Post by Erin Maloney from Skidmore College
Since coming to Botswana I feel I have learned a good amount about myself. Most strikingly, I came here as someone who did not enjoy dealing with changes to a pre-set plan. Yet in Botswana everything moves at its own pace and while it does work out in the end, it may take some sharp turns before it works out. For the first few weeks this really bothered me, especially if something I thought I could rely on suddenly stopped working, like the Internet connection. But after 6 weeks of dealing with things not going the way I expected (think registration problems and the student strikes last month), I feel I have gotten past the worst of it. Now I can take a deep breath and trust that things are truly going to work out, and they almost always do!
Another thing that has really been amazing about this trip so far is how much I have gotten to travel. As some know, UB was closed for 3 weeks due to student protests. We still had CIEE classes and our program did well planning activities at the last-minute but for the most part our days were empty. So we requested to be able to use the week before classes started up to do some traveling. We were told we could travel the Monday before we wanted to leave. This meant we had 4 days to plan a 8 day trip….YIKES. It ended up being the best trip I’ve been on so far! We stayed up late nights drawing our route onto a road map and writing down google maps directions, since we would be without Internet for most of the trip. We drove 15 hours the first day. From Gaborone through South Africa and into Namibia! We first camped in Ai-Ais at the hot springs then the next morning drove two hours north to Hobas, where we could get gorgeous views of Fish River Canyon. We then traveled on to a coastal town called Luderitz, where we camped on the beach and realized we did not have enough warm clothing! From there we took two days to drive north to Swakopmund. In Swakopmund we spent time on the beach, perusing the town, and went on an ATV ride through the desert. After two days we drove to Windhoek and slept there, waking before dawn to make our 13 hour trek back to Gaborone. In all, the trip was around 50 hours of driving in 8 days in a car nearly packed to bursting and camping along the way. By the end our backs ached from the car and the ground and we were a tad grumpy! But what an experience, and we planned the whole thing ourselves. To me, this trip embodies all that I wanted to get out of my abroad experience. I wanted to learn to plan my own trips and see the world. I saw most of Namibia that week, granted from the backseat of a car, but it was amazing.
Published by Entle Mmipi.