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2 posts from April 2016

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!

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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!

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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

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