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!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Searching for a Mountain

My experience in Gaborone, Botswana (Southern Africa) has been very exciting. I feel like I have been here longer than a week even though I still have difficulty understanding the subtleties of the English spoken here. On a day off we decided to go hiking up nearby Kgale Hill. Because Kgale is out of Gaborone, we had to take a combi, which is much like a mini bus, to get there. Once we were there we saw how beautiful the mountain was and immediately got excited about the beautiful view of Gaborone we were sure to get from the top.
It never happened!
As we walked through the narrow trails we were paying attention to all the beautiful trees and keeping track of our steps to make sure we would not get lost. We noticed the trail was sometimes golden brownish and sometimes reddish. This made me remember the trails in my family’s ranch in Texas. As we hiked for about two hours we noticed we were not climbing up the mountain, so we decided to take a different route. That route started going “up,” but only for while. After that we were mostly walking every way except up. We walked, and then we walked more. Two hours later we only recognized the sky and no other landmarks. That was not helpful. We were officially lost! We did not see anyone else. It was very quiet, except for the birds. Finally, we saw power lines through the tress. We hoped the lines were by the road we took to get to Kgale Hill. We used the power line posts as landmarks, headed towards them and tumbled onto a gravel road. It was definitely not the road we had used. Then we saw the peacocks. They had come out of a compound of a house. We went to the house, knocked on the door and met a wonderful family. They seemed somewhat surprised to see thirteen strangers on their front yard but still greeted us. Once we explained the situation we were politely told that we were about 5 kilometers from where we should have been! The family we met included several young ladies, children, and three dogs. Since we had the phone number of the combi driver who had taken us to Kgale, our new best friends called up the combi which then came and picked us up. We had wonderful conversations with the family and took pictures while waiting for our ride. They were very lovely, just as most of the people we have met in Botswana, so friendly. As we drove away we saw how far we were from our starting point and had a good laugh despite the long walk. I feel like each day we grow closer and closer as a group and as a “family” like Dr. Goswami would say. We interact with each other and have been enjoying each other’s company more and sharing our different opinions and experiences here in this amazing country. I cannot wait to learn more about this country and its people, who, by the way, are called Batswana.

Ruby T.


  1. The kind of hospitality you encountered is so great wherever it occurs. I recall once in Mexico a large group of us sitting on the grass in front of a walled courtyard eating something we had purchased from street vendors. The owner came out and introduced himself around and invited us all in to sit in his beautiful garden. That kind of thing can become the distinguishing mark of a trip for those who experience it. You were so lucky!

  2. Nice story, Ruby - thanks! See, when you stop to ask for directions, the experience is much better!!