55. Little sparowhawk
56. Amethyst sunbird
57. White-bellied sunbird
58. Southern double-collared sunbird
59. Cape sparrow
60. Golden-tailed woodpecker
61. White-backed mousebird
62. South African cliff swallow
63. ?? Southern boubou
My birding colleague and I decided not to wait for the shuttle to the university, and instead went out to the road and caught a combi, which is a shared van-taxi (if you've been in Israel, it's pretty much a sherut),
to the unicersity instead. We'd been told not to walk. The combi cost us 3.3 pula each, or under a dollar for both. We birded around the university for a little over an hour. It was nice to walk on campus, not to have a big group, and to make decisions for ourselves.
Today's seminars were on youth substance abuse and community home-based health care. They were both interesting, but the first moreso because people use different drugs in different countries. I learned of three drugs of abuse I wasn't aware of--mandrax, a manufactured stimulant (from South Africa); kuber, marketed as a "mouth freshener" but made of tobacco and THC (from India); and crushing ARVs (anti-retrovirals) and rolling them into a blunt with marijuana. I'd like to know more about these.
After lunch, we visited the Cancer Association of Botswana, which is a decrepit but clean couple of mobile homes where patients undergoing chemo or radiation at the nearby hospitals can stay for up to 8 weeks. Right now, they have only women's beds. An outpatient TB treatment facility is across the way. We met several women who were lying on beds in a small ward, bundled up (it's warm to us, but it's winter in Botswana and local people are cold). I think I was less devastated than some of the other participants, and this is true for the medical doctor and people who've done HIV and hospice voluntrism as well. We were sad for the women and felt compassion for them and frustration that they had so few amenities and choices, but weren't overwhelmed because this wasn't our first encounter with patients/clients with highly compromising diseases.
Thanks for your questions. Keep them coming.
Q: How is the air quality?
A: It's winter, so the air is full of wood smoke. There's also a reasonable amount of vehicle exhaust.
Q: Have you seen the Southern Cross?
A: Not yet, but it's on my agenda.
Q: Where are you seeing all these birds?
A: Around the hotel, in hospital and clinic parking lots, at the university, and at a game park. I saw two on the grassy strip between runways in South Africa.
Q: Are the people very poor?
A: Some are; some are quite well-to-do. As Botswana develops, the gap between rich and poor widens.
Q: How much does HIV treatment cost?
A: The speakers in our seminar don't know, because it's paid for by the government.
I may not blog tomorrow as we're visiting Baylor Children's Clinic in the morning, then most of us are going to Madikwe Game Reserve in South Africa. I don't know how long it will take for us to get there, have the tour, and coe back. It's only 20 kilometers from Gaborone, but I don't know what traffic is like.
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