based education centre for children and youths with learning disabilities. I AM Special Education Society aims to "Empower and provide education services to those who learn differently", and their main objective is to promote a sense of self reliance amongst people with disabilities and to help them integrate into the society.

Iamspecial

I AM Special is one of the few centres in Botswana that is dedicated to children with learning disabilities. Special learning schools like I AM Special, still lack resources, and support from the local community. The centre therefore welcomes visitors to come and meet the children to raise awareness about the challenges people living with disabilities in Botswana may face. They encourage visitors extend their time, get involved and share skills with members of I AM Special Education Society! 

13692145_10154071379100376_681712666_oSummer 2016 at I AM Special Education Society

13692354_10154071378525376_559887811_oSummer 2016 at I AM Special Education Society

As we would only be spending one day at the organization, our aim was to leave a long lasting impact. Prior to our visit, we highlighted key areas that we could focus on in order to assist the organization. We noticed some of the surroundings at the center needed to be refurbished, this included the hallways and signs outside the premises. Our team decided to help by adding new quotes of paint to the walls and created two new signs that could be put on display at the organization.

13709755_1231818540161470_6985131063041005637_n

Our day also comprised of fun and games with the students and staff of I AM Special. Our favorite moments of the day was sharing our time with those who need it the most. We closed our day with a wonderful meal prepared by our team and a few donations to the society to help assist them with their daily running.  

 13711568_1140443379346201_1579000562_oCristina having a go Duck Duck Goose at I AM Special

13694160_1140443589346180_1192624296_oLunch time at I AM Special Volunteer Day 

13833591_1140443626012843_1034530110_oGreat interactions with the Kids of I AM Special

Discovering Botswana!

Our first weekend excursion of the semester took us to Bahurutse Cultural Village! Upon arrival, we were greeted with song and dance by the natives of Bahurutse village. They encouraged us to join in on the fun which eventually settled into a large circle, where we sat and enjoyed a wonderful presentation of traditional dance and storytelling.

Final 2Learning some traditional dances with the locals of Bahurutse

  BahurutseKate learning just how to milk a goat at Bahurutse Cultural Village

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Grandfather and his sons (including Kgosi Michael of CIEE) reading the bones at Bahurutse Cultural Village

We enjoyed our first real taste of what Tswana tradition might be like; they demonstrated different aspects of their way of life such as how to milk animals, pound sorghum and how to build their homes; they also demonstrated how a chief's son would be expected to propose to his spouse, and we were very lucky to get the opportunity to ride a donkey cart to the cattle post where the animals are kept. 

The next day, we were off to Mokolodi Nature Reserve. Here we learnt about conservation of wildlife in Botswana, followed by a game drive throughout a small portion of the park. Although our drive was not packed with animal sighting, we managed to see some hippos, an ostrich, a cheetah and many more! That evening we enjoyed a campfire under the stars till we settled in our tents for the evening.

A2collageOur lodging and transportation at Mokolodi Nature Reserve

Screen Shot 2016-08-04 at 11.16.11 PMGame Drive at Mokolodi Nature Reserve

The following weekend excursion took us to the mining town of Orapa, located 6 hours north of Gaborone. Here, we had the wonderful privilege of touring the world's largest mine by area, the Orapa Mine. Upon arrival, we were greeted by member of the Orapa Mine staff who took us through an informative presentation on the history of the Orapa and sister mines, the contribution they have made to the economy, and also the impact the mines have and continue to have on the nation at large.

13932191_10154109095260376_386816785_oSummer 2016 at the Orapa Diamond Mine

Each person was given protective mine gear which was an essential component for our safety measures before starting the tour. We received a pair of goggles, earplugs, gloves, heavy boots, a shirt, pants and hard hat; we fit right in with our tour guides and were finally ready to enter the mine!

13728469_10154091150475376_1308930922_oSummer 2016 students, volunteers and Program Assistant in protective mine gear!

13833250_10154091150365376_1496298363_oStudent Volunteer Eunice in her protective mine gear

Our guides took us on a specific route which allowed us to view the main components of the mine. We were fortunate enough to understand exactly how the ore is extracted and the tacit process required to extract the precious stones. Once our tour came to an end, we changed back into our regular clothes and enjoyed a well-deserved lunch at Wimpy Restaurant in Orapa.

Our next location took us approximately 200 kilometres south of Orapa, to village known as Serowe. We spent our day at Khama Rhino Sanctuary (KRS) a community based wildlife project, dedicated to rhino preservation. The sanctuary is home to several species of animals and birds. With this in mind, we enjoyed an exhilarating night game drive that evening,  it was just our luck we ran into a group of beloved rhino!

Claire 3Claire, Hailey and Regina were all smiles during the night game drive at KRS

Game drive

 Ariana, Cindy and Kelly having an awesome time during the night game drive at KRS!

Serowe is the birth place of Botswana's founding father and a custodian of Botswana's contemporary history. The next morning, we drove a few kilometres to Khama III Memorial Museum! This was one of our most exciting locations as we learnt about the people of Serowe, the struggles they faced, the controversial interracial relationship of Sir Seretse Khama and Lady Ruth Khama, as well as famous writer Bessie Head who settled in the village of Serowe. The museum experience was extremely informative and gave great perspective as to the leaps and bounds Batswana have made throughout the years!

13639948_10154091148910376_192461600_oLearning about the history of Serowe and its People 

13835993_10154091149655376_1647366760_oLearning about the history of Serowe and its People

Farewell and Best Wishes!

As the semester winds down to a close, our Gaborone Study Center celebrated the end of our chapter with a wonderful farewell dinner at the Phakalane Golf Estate. Our staff, students, and volunteers came dressed to the nines for the spectacular evening!We enjoyed a wonderful dinner along with several games and activities including charades based on personalities and favorite places in Gabs, Karaoke based on a collective of favorite songs turned inside jokes, and lastly a game of "Most Likely To" to test just how well we have come to know each other in the short 8 weeks. The evening quickly turned into wonderful moments reminiscing on the semester that was!

  Final 3Summer 2016 Girls looking lovely at the Farewell Dinner!

Final 4Summer 2016 Girls wearing dresses made from local fabric at the Farewell Dinner

Final 5Resident Director Basetsana Maposa leading a game of charades at the Summer 2016 Farewell Dinner!

Final 6Testing just how well we know each other with a game of "Most Likely To" at the Summer 2016 Farewell Dinner!

As we say goodbye to each student, our heavy hearts still celebrate the friendships fostered! We keep in mind that each person carries a piece of Botswana with them forever and as we hope to see you again on this side of the world sometime soon,  its never goodbye from our study center, its simply good luck and see you later!

Till Next time, Sala Sentle (Stay Well)!

08/08/2016

Summer 2016 Issue III - Diamonds Are Forever

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1111-Carat-diamond_3504489bLesedi La Rona (Our Light): -
largest diamond to be discovered in 100 years  found in Botswana!

Botswana is known for its lucritive diamond industry; the quality of product produced has coined Botswana the "world's leading producer of diamond by value!" Botswana is blessed with one of the richest diamond mines in the world (Jwaneng Mine), and the largest diamond mine by area (Orapa Mine)! With this in mind, we set out on an adventure to the largest diamond, located in the small town of Orapa! We also had the opportunity to learn about the amazing history of Batswana in Serowe, and the First President of Botswana, a diamond himself, Sir Seretse Khama! Here's what's in this issue: 

Orapa and Letlhakane Mine!
Exploring the World's Largest Diamond Mine
Khama Rhino Sanctuary
Discovering Serowe's History

Orapa and Letlhakane Mine!

The Orapa Diamond Mine is the world's largest diamond mine by area! Orapa is located north of Gaborone, in the Boteti Sub District. The mine has been operational since July 1971 and is still proving to be a strong power house. Orapa Mine, along side its sister mines, Letlhakane and Damtshaa Diamond Mine have contributed greatly to Botswana's economy, stability and success! Botswana is the world's largest producer of diamonds and the trade has transformed it into a middle-income nation.
Botswana mapOur summer students and Program Assistant set off on a 6 hour journey from our University Campus to the small town of Orapa. Each person was required to acquire a permit to enter the mining town as there is high securtiy to protect the mining industry.We were prompted to carry our passports so we could be granted access to enter the town at the checkpoint entry. Once we were all through, permits in hand, we drove to a nearby location where we would spend the night and enjoyed a wonderful dinner.

Exploring the World's Largest Mine

We begun the following day bright and early with a short drive to the Mine. Once we arrived, we were greated by member of the Orapa Mine staff who took us through an informative presentation on the history of the Orapa and sister mines, the contribution they have made to the economy, and also the impact and income the mines have brought to the people of Orapa and surrounding areas. We also learnt about safety and security measures that should be maintained whilst in the mine.

Once we had all the information about how the mine came to be, it was time to see the beauty with our own eyes. Each person was given protective mine gear which was an essential component for our safety and security seminar. We received a pair of goggles, earplugs, gloves, heavy boots, a shirt, pants and hard hat; we fit right in with our tour guides and were finally ready to enter the mine!

13639809_10154091150560376_747570169_oRegina, Kelly and Ariana snapping selfies in their protective mine gear!

13728469_10154091150475376_1308930922_oGroup Selfies are always the best selfies - Summer 2016 students, volunteers and Program Assistant in protective mine gear!

13833250_10154091150365376_1496298363_oStudent Volunteer Eunice in her protective mine gear!

Our guides took us on a specific route which allowed us to view the main components of the mine. We were fortunate enough to understand exactly how the ore is extracted and the tacit process required to produce beautiful diamonds ready for sale.

13932191_10154109095260376_386816785_oSummer 2016 at Orapa Diamond Mine

Once our tour came to an end, we changed back into our regular clothes and enjoyed a well-deserved lunch at Wimpy Restaurant in Orapa. We then head south to our next location. 

Khama Rhino Sanctuary

After lunch,we headed approximately 200 kilometres south to Serowe, one of the largest villages in Botswana, specicifally to a place known as Khama Rhino Sanctuary. The Khama Rhino Sanctuary (KRS) is a community based wildlife project, established in 1992 to assist in saving the vanishing rhinoceros, restore an area formerly teeming with wildlife to its previous natural state and provide economic benefits to the local Botswana community through tourism and the sustainable use of natural resources.

Krs

Once we arrived, the students, volunteers and Program Assistant settled into their chalets and had a relaxing afternoon. That evening, we all enjoyed a wonderful dinner that left us all calling for seconds. Dinner was followed by an exhilerating night game drive through the sanctuary, which is home to the largest population of Rhino's in Botswana, as well as other wildlife and exotic birds. 

Game drive

Ariana, Cindy and Kelly were all smiles during the evening game drive GameSome game spotted during the evening game drive at Khama Rhino Sanctuary

Claire 3Claire and Hailey enjoying the evening game drive at Khama Rhino Sanctuary  

Discovering Serowe's History

The Village of Serowe is a custodian of Botswana's contemporary history. Serowe is the birth place of Botswana's founding father, and first President, a true Diamond, Sir Seretse Khama. The village is home to the royal cemetry, and Khama III Memorial Museum which was our next stop. 

The next morning, we drove a few kilometers to Khama III Memorial Museum. We were greeted by a friendly guide who took us through a tour of the musuem and the history of Serowe and Sir Seretse Khama. We begun with the origins of the village, its natives, to the controversial relationship Sir Seretse Khama and Lady Ruth Khama, the history of the famous writer Bessie Head who settled in the Serowe village, and finally to the people and Botswana today!

 

13646842_10154091150100376_446212937_oGraduation Speech by the Chancellor of the University of Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland - Sir Seretse Khama

13639948_10154091148910376_192461600_oLearning about the history of Serowe and its People

13835993_10154091149655376_1647366760_oLearning about the history of Serowe and its People 

13843552_10154091149515376_2134048030_oLearning about the history of Serowe and its People 

13843552_10154091149515376_2134048030_oLearning about the history of Serowe and its People

The history of Serowe is a major link that has helped shape Botswana's rising success as a nation. Khama III Memorial Museum serves as a pivotal learning hub for Batswana and visitors alike. It is important to ensure that tradition and history is kept carefully, and shared with younger generations and those who are curious to learn; as in the famous words President Seretse Khama "  A nation without a past, is a lost nation, and a people without a past, is a people without a soul." 

All in all, the weekend was a success, from the exhilarating mine tour, to the wildlife and adventure at Khama Rhino Sanctuary, to the wonderful lessons and history at Khama III Memorial Museum, its safe to say we had a blast!

Till Next Time, Sala Sentle ( Stay Well).

08/03/2016

Summer 2016 Issue II - I AM Special Education Society Volunteer Day

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13711600_10154071378835376_1064270262_oSummer 2016 - I AM Special Education Society

DUMELANG (HELLO!)

At CIEE Gaborone, we make it a point each semester to give back and lend a much needed helping hand to members of our community. This Summer,  we decided to chose a group we had never worked with, the amazing: I AM Special Education Society! Here's whats in this issue: 

I AM Special!
I AM A Helping Hand
I AM Human
I AM Involved

I AM Special

I AM Special Education Society is a small community-based education centre for children and youths with learning disabilities. I AM Special Education Society aims to "Empower and provide education services to those who learn differently", and their main objective is to promote a sense of self reliance amongst people with disabilities and to help them integrate into the society.

IamspecialI AM Special Education Society is situated in Tlokweng, just behind Tlokweng Main Kgotla. They enroll several students with different disabilities such as Down syndrome, Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Epilepsy, spina bifida and other developmental delays. The students are taught basic academics (literacy & numeracy), pre-vocational studies & self-help skills, PE, Computer awareness and they all undergo Auditory Integration Training.

I AM Special is one of the few centres in Botswana that is dedicated to children with learning disabilities. Special learning schools like I AM Special, still lack resources, and support from the local community. The centre therefore welcomes visitors to come and meet the children to raise awareness about the challenges people living with disabilities in Botswana may face. They encourage visitors extend their time, get involved and share skills with members of I AM Special Education Centre! 

 t13692145_10154071379100376_681712666_oCIEE Gaborone and I AM Special Team 

13692354_10154071378525376_559887811_oCIEE Gaborone at I AM Special Volunteer Day!

I AM A Helping Hand

Our day started bright and early! Even though our time was limited, our mission was to ensure we left a long lasting impact on the organization. We decided to focus on a few things that we could help change in one day. Prior to our visit, we had a put a comity together to help identify key areas where we could focus. We noted a few of the surroundings needed to be refurbished, the sign into the centre was abit old and the students at the education center really enjoy interacting with visitors. 

With these in mind, a group of our best got together to draw, outline and paint two new signs, which could be placed outside the Education Centre for all to see. Our students and volunteers worked hard and tirelessly to produce a wonderful end product. A special thank you to our very own, Regina Brecker for the insurmountable effort she put to pull this together. 

13694181_10154071378550376_1418768525_o

13718039_10154071379355376_171003126_oOur students and volunteers working hard on the new signs

13720493_10154071379380376_3056948_o

  13844094_10208439517557889_409280531_o

13709755_1231818540161470_6985131063041005637_nThe Finished Product !

As I AM Special Education Society caters to children of all ages dailey, we thought to brighten up the surroundings by giving the hall ways fresh coats of paint. We as a team added hand prints and beautiful designs to create a warm, welcoming environment. 

13694248_10154071379395376_1184055219_oKeyandra ready to make her mark! 

13730600_10154071379220376_1990319879_oOur student volunteers did a wonderful job in the hallways 

13836025_1140443566012849_1319709838_oOur Students Anna, Keyandra, Cristina and many more took time to paint the hallways of I AM Special 

I AM Human

Our most exciting moment of the day came when we had the opportunity to meet and interact with the children of I AM Special. Once they arrived, everyone was eager to get them fired up with a number of games. Our most enjoyable game happened to be an interesting take on Duck Duck Goose. Our students and volunteers clearly needed more practice as the kids from I AM Special showed us just how its done!

13717930_1140443516012854_1064323047_oMichael having a go at Duck Duck Goose at I AM Special 

13711568_1140443379346201_1579000562_oCristina having a go Duck Duck Goose at I AM Special 

As some of our students enjoyed games with the children and staff of I AM Special, a few members of our Team prepared a quick meal for everyone to share. After the fun and games, we settled down and enjoyed lovely treats; They prepared hotdogs, fruit, muffins, snacks and juice for the children, which made for a wonderful time to chat and get to know them on a more personal basis.  

13694160_1140443589346180_1192624296_oLunch time at I AM Special Volunteer Day 

13728232_1140443662679506_1387708689_oBeautiful Smiles 

13833591_1140443626012843_1034530110_oGreat interactions with the Kids of I AM Special

 

I AM Involved

 As our day came to an end, we donated a few necessities to the centre to help them ease up their daily tasks and wrote them a sincere Thank You card. Our efforts were small, and insurmoutable to the efforts the staff and team of I AM Special Education Society dedicate on a daily basis. We hope our visit there may inspire and urge more members of the community to get involved and experience the wonderful individuals we got the privilege to meet. To those who would like to get involved, spend some time or would be in a position to make any form of donation to I AM Special Education Society, please telephone +267-3910214/71517761 or visit them at  I AM Special Education Centre, Mangwana Centre, Tlokweng, Botswana. Postnet Tlokweng P/Bag T010 #66 Tlokweng. 

Till next time, Sala Sentle ( Stay Well). 

13702514_10154071378925376_1632138947_o

07/21/2016

Trip Planning!


Headshot

























Post by Rachel Stahl from the University of Colorado at Boulder

Coming to Botswana, I was unsure how much travel time I was going to have available, as well as if there would be anyone to travel with. Fortunately, everyone is determined to see as much of this area as they can, so do NOT be worried about having no one to travel with. Unfortunately, since the summer session is packed with a full class schedule and CIEE-sponsored trips/events, traveling has to be squeezed into a couple free weekends.

    My advice:

Take advantage of any open weekend (especially the longer weekends due to holidays)! You have already paid for the expensive plane ticket here, so these little trips will never be this cheap again. There are numerous different trips to take depending on time and money constraints. This summer, groups have planned trips to the Delta, Namibia, Cape Town, and the elephant sanctuary in South Africa. I personally just visited Namibia for a three-day weekend, and I will be flying to Cape Town for a four-day weekend.

    Lodging:

My group decided to go with staying in an Airbnb in both Namibia and Cape Town, and we were able to find great houses for very cheap when split among a group. Another cost effective option is camping, just make sure you have the right supplies like sleeping bags, tents, etc. Also take a look in the book in the CIEE office to see where people stayed on their trips—it is a great resource!

AirbnbOur Airbnb in Langstrand, Namibia--Just a quick drive outside of Swakopmund

    Transportation:

As soon as you begin planning trips, look at flight prices! The drive to Swakopmund, Namibia took ~18.5 hours each way, so this drastically cut into the amount of time we could spend around the city. Some of the drives are much shorter, and these can be arranged with taxi drivers associated with CIEE.

    Activities:

I always use Trip Advisor as a first resource to research the top activities and attractions within an area. I also use Instagram by searching for pictures by location. This can give you great ideas for picture spots and must-see views! Create a list for what to do each day, and make sure to check what days/times things are open so you can plan around it. If you are booking activities, begin the process far in advance, as communication can be difficult through email.

IMG_1497Quad biking on the dunes in Swakopmund, Namibia

    Food:

My favorite part of any trip!!! My go-to resource is Yelp; it has yet to lead me wrong. In some smaller cities/towns, there are few postings on Yelp, so I would recommend using a guidebook like The Lonely Planet. Again, I also like to use Instagram for researching food. I usually just search something like “Cape Town Food,” and then various accounts and hash tags will show up.

IMG_1364Dinner at a restaurant called Tug in Swakopmud, Namibia

    Other Advice:

Do the majority of your trip planning before you leave when you have stable Wi-Fi. This includes writing down the address to where you are staying, any phone numbers you may need, and names of restaurants. You do not want to get stuck without Wi-Fi and have no information. Also, if you are traveling to a different country, turn on roaming on the trap phones (bought during the first week of the program) before you leave Botswana.

Wishing you safe and happy travels!!

06/23/2016

Summer 2016 Issue I - Orientation Week!

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O3Summer 2016 - Kgale Hill, Gaborone

DUMELANG (HELLO!)

As the University of Botswana semester comes to an end, CIEE Gaborone study center received 13 students to their campus to begin their Summer Semester. Our first week together was an exciting one as we got to make new friends, share our culture and traditions with our new friends. Here's what's in this issue:

Dumela from Botswana!
The Knows of Gabs
Local is Way More Fun
Welcome Time

Dumela from Botswana!

On 30th May 2016 we welcomed 12 girls and 1 boy to our University campus! They flew in from all comers of the US and settled in our little town of Gaborone. Our home stay students were greeted at the Sir Seretse Khama International Airport by their host families and whisked away to their new homes. Similarly, the 6 dorm students were met by our delightful volunteers who helped them settle into their dorms after the long flights to Botswana. The dorm students spent their first night relaxing and enjoyed a wholesome dinner with the Resident Director at a nearby restaurant, whilst the home stay students spent their first night with their new families. It was on that note, Orientation Week was officially off to a good start!

The Knows of Gabs

The second day  of orientation was the real start to the week. Our Resident Director led a workshop on how to manage living in a home stay. She elaborated on cultural norms and gender roles that are often displayed in the typical Tswana household, and expectations whilst in the home stay. Following, the dorm students joined the home stay students where they received a welcome message and introductions.


O2

University of Botswana Campus Tour

The week was filled with other relevant lectures and seminars on Health, Safety and Security, Customs,  Community Interactions and how to get involved, Culture Shock Adjustment and a Bystander Intervention that included our student volunteers for a local perspective. The students also had a Setswana lesson led  by Phono Magosi to help them understand general greetings, direction and introductions. 

Local Is Way More Fun

Despite the heavy content Orientation Week is most times comprised of, the Gaborone Program ensures that they also enjoy the exciting aspects of being in Botswana. As is commonly known, dance and music  contribute greatly to culture and tradition throughout the African diaspora; the students enjoyed a Traditional Music lesson at Thapong Visual Arts Centre.

9Summer 2016 students and volunteers Marimba lesson at Thapong Visual Arts Centre

11 Summer 2016 students and volunteers Marimba lesson at Thapong Visual Arts Centre

14 Anna and Michael learning how to play Marimba at Thapong Visual Arts Centre

18

46 Keyandra and Eunice having a great time playing Marimba at Thapong Visual Arts Centre

 Additionally, the students had the chance to enjoy cuisine native to Botswana throughout this week. We enjoyed a wholesome relaxed lunch at Botswana Craft Courtyard Restaurant that is specific to traditional cuisine.

29 Botswana Craft - Courtyard Restaurant

43

31Summer 2016 students, volunteers and staff enjoying a meal at Botswana Craft - Courtyard Restaurant

32 Lunch is Served! Seswa, Bogobe Jwa Lerotse, Rice, Oxtail, Grilled Veggies.

Our week also comprised of  a workshop demonstrating the Significance of Dance in Botswana Culture and Dance in Botswana, as well as a importance of music and dance to Botswana's Culture! 

24

24Significance of Dance in Botswana Culture and Dance in Botswana

After learning music and tasting traditional Tswana Cuisine, it was time to explore the city just as the locals do. The students had the opportunity to explore the city in small groups led by our amazing student volunteers. They each rode public transport and got see the various tourist locations in the city with locals and did all this whilst racing for the ultimate prize of the Amazing Race Combi Safari Summer 2016 winner! They met members of staff at various standpoints, collected clues and took intersting photo as they trecked along, take a look at their experiences: 

50Team Red at the Bus Rank during the Amazing Race : Combi Safari !

54

51Team Red on the Amazing Race : Combi Safari at the Three Chief Monument

44Team Green aka Team HACKEE at the Gaborone Bus Station on their Amazing Race : Combi Safari

53Amazing Race : Combi Safari

Dinner Time

As orientation week came to an end, we closed the week with a wonderful candle lit dinner at Savutti Grill of Avani Restaurant located in the heart of Gaborone. The menu was delightful, it comprised of Indian dishes, stirfrys, a huge selection of meats, deserts and many more. It was exciting to see the students, volunteers and staff in a relaxed setting, where could share stories of their first week in Botswana, their home stays, and most importantly wind down from the stressful week that was. 

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6Summer 2016 Welcome Dinner at Savutti Grill

58Summer 2016 ladies and student volunteer Eunice looked gorgeous at our welcome dinner

 With Orientation Week behind us, we look forward to the exciting semester ahead, till next time Sala Sentle (Stay Well)!

Spring 2016 Issue IV : Final Newsletter

Image1  S7Spring '16 - Son of the Soil Festival

DUMELANG (HELLO!)

We've come to the end of our Spring semester and its pretty insane how quickly the last five months have flown by. It wasn't too long ago we were at the airport anticipating arrivals, now we are get ready to say goodbye to dear friends. Despite the fast approaching fairwells, it is impossible to close this chapter without reminiscing on the wonderful times had with our Spring 2016 program. Here's a recap of the semester:

Welcome to Gabs
Exploring Botswana
Its More Than Just Giving Back
Its Never Goodbye, Just See You Later

Welcome to Gabs!

Our Spring Program consisted of 14 vibrant students from numerous universities throughout America. They arrived at Sir Seretse Khama International Airport in Gaborone and were greeted by our lovely volunteers and home stay families. The first night in our small city of Gabs was quite and allowed everyone to recoup from the long trips they just endured. 

The next morning was the beginning of our Orientation Week. Orientation is the most important period of our semester, not only do the students engage personally with the Resident Director and Program Assistant, they enjoy first hand information about the country, the city and culture and University. The essence of  Orientation is to ensure adequate cross-cultural integration for our new guests, which includes lifestyles, traditions, language, safety, food and music. The students are also have an opportunity to view the city, they took part in an Amazing Race : Combi Safari led by our student volunteers; this is an activity whereby the students use public transport throughout the city of Gaborone in small groups, whilst taking picture and enjoy the beauty of Gaborone just as the locals do. 

S1Traditional music lesson at Thapong Visual Arts Center

S7Exploring UB Campus

S8Green Team aka "The Winning Team" walking past Parliament during the Amazing Race : Combi Safari

S9Combi Selfies  

After a long week of Orientation, CIEE Gaborone staff, volunteers and students enjoyed a relaxing welcome dinner at Avani Hotel's Savuti Grill. This was an evening filled with many smiles, laughter and good food. A perfect end to the week and beginning of the semester. 

S2Genevieve, Tania Phiri, Madison and Abbie at the welcome dinner!

S6Eliza, Rati (Student Volunteer), Rachel and Lera (Student Volunteer) at the Spring '16 Welcome Dinner 

S10Resident Director's daughter Pelo stealing hearts at the Welcome Dinner!

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All together now, Spring '16 group photo at the Welcome Dinner !

Exploring Botswana! 

Botswana is more than the hustle and bustle of Gabs city life! In addition to taking classes and regular college life, CIEE Gaborone has several planned excursions to get the students out of the comfortable city bubble. In addition to the Community Public Health site visits to clinics in and around greater Gabs, the students spend a week long home stay visit to a neighboring village, Kanye. This is an important part of the program as students are fully and truly immersed in Batswana culture by staying with a local family. 

The first excursion was to the Bahurutse Cultural Village. The weekend was filled with native dances around the fire, food made in true Tswana fashion and camping under the stars. The students got take part in a hike that led them to a wonderful gorge and fun-filled times. 

S3Traditional Dance at Bahurutse Cultural Village 

S5All Smiles at Bahurutse Cultural Village

S9Maddy enjoying the sun and trees during the hike!

The students also took a trip to a nearby private nature reserve, Mokolodi Nature Reserve, which provides game drives and rhino tracking in order to sustain its conservation efforts. The students enjoyed a relaxing and educative game drive and a scrumptious lunch!

S10Student Volunteers Rati and Entle at Mokolodi Nature Reserve with the Spring '16 group

S11Lunch is Served : Mokolodi Nature Reserve

Our Spring program was a lucky bunch as they came just in time for the 10 year anniversary of the Son of the Soil Festival. This festival celebrates Tswana culture and cuisine and achievements over the past 50 years. The students and staff, decked out in traditional attire, as they attended the event to celebrate Botswana, its people, and everlasting tradition!

S4Spring 2016 in their traditional outfits at Son of the Soil Festival

S13Jake enjoying some traditional tswana drinks in a stylish traditional cup!

S16Spring 2016 ladies having fun under the sun !

S14An explosive plate filled with delicacies : mopane worms, seswa, tswana chicken, beans and many more! Yum.

The students traveled further up north of Botswana to the Orapa Diamond Mine to view the countries most lucrative asset. They also took a trip to Serowe, a large village that houses the famous Khama III Memorial Museum and Khama Rhino Sanctuary to view the countries thriving rhino population. 

The end of semester trip is honestly one of the most amazing experiences for our students and staff. The 5 days are spent up north in Kasane, and one day at Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe. The trip also included two nights in the Chobe Nature Reserve, which allows for a true view of nature at its best. The numerous game drives allowed everyone to view a plethora of animals, and we were lucky to see the entire big 5, not to mention a group of lions on a hunt! The experience was breathtaking and something to eternally cherish. 

S20Rachel and Deanna enjoying the boat cruise in Kasane!

S21Spring '16 enjoying a game drive in Chobe Nature Reserve  - check out the lions in the photo!

S22Spring 2016 students following a pride of lions on a hunt in Chobe Nature Reserve

Its More Than Just Giving Back

As much as the semester is jam packed with lessons, clinics, internships and excursions, CIEE Gaborone makes it a point to take time to give back to those less fortunate in our community. The students, with a little help from the program staff, organized a student led initiative or volunteer day, to assist a local community based organisation of their choice.

This semester, they chose Batlang Support Group; Batlang was founded in 2003 in response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic that was affecting the residents of Mogoditshane, a village on the outskirts of Gaborone. Batlang’s mission is to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS by educating their community in Mogoditshane about abstinence and proper use of protection. In addition to spreading awareness about the disease, Batlang Support Group serves as a daycare center for orphaned and vulnerable children. They have kids that range in age from 0 to 6.

Our students felt the best way to assist the organization was to revamp the premises, this included class rooms, and the playground! They did a spectacular job and ended the day with food and fun games with the kids and staff!

S34Spring 2016 Volunteer Day at Batlang Support Group

S32Two of our favorite painter, Jake and Justice 

S35Our cleaning crew doing an amazing job getting things together!

 

Its Never Goodbye, Just See You Later!

As we bring the semester to a close, wrapping up classes and moving out of home stays and dorms often brings a dark cloud over the good times we have had during the last couple of months. In order to keep the spirits up, we had a home stay farewell braii and a Great Gatsby themed Farewell Dinner. These turned out to be the most meaningful times we spent together as we not only had a good time with one another, but we were able to reminisce about the times that were, good, bad and those that grew us.

C2Rachel Mow looking super cute at our Great Gatsby themed Farewell Dinner!

C3Esther, Jake, Pelo, Deanna, Entle and Brenda at our great Gatsby themed Fairwell Dinner!

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C5 Our ladies looked stunning at our Great Gatsby themed Farewell Dinner

As each student flies back to their respective home towns and universities, we here at CIEE Gaborone keep our doors constantly open to each and every individual; that being said, its never goodbye, just see you later. We hope to see you all back in Botswana in the near future. Till next time, Sala Sentle (Stay Well)!

04/27/2016

Keeping Cool and Keeping Your Cool in Botswana

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Post by Nina Walsh from Clark University 

Botswana is currently facing a serious drought, in addition to it being one of the warmest years. The sun is much stronger here than back in the United States, so it may take some time to adjust to this new climate. Additionally, experiencing certain stages of culture shock may have you feeling frustrated and uncomfortable. Here are a few tips to help you stay cool and keep your cool in Botswana.

Some Tips for Keeping Cool:

1. Purchase a fan.

As part of the CIEE orientation, you will get the chance to go shopping for necessities. Do yourself a solid, purchase a fan.

Nina 2Isnt she a beauty??

2. Go to UB’s swimming pool.

This beautiful facility is open from 2pm-7pm every day. It is the perfect way to cool off after class! As an added bonus, the locker room showers have great water pressure. *The majority of females wear one-piece bathing suits. So if you have one, bring it with you!

Nina 3Always look and feel your best by wearing your super flattering swim cap!
(But seriously, it’s required to swim in the pool)

3. Not a fan of chlorine??

Take a cold shower in the middle of the day. It will be your saving grace.

4. Do your homework in the air-conditioned buildings.

There are several of them on campus, including the International office (located in the Student Center) and the CIEE office (located in Block 247).

5. Freeze your water bottle at night.

If you are planning on living in the dorms, it is definitely a worthwhile investment to rent a fridge for the semester. Put your water bottle and a wet washcloth in the small freezer compartment and wake up to some cold water and a makeshift cold compress.

6. Wear light, breathable clothing.

This probably goes without saying, but be sure to leave your black, pleather bodysuit at  home

Some Tips for Keeping Your Cool:

1. Be friendly and open to meeting new people.

You will most likely be approached by a lot of people during your stay in Botswana. At times,   it may be overwhelming, but try your best to always     remain friendly. People are just curious.

 - Making local friends is a great way to get acquainted with the culture.
 - If people are really bothering you, just politely excuse yourself and walk away.
 *Helpful tip: Pay attention and remember people’s names. Chances are that you will  probably see them again when you least expect it.

2. Try something new.

Mix up your typical routine; walk a different route to class, start exercising (or change up your exercise routine) or join a sports team, go out to dinner, and/or talk to new people. Changing up your routine will offer a new perspective and it will allow you to take your mind off of whatever is     bothering you.

Nina 4Mix it up and start working out with your local friends!

3. Confide in your friends.

4. Remind yourself why you chose this program.

Whether the reason is social, academic, spiritual, personal, cultural, etc., there is something about this program that attracted you. This personal  reflection can be very rejuvenating throughout the semester.

5. Most importantly, LET IT GO.

Do not waste your energy dwelling on the negative. Things will happen that will be out of your control. You are in a new place to gain knowledge and understanding; do not let your negativity hinder this experience.
 - If you are feeling extra adventurous, I invite you to find humor in these moments of frustration/confusion/anger. Have a good, deep belly laugh and move on!

Living and learning in Botswana is an incredible experience. Take advantage of the limited time you have in this amazing country. There is so much to explore; don’t let the heat and/or culture shock hold you back!

 

04/14/2016

Spring 2016 Issue III - A Trip Up North : Orapa-Serowe Excursion

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DUMELANG (HELLO!)

This past weekend, CIEE staff and students enjoyed a wonderful weekend excursion to northern Botswana. They drove 6 hours north to Orapa (Botswana’s oldest and most successful mining town) and Serowe (Botswana’s largest village). All in all, it turned out to be an educative and enjoyable couple of days. Here’s what’s in this issue:-

Diamonds Are Forever!
Don't Move, There's A Rhino
Discovering Serowe's History

Diamonds Are Forever!

Diamonds

Our first stop was to Orapa - Botswanan’s mining capital. We departed from the University of Botswana at approximately 11 am, and enjoyed a 2hour drive north, to the small town of Mahalapye. We stopped to grab lunch for the day and snacks and treats for the remainder of the journey. With four more hours on the road, many played games and engaged in conversation till we finally arrived at our destination!

Debswana 2
Orapa is an extremely secure town. It produces an immense quantity of diamonds per annum (11 million carrats to be exact!) and as a result, it is the only town in the country that has 24 hour surveillance. Orapa was created as a result of diamonds being discovered in the area, the processing plant at Orapa processes the Ore minded at Orapa and two other mines namely Letlhakane and Dampthsaa Diamond Mines (that’s a lot of Diamond).

In order to enter the town, each individual must apply for a visitor’s permit prior to arrival (Program Assistant Tania Phiri did an awesome job ensuring we were all set), the permit is issued to at the entrance check-point. Each student and staff member was required to bring relevant identification before they could receive their permit. It was made very clear to us that if the permit for any reason was misplaced, we would not be able to EXIT the town!

The next morning, we woke bright an early for to begin the Mine tour. Before we entered the mine, we sat through an educative presentation about the discovery of diamonds in Botswana, the origins of the mine, its benefits to the people of Botswana and the economy, and safety and security measures that must be maintained whilst in the mine. As a precautionary measure, we were provided with protective mine gear which included mining overalls, a hard hat, protective goggles, and gloves! It was pretty exciting to dress like a miner for the day. Finally, We were ready to enter the mine!


Orapa 2Akira and Maddie before the mine tour in their protective gear!

Don't Move, There's a Rhino

Once we were done with the mine tour, we had a late lunch at Wimpy and where off to our new destination. Serowe Village is a two hour drive from Orapa, where we would be spending the night at Khama Rhino Sanctuary.

The Khama Rhino Sanctuary (KRS) is a community based wildlife project, established in 1992 to assist in saving the vanishing rhinoceros, restore an area formerly teeming with wildlife to its previous natural state and provide economic benefits to the local Botswana community through tourism and the sustainable use of natural resources. The sanctuary provides a prime habitat for white and black rhino as well as over 30 other animal species and more than 230 species of birds.

We arrived at 6pm and were allocated dormitories for the night. We had a wholesome dinner before departing on what turned out to be a remarkable night game drive.


12999675_10207699783905010_1079423755_oEliza, Maddie and Nina enjoying the night game drive at Khama Rhino Sanctuary!


We were lucky enough to spot several animals which included the glorious rhinoceros (they are massive when seen close up), impala, zebra, wildebeest, Jackals and many many more!

Orapa 1

A large Rhino we spotted on our game drive!

13000380_10207699783424998_920113659_oA group of Zebra seen grazing at Khama Rhino Sanctuary!

13010152_10207699783585002_1797967074_oAn impala we spotted during the night game drive!

This was indeed fulfilling as Khama Rhino Sanctuary is one of the only places you are guaranteed to see rhinos in Botswana. Despite the cold weather, we had a wonderful experience and the beautiful stars added to the picturesque escapade.

 

Discovering Serowe's History!

The next morning took us to a monumental location in Serowe, the Khama III Memorial Museum. The museum is one of the most sought out cultural attractions in the village and is loceated in the northwest region of the village, not too far from Thataganyane Hill. The museum was opened with the aim of promoting cultural awareness and pride among the people of Serowe. It was opened on 19th October 1985, and still serves as an educative center to many about the village of Serowe, its history and people. 

DSC_0086Khama III Memorial Museum 

Upon arrival at the museum, we were greeted by our friendly guide, KB. He did an excellent job reiterating the history of Serowe. He showed us distinct moments in the history of Serowe, the Khama family (which happens to be one of the most important dynasties in Southern Africa). The museum houses some personal artifacts of  Chief Khama III, his family and other significant memorabilia to the village of Serowe. The museum is extremely thorough with the information it holds, it has been used for research by many and was the cornerstone for information for the soon to be released blockbuster move : A United Kingdom!

DSC_0089

DSC_0088KB explaining the history of Serowe to CIEE staff and Students

DSC_0095CIEE staff and students exploring the Musuem

Musuem
Wonderful Display of Serowe's History at the Khama III Memorial Museum!

The museum is also home to famous writer and internationally acclaimed writer Bessi Head exhibit. The museum showcases a replica of Bessi Head's bedroom/office where she wrote some of her most famous stories and books. The images on the wall showcase her life and times spent in Serowe. The walls are decked out with some of her international awards and some of her important writings. 

After we explored the museum we were taken on a tour of the Thataganyane Hill, which ended with us at the the royal cemetery where Khama III and some of his descendants have been laid to rest. Overall the trip was packed with wonderful sights and was a great highlight of a couple of Botswana's hidden gems. Till next time Sala Sentle (Stay Well).

DSC_0109Student Volunteer Entle and Deanna outside Khama III Memorial Museum

03/29/2016

A Mid-Semester Break Spent Exploring Southern Africa

 

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Post by Rachel Mow from Harvey Mudd College

At the halfway point in the semester we are given a week off of school, which means a week free to travel. A group of us decided this was an excellent time to experience as much of Southern Africa as possible in a nine day period. We hired our favorite cab driver, Bethel, to drive us in his minivan to our locations of choice. The first stop was Swakopmond, which is an adorable beach town in Namibia. The town had a beautiful path leading several miles along the beach, restaurants and cafes with real coffee, and tons of shops perfect for buying gifts and souvenirs. Swakopmond is also famous for its sand dunes, which are a quick drive from the town center. We decided the best way to experience the dunes was to ride ATVs and sand board. It turns out that sandboarding involves laying on a thin sheet of plywood and being shoved face first down an incredibly steep sand dune.

Rachel 2Riding ATVs through the Sand Dunes of Namibia

After experiencing Swakopmond, we continued the trek along the Caprivi Strip and into Zambia to see Victoria Falls. The campsite we stayed at on the Caprivi Strip was on the mouth of the Okovango River. A family of four hippos resided just across the river from our campsite and we could hear them roaring all night. The campsite also had a cage in the river so that we could swim without getting eaten by hippos and crocodiles!

After a series of misadventures, including a long border crossing, getting lost, and a flat tire, we arrived in Livingstone, Zambia. After spending a night in the Jolly Boys Backpackers Hostel, we ventured out to Angel’s Pool at Victoria Falls. The typical toursist destination is Devil’s Pool, but it was closed because the falls had too much water. Angel’s Pool is similar to Devil’s Pool, just rather than swimming out to it we only had to hold hands and wade through the river. Following our guide, we went swimming a few short meters from the edge of the falls. I would highly recommend this activity to anyone visiting the Falls, although it may not always be open. If there had been much more water it would be very easy to get swept right off the edge.

Rachel 3A View of Victoria Falls from the Park

Some of the other CIEE students I was travelling with also bungee jumped off the bridge over the river separating Zambia and Zimbabwe. Just from watching them, I would not recommend if you are afraid of heights. We also went to the Victoria Falls Park, where you can walk along a path right next to the Falls. We were warned to bring rain coats, but buying an actual poncho would have been more effective. I expected a gentle mist from the falls, but they are so large that the “mist” is actually a torrential downpour. At times it felt as if we were standing underneath the falls, even though we were several hundred feet away. However, when the mist cleared the view was astounding. Victoria Falls is even more incredible than I could have ever imagined.

Rachel 4We met up with some of the UB international students at Victoria Falls and got mildly soaked exploring Victoria Falls

On our way back to Gaborone, we spent a couple nights in Maun to experience the Okavango Delta. One afternoon we did a horseback safari through the delta, which felt like a great way to see and experience it. The horses trekked through long grass, crossed the delta several times, and went through a nice wooded path. As a beginner horse rider, I almost got thrown from the horse. But we all survived our various adventures, only losing two car tires on the way. By far the best mid-semester break I have ever had!

Sala sentle!

                       

03/23/2016

A Weekend in Kanye

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Post by Genevieve Brandt from Pacific Lutheran University 

Last weekend we went to the village of Kanye, only 100 km away, to do a homestay. We arrived on Friday afternoon and got to meet our host families. After eating lunch as a group, we headed off to our homes to spend time getting to know our families. I stayed with a lady named Pelonumi, or Nunu for short. She had a beautiful house on a hill in the village, and made me feel at home right away.

Gen 4Nunu’s home, where I stayed for the weekend

Nunu showed me around her house, and I found out that she had running water available. This was surprising to find out, because most of the houses in Kanye did not. The water shortage in Botswana and the hills in Kanye make the water situation unreliable. Many villagers must walk outside of their house to fill up buckets, or have saved water inside from the few times when the water comes on. The unreliable water situation makes the cold showers at UB feel like a luxury.

Gen 2The view of Kanye from the top of the hill behind my house.

I quickly felt the slow pace of village life when shortly after arriving, Nunu informed me that it was now time for a rest, and she would be waking up in a few hours. After my week of staying up late working on essays, I was relieved to hear this and took a nice nap. When we woke up, she gave me a walking tour of the village as we went to the supermarket to get groceries for dinner. I appreciated the beauty of Kanye because Gaborone is much less green. They also had hills in Kanye, which was exciting to see after flat Gaborone.

Gen 2The refreshing scenery of Kanye was very different from Gaborone, with hills and green on the side of roads.

On Saturday, the entire CIEE group went to Motse Lodge in order to learn about traditional village life. We got to experience making clay pots, building a wall, and making phaphata, which is traditional bread. After doing these activities, we went on a short hike to the dam nearby. It was a new concept to see water in Botswana, even though I know that this dam is at much lower levels than needed. After returning, we learned how to milk goats. They were really not into the process, but one of the goats let us try. It was a fun day at Motse learning more about life in villages, especially ones that are not as large and developed as Kanye.

Gen 3A donkey drinking water from the dam near Motse Lodge. The donkey had been working hard pulling the cart of people to the dam

Sunday was my last day in Kanye, and I spent it with Nunu at her house. We have a Setswana midterm coming up this week, and Nunu was able to help me with my studying. We also went on a walk to visit the Kgotla, which is the traditional court. Villagers visit the Kgotla to see the chief and discuss matters that involve the city. I was happy that Nunu was able to show me around her village. It was a relaxing weekend away from the city, and I hope to visit Nunu again soon.

Gen5Me and my host mother, Nunu.



 

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