|Beautiful Modern Buildings Nestled Between Dirt Lots - this is right near the center of town|
|The Ministry of Health Complex|
Above are some photos of the ministry of health - one of the nicest buildings in Gaborone, and rightly so given that Botswana has been so affected by HIV/AIDS. The office staff was very friendly and my visit was incredibly efficient - not exactly what I expected. I had a much harder time figuring out how to navigate my initial administrative approval in the US. On my victorious departure from the research department, I snapped this photo from the 7th floor (taken from inside the tall white building with all the balconies in the photos above):
|Inside the Ministry of Health|
|Botswana Parliament Building|
|The Mma Ramotswe Tea Corner at the Cresta President Hotel|
|Looking out on the Main Mall from the Mma Ramotswe Tea Corner|
|My Victory Feast!|
|I thought this sign was cool - the lot behind the fence was filled with |
what looked like stolen cars which had been sitting outside for ages.
Is that a lion on the logo?
|Well-trodden foot paths|
These are EVERYWHERE and will get you from one end of the city to the other
|Mother Hen With 10 Chicks - can they ALL be hers?|
Everyone here is SO friendly - there is a certain amount of attention I get for being white (and they can probably also tell I'm foreign) - but really people here are very giving, warm, and honestly curious about other cultures. On my walk I saw lots of kids who had just gotten out of school, and they always smile shyly and say "hello" to me while staring curiously. Lots of adults sitting in their yards will wave and say hello or "dumela" as well, and occasionally they will stop me to ask where I am from and find out more about what I am doing in Botswana (this happened twice on my walk yesterday). Sometimes the adults stare at me with suspicion and/or curiosity until I say hello first, but they always respond with a genuine smile and a wave. Based on my experience in other countries I am instinctively wary of any stranger who tries to start a conversation with me - especially when I am alone - but the overall graciousness, politeness, and genuine curiosity of the Batswana has begun to break down my defensiveness. This is a welcome change, and it is so nice to be in a place that feels so inviting. It is hard to remain a cynic with so much positive energy around! Of course I will continue to be a cautious and conscientious traveler. I keep an eye on my belongings at all times, and I still won't walk anywhere alone at night.
Today I returned to the hospice for the 7:30am staff meeting and then went along with some of the staff to pick up the patients who come to the hospice during the day. It is interesting and incredibly informative seeing where patients live, regardless of what country I'm in. Many of the hospice patients live in one-room cinder block apartments with a thin tin roof, no electricity, and an outdoor pit toilet shared with many family members and neighbors. Despite their living situations, I am encouraged to see the patients well dressed in clean clothes and ready to go when the hospice van pulls up. I should also mention that some of the places do have electricity, and I have seen many of these one-room apartments that house several people with satellite dishes attached (working or not I have yet to find out). I am planning to start interviewing families on Monday, so I will get a closer look at their homes then. I keep thinking it would be great to film a documentary or do a photo essay of people and their living situations here. I will try to get some good photos of the neighborhoods while I'm out doing my research.
Seretse Khama, an awesome dude who, among other great things, refused to annul his interracial marriage back in the 1940s: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seretse_Khama
The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_No._1_Ladies'_Detective_Agency