Fall 2015 Issue III - Final Newsletter
We finally reached the end of our Fall Semester and looking back it’s been an amazing couple of months. It’s often hard to say goodbye to our peers and friends, and even more challenging to let go of new cultures and places we just began to call home! Here’s a recap of the semester highlights:
On Sunday, July 26th 2015, a number of students flew in to Sir Seretse Khama International Airport in Gaborone, Botswana from all ends of America. They were picked up by our student volunteers and were shuttled to a nearby hotel where they spent their first night in Africa.
The next morning was the beginning of a long week! Upon arrival at the University, the students where equip with relevant coping strategies in hope of facilitating a smooth transition into their new environment. This includes how to navigate the University campus, safety and security in and around the city and campus, briefs on how to live in local dorms and home stays, registration and many more. Similarly, they were introduced to Tswana culture as best they could be by into a series of interesting activities which included a Significance of Dance in Botswana, Culture and Dance Class, a Traditional Music lesson at Thapong Arts Centre, survival Sestwana lessons and a wonderful week indulging in some traditional Tswana food! Check out some scenes from Orientation below:
Traditional lunch at Botswana Craft
Once the essential information had been decimated, it was nice for the students to get out and explore the city. In an exhilarating Amazing Race – Combi Safari throughout Gaborone, the students were taken on public transportation to specific locations within the city by way of combis (small mini-buses), which allowed the students to see Gaborone for the beauty she is, just as the locals do. The Amazing Race - Combi Safari Challenge helps instill a sense of independence and confidence in using the public transportation system whilst racing for the ultimate prize. It turned out to be a great day as everyone was glad to be out and about after the long week! Check out some photos from the Amazing Race – Combi Safari:
Aziza, Morgan and Amy at the Gaborone bus rank during the Amazing Race
Aziza, Morgan, and student volunteer Rati in front of the Three Chief Monument during the Amazing Race
At the end of the week the students and staff enjoyed a wonderful welcome dinner at Avani Restaurant. It was a splendid evening; an absolute treat after the hectic week!
Fall 15 Welcome Dinner!
Investing in Others
CIEE Gaborone makes it a point to offer a helping hand and serve those less fortunate within the community. This fall, we had the opportunity to spend the day with a number of young children from the Naledi community at Naledi Education Centre, in Gaborone, Botswana.
Naledi Education Centre is a community based organisation that was founded in conjunction with the Naledi Clinic and Church. The education centre was one of the 1st in the area, providing student facilities to young members in and around the community; although Naledi Education Centre has been operational for several years now they are still open to assistance from outside members.
The volunteer day was completely planned and organised by CIEE students. They chose an organisation based on their personal interests and one they felt required the most help and support. The aim of the volunteer day is to allow the students to get engaged with the community and allow them to acquire a well-rounded view of Batswana, in that they are provided the opportunity to meet individuals from various backgrounds. The students did a tremendous job helping out, check out some pictures below:
Sarah after a football game with the boys of Naledi Educational Centre
Julia helping the paint the benches
Luisure getting hotdogs ready for brunch
Johny helped everyone get cleaned up and ready for brunch
Steve did an amazing job helping the kids create artistic works
The jumping castle was a hit!
Throughout the semester, CIEE organised a number of excursion around the county. Apart from community public health site visits to institutions such as Princess Marina and Baylor Children’s Clinic, The students are privileged to visit other key areas within the host country such as Bahurutse Cultural village where they enjoyed traditional song, dance and food.
The weekend of October 16-17 made Orapa, a small mining town located in the central district of Botswana, the destination of choice. We headed to the infamous Orapa Diamond Mine! The students were privileged to go on a mine tour where they had the opportunity to see the large open pit mine, the monster trucks and learnt about the mine and its enourmous contribution to Botswana’s economy. What an amazing opportunity.
The next stopover was a large village north of the capital city rich in history and significance in Botswana’s Independence, Serowe. Serowe’s rich history can be explored at the small Khama III Memorial Museum, located near the centre of the village behind Serowe Hill! The Khama III Memorial Museum outlines the history of the Khama family, one of the most important dynasties in Southern Africa.
The next stop was Khama Rhino Sanctuary; 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 students spent the night and enjoyed a wonderful dinner and night game drive where they were lucky enough to see a plethora of nocturnal animals native to Botswana.
Rhino's at during the night game drive
Beautiful impala during the night game drive
Before the end of the year, CIEE has a spectacular end of semester `trip to Kasane, which is the northern region of Botswana. The students flew to a wonderful resort where they were welcomed by the wonderful the great staff! They enjoyed a boat ride over the Chobe River and enjoyed a plethora of water animals in the region, a relaxing start to the well-deserved vacation.
The next couple of days were full of sights, the students and CIEE staff were whisked to the Chobe National Park where they camped the next two night! They had the pleasure of viewing the entire big five and several other majestic animals botswana had to offer. As Botswana had just been named the number 1 location to visit in 2016, the experience was that much more fulfilling!
Breathtaking boat ride along the Chobe River
Camp site in Chobe National Park
One of the many game drives in Chobe National Park
Whilst in Kasane, CIEE Gaborone staff and students had the opportunity to visit the great Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe! What a splendor , definitely the highlight of the trip!
Fall 2015 at the great Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe
After 4 months in Gaborone, it was finally time to say goodbye! When the semester was all said and done, looking back on the friendships cultivated, the memories made, the lesson Botswana instilled, all those who took the brave step to join our team, gained and left with more than they came with! So as we choose to not say goodbye, till next time, Sala Sentle (Stay Well)!