Post by Nora Camstra from Southern Methodist University
After finally settling in and having a solid routine at school, things have gotten more exciting! This past weekend we went to Bahurutshe Village as a whole CIEE group. We got to hike around the Gorge, seeing some of the most beautiful views around.
After a long day of hiking, we finally went to our campsite and that’s when it got really interesting. We got to witness some locals performing their traditional dances and songs. It was amazing to see this part of Botswana culture with the typical attire and instruments. I confess, I tried to play the drum they had and it didn’t quite sound as good. It was a great little getaway for us, telling stories around the fire and sleeping under the amazing star-lit sky.
This week my friend Alex and I also finally started our internships at the Mokolodi Nature Reserve. Working there with animals and the nature conservation group has been out of this world. Our bosses really treat us like two of their own and want us to learn and be a part of as much as we can. Even on the first day, my first task was to go into the hyena enclosure and feed them. We were feet away from them! We have fed the hippos, rhinos, impala, khudu, and warthogs. The best part is that we get to play with a month-old baby baboon! He climbs all over us and we get to feed him after work. But don’t think its all fun and games! We do a lot of manual labor as well—pick-axing and shoveling trenches. I love being able to come out a few times a week and really indulge myself in the nature Botswana has to offer.
Another great thing about this past week is that I have made new friendships and strengthened old ones. I love meeting locals, and have become good friends with a select few. Our CIEE group has also gotten stronger and closer as well. I went shopping the other day with a couple of friends. We came out from the grocery store with a full grill, meats, burgers, buns, veggies, seasonings—anything you can think of for a Bar-B-Que! We heated up the coals, marinated steaks, chicken, sausage, kabobs and corn, and invited all the CIEE kids and our friends from school. We talked, cooked, ate, relaxed and had one of the best nights I’ve had here so far.
All of this has taught me that the experience we have here in Gaborone is up to us. We make the most out of it—even if it involves buying our own grill and having a great night with friends. We have decided to make it a weekly tradition!
Even though it is only three weeks into the program, I know I have already made friends for a lifetime, and memories that I will never forget.