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!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

A Familiar Issue, a Familiar Policy, a Familiar Problem

We were all so excited to have had our first field trip in Botswana and NO CLASSES. On Wednesday, we took a day to visit a San Village, and there I learned so much about families and how they live outside of Gaborone. What caught my attention the most was their seeming isolation. Access to transportation and services like health care seemed limited. There is a clinic in the village which is usually staffed by a nurse but the clinic had not had a nurse for sometime. On our visit, I was lucky enough to see how a government group delivers food and other necessities to families in need. As I spoke to a young lady from the university, I asked her about how this program worked and she mentioned that social workers evaluate families to determine if they qualify for assistance. If approved, the families receive vegetables, powdered soup, maize meals, flour, sugar, cooking oil, 8 pints of milk, and they get a stipend to purchase meat locally. The lady who I spoke with was very upset by this because she said that since the programs provide so much food every day, and the family members do not have to work, that this sometimes lead to fraud when ineligible people take advantage of these programs. This led me to think about how this situation is very similar to ours in Texas. I related the situation with the San village to poor families in Texas who receive food and welfare services from the government. Everything seemed so similar to our situation back home; the way some people are so upset at those who fraudulently receive government services.
I intriguingly noted that Botswana and my country have similar societal problems, similar government policies and similar spillover issues.

Ruby T.

No comments:

Post a Comment