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Published: July 15th 2009
Return to Botswana
Having worked in Botswana for 17 years it was an amazing feeling to be heading back there for a visit after 11 years away! Our sons, Michael and Joel, who had been studying in Singapore, met us at Joburg airport. Amidst the excitement of not having seen Joel for 6 months and Michael for a year, we still remembered to take the family self-portrait! After a special evening with friends in Joburg, we were in the air again and touching down in Gaborone. It was sooo good to see so many of our friends at the Sir Serestse Khama International Airport to meet us. In some ways it almost felt like we hadn't left! Surprisingly, our Setswana came back and we had fun using it again!
Gaborone has really changed: new shopping complexes, fly-over bridges and mobile phones everywhere!! We stayed with our friends Barbara and Jim,
whom we had met while they were teaching in the Government schools. They looked after us so well and we appreciated cooling off in the swimming pool on some of the oppressively hot days. The hard part was trying to catch up with as many people as we could in
Joel and the sunset!
Michael's picture taken at Madikwe
a limited time!! We would have loved to have got back to many people with a second visit but time was against us. Let me give you some highlights!
Visiting the film set of The Number 1 Ladies' Detective Agency.
This is nestled at the foot of Kgale Hill, not far from where Barbara and Jim live. The two security guards were quite happy to show us all around when we started to chat to them in Setswana! We still haven't managed to see the film itself yet but hear it is very good!
Visiting Heidi at Khumakwane.
Heidi does an amazing work with orphaned and disadvantaged children in the village, providing a safe environment for them to play and be fed! It was really special to meet up with some of the colourful characters that we had heard about over the years!While we chatted with Heidi, the boys played a bare-footed game of soccer with some of the boys and Michael ended up with a huge blister on his foot!
Visiting the village of Mmankgodi
where Colin and I had lived for the first five months in the 80s to start learning Setswana. We went up
to the old UCCSA church (which came out of the London Missionary Society), where Colin had preached his first sermon in Setswana! We tried to find the place where we had lived 28 years ago but things had changed so much that we couldn't pinpoint it!
Celebrating Michael's 26th birthday in the land of his birth!
We had coffee at the President Hotel and then ate at Nando's (Michael's choice). Later it was special to catch up with Tina,
with whom we had worked for many years at Shashe, and Heidi who was visiting too. We met some of the children, who regularly visit Tina and they proudly showed us some of their art work.
Visiting the McArthurs in Kanye!
We enjoyed the drive out to Kanye and visited Malcolm and Gudrun in their beautiful stone cottage on the top of the hill. We had stayed in their home in Gaborone many years before when we had first arrived in Botswana. We also took a stroll down memory lane at the Seventh Day Adventist Hospital in Kanye, where Michael had been hospitalised with a very bad case of malaria when he was about 5 years old.
up with Bob and Esther
and family in their amazing thatched house in Tlhokweng. Esther made delicious tacos and we enjoyed eating sitting outside watching the sky light up with a threatening thunderstorm! I wish we could have gone back for another visit! A big thank you to the Genheimers for lending us their camping gear for our trip up north.
A last minute visit to Madikwe Game Park
just over the border in South Africa! Amazingly they had had a cancellation and so we were able to go on Christmas Eve and stay until Christmas Day. We had two fantastic game drives, seeing 17 wild dog, as well as buffalo, lion, elephant and rhino! On returning from a night drive, where we stopped and had drinks and nibbles admiring the most brilliant sunset, we sat down to a Christmas dinner of turkey and roast vegetables! This was the fare at the bushcamp! It was fun collecting your hot water from the 'donkey boiler' and filling up an overhead bucket with a nozzle for a shower. After an early morning game drive on Christmas Day we returned to a champagne and orange breakfast! I just wish I had been
able to take a photo of one of the game guides driving around wearing his Santa Claus hat!
We returned to Gaborone that afternoon and enjoyed a delicious Christmas dinner with Jim and Barbara and some of their friends.
Taking part in the Bible Distribution, which is organised by Flying Mission,
at Princess Marina Hospital. In all the years that we had been in Botswana we had never been in Gaborone on Boxing Day so it was a special privilege to take part in this annual occurence. We walked around all the wards singing Setswana choruses and distributing Bibles, which were readily accepted by everyone. It was a sobering experience as we saw many AIDS sufferers and our hearts really went out to them.
Meeting Kgakgamatso (Kg)
was very special. We went back to Mark and Debbie Spicer's
home for coffee and met Kg, who is their adopted daughter. Kg was involved in a car accident as a baby and sustained many injuries. Mark and Debbie have showered Kg with love and it is amazing to see how well she is doing. She is a real character and life is never dull when Kg is around. After following
Motswana Santa Claus
I couldn't resist having my photo taken with an African Santa Claus.
her story for many years it was wonderful to finally meet her!
Spending time with Vincent,
whom we had known in Shashe. Vincent was the son of one of our students at the Bible College and Michael and Joel had played lots of soccer with him as children. He now has his own company in Gaborone and after having a meal with him we were able to use the computers at his work to check emails!
Leaving Gaborone, in a 4 wheel drive vehicle that had been kindly lent to us by friends in Gaborone, we called in to see Ginny Long,
who was in town staying at a friend's house. It was great to catch up with her. We had spent lots of great family times with the Longs and their three boys, including doing a 10,000 km round trip to East Africa and back one year! Dave
was up at Shashe, where we were heading next. As we left Gaborone and settled in for the 4 hour trip to Shashe, we all felt excited about returning to the place where we had spent most of out time!
I have posted two pages of photos so
don't forget to check out the second page!
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