July 2010

The Department of Political Science, with the assistance of the Division of International Studies & Programs at Texas A&M University-Kingsville (TAMUK), is pleased to introduce its Botswana Program - a unique joint partnership between TAMUK and the University of Botswana, Gaborone, Botswana.

The Program is being directed by Dr. Nirmal Goswami, Professor of Political Science, TAMUK, and co-directed by Dr. Leapetswe Malete and Dr. Maitseo Bolaane, University of Botswana.

The Program will include twelve students traveling to and staying in Botswana from July 7th through July 23rd, attending classes at the University of Botswana, and visiting multiple sites through field trips within Botswana. Areas of focus include history, politics, economics, culture, health, environmental policies, etc., with reference to both Botswana and Southern Africa.

This blog will document our experience. You are welcome to post comments.

You are all invited to cyber travel with us as we learn about the unique and beautiful country of Botswana!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Bodungwane, Botswana

Since arriving in Botswana we have not spent much time outside of Gaborone. That changed today when we visited the village of Bodungwane. A village is one of the most important aspects of life in Botswana. Every person in Botswana associates “home” with a specific village.
Bodungwane is about 70 km northwest of Gaborone and is also the home to one of the students sponsored UB’s Research Centre for San Studies. The dwellings in the village mirrored what most us have only seen through pictures in National Geographic issues. The grass roofed huts were complemented by stick fences that enclosed family lots. The lot was immaculately maintained, the dwellings, while modest, were beautifully made and in excellent shape. The villagers all looked to be in good health. Chickens roamed freely while donkeys remained in the background.Wealth was not in abundance but neither was the poverty that we stereotypically associate with Africa. In the village, Dr. Bolaane, our academic director from UB, gave us an excellent insight into village life. She also facilitated our interactions with members of the family we met. We shared lunch with them and reveled in their hospitality.
After visiting the family we embarked on a dirt path through the brush that led us to the local clinic which served as a primary health facility. At the clinic we were fortunate enough to witness a government food distribution program in action. Government officials were re-supplying the village with maize and other essential goods. Villagers responded to a series of honks from the supply truck and arrived at the clinic within minutes to receive the supply items. The officials verified the identity of the recipients by checking their computerized national ID cards. A few villagers used donkey carts to carry home their supplies.
The modesty of the region served as a brief reprieve from the busy streets of Gaborone and the noisy sounds of development. The experience in Bodungwane made me realize that I am the proverbial “outsider looking in” on a culture that is different from my own. However, I have liked what I have seen. “Reteng,” we are here!

Caleb F.

No comments:

Post a Comment