Thursday, June 7, 2012

Dumela, Gaborone!

On Wednesday I arrived around 1pm after many hours of flying (Boston to London to Johannesburg to Gaborone).  My academic advisor and the wife of the doctor I will be working with while I am here picked me up at the airport and brought me to the flat where I am staying.  The flat has two bedrooms and is currently occupied by three other American women.  It is kind of a motley crew in the apartment and everyone is very friendly but it is relatively tight quarters and pretty bare-bones in terms of decor and creature comforts.  The apartment is owned by the Anglican diocese and hosts aid workers, missionaries, students, etc. so it has a bit of a transient feel to it, although it is equipped with all the basic necessities so there really is nothing to complain about.  Fortunately everything was ready for me on arrival, including towels and a bed with clean sheets on it, which was very nice after such a long journey.

Home Sweet Home
Today was a whirlwind – we went to Holy Cross Hospice for a brief visit and I met the community organizer there who I will be working with this summer.  After the Hospice we went to the cathedral briefly, then on a thorough walk-through of the Princess Marina Hospital, Gaborone’s large public hospital facility.  It was pretty much as I would have expected, with lots of people looking ill and waiting around but nobody appearing to be in acute distress.  My impression of the health care system is that it is very good despite its limitations.  There is free health care for all - including free transport to Johannesburg for specialty surgeries that are not offered here in Gaborone!  It is clear, however, that there is a shortage of health care providers and the hospital facilities are much too small and not well enough equipped to handle the volume and acuity of needs of the population.  There were also some impressive facilities on the hospital campus with involvement from outside universities, including a pediatric outpatient clinic run by Baylor and an HIV/AIDS project with Harvard.  It would be amazing to see a nursing collaboration with Yale, particularly because there ARE nurse practitioners here in Botswana!

The sky here is the most vibrant color of blue, and on my first night here one of my roommates pointed out the “southern cross” constellation.  I had completely forgotten  that you can see different stars from the southern hemisphere!  I’m still getting used to the sun being in the North, but it definitely helps my sense of direction, especially since it is winter and the sun stays relatively low in the sky.

Oh, and "dumela" means "hello" in Setswana, hence the title of this post.


  1. Do you remember seeing the Southern Cross in Australia and the sun in the north? Go north to get warm the ads said in the winter. Mom

  2. This is great!! Post pics of the stars. :) I want to hear more about what you imagine a Yale nursing collaboration could look like - I don't know enough to know what you're talking about. This sounds like a big adventure already. :) - Sky

  3. The air quality down there must be spectacular! You're so lucky to see the blue sky and stars without any aerosols to muddy up the visibility :)

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