Goodbyes are No Fun!
It is hard to believe that it is already the end of my stay here at the University of Botswana. It is hard to believe that 4 1/2 months has come and gone so quickly. It feels like just yesterday I got here and hoped that everything would run smoothly. After a rocky start with orientation it was a great time.
With all the things that I have done while I was here it is hard to believe it was so short of a time. I’ve seen another continent, 5 countries (Botswana, Mozambique, South Africa, Zambia, and Zimbabwe), swam in the Indian Ocean, Bungee Jumped, seen Victoria Falls, seen many animals, and met many new friends! Now I have been trying to say goodbye to everyone and it is hard.
Tomorrow I leave Botswana. This is the last time that you will here from me in Botswana. Please wish my luck on my way home! Signing off from Botswana- Maggie
Mari and I with Munali, Madoda, and Zambezi!
Adventure at the Largest Waterfall in the World!
So with only a week left in Southern Africa, Mari and I headed up to Victoria Falls, visiting both Zimbabwe and Zambia. While it took an entire day to get up to Zimbabwe from Gaborone, it was definitely worth being there. Once arriving at Shoestrings in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe we were able to sleep and then get up the next day to start some adventures.
The next day we went to Victoria Bungi in which we did a slide, swing, and bungee jump of 111 metes (around 365 feet). I was the first jumper of the day, and I was able to basically have all the workers to myself. I started off with the slide, which is just like a zipline. It made me appreciate how high this jump was going to be. Next, I did the swing which is where you do a pencil dive and then when you hit the bottom you being to swing. It was so much fun!!! I would do that one again in a heart beat. Next, it was time for the bungee jump. Shuffling to the edge was the scariest part of the entire adventure but one I had gone over the edge it was the best adventure of a life time and I am glad that I did it. After I had done all of the adventures, Mari decided to go and it was a lot of fun to watch her too.
The next day we went to the falls on the Zimbabwe side and it was amazing. It was truly an amazing place that is so hard to describe. At the park there is also a jungle that was created from the spray of the falls and it was beautiful. I have some amazing pictures that best show it. After wandering around the park we crossed to the Zambian side and arrived at Jollyboys. After taking a nap Mari and I went to the Arts Cafe for dinner and a dancing theatrical show. The show was called “Dancing Around Zambia” and the performers showed dances from all around the country. It was amazing and was a good cultural experience for the day.
The next day we woke up so that we could go to the Lion Encounter. Before being picked up I sat in the open area and one of the black cats came and sat on my lap and I was able to have quality cat time. Next, we went to where we were going to walk with the 4 month old Lions. Our guide, Lacken, took us to the three cubs who were adorable, and they were very fun to walk with. The place we were walking with them is helping to rehabilitate lions to provide prides to areas without lions, especially since lion are slowly being but on the endangered species list. To finish the day off we went on a sunset cruise where we enjoyed food, drink, and a gorgeous sunset.
The last day was filled with visiting the falls and volunteering. At 10am we went to the falls on the Zambian side and it was really pretty but oh my goodness wet. However, it is hard to be upset that you are being drenched by one of the seven natural wonders of the world. It was amazing. Then I spent the afternoon volunteering at the Lubasi Children’s home which is an orphanage for children in Zambia. I spent the afternoon playing with the young boys and also helped with bath time. It was a good day to end the trip by giving back to the community.
Now I am back in Gaborone for the last time and it is hard to believe! Tomorrow I leave for the states after 4 1/2 months. Weird.
Me during my bungee jump!
Me at the Indian Ocean in Ponta D’Ouro!
Indian Ocean, check!
I have one exam down and only one more to go! I cannot believe that I am almost done with my schooling at UB! It barely seems as though it has been 4 months since I left the states! I talked to my mom yesterday and I will see her in two weeks in Boston :) Enough of that, lets talk about Easter break!
Once I finished my Setswana oral, in which I blabbed about my family for 2 minutes, Sam and I headed off to the Tolkweng boarder (Botswana/ South Africa). Once we went through immigration we hitched a ride to with a student to the Johannesburg International Airport. It was a long, but interesting ride. I know that hitching in the States would not be the best idea, but here in Southern Africa it is a common way to get around the area, and it is cheap :) We were almost to the airport when our driver was pulled over, and it turns out it was the immigration police. They thought that Sam did not have a visa stamp, that was slightly terrifying but we were on our way soon! Once at the airport we were picked up by the hotel shuttle, purchased McDonalds, and hung at the bar with some newly arrived Brits. It was extremely enjoyable but also cold. I keep forgetting that it is technically fall here! I guess I am too excited about another round of summer!
The next day we awoke early to eat breakfast and to catch our plane to Maputo. It was hard to believe how packed it was, but it was Good Friday with a lot of travel. We were picked up by Wilson, who happened to be the owner of the place we were staying at, Coco Cabana’s. We then waited and waited to meet up with Bailey and Katie who got a ride from some people traveling from Gabs. Turns out they were stuck at the boarder for 8 hours! BUSY. We then took a ferry to the opposite side of the bay and embarked on a 3 hour ride on pothole ridden, dirt/sand roads. It was a semi-painful ride but it was worth it once we arrive in Ponta D’Ouro, a very touristy, vacation town popular with South Africans! We then headed out to Pintos, a local club, and sampled R+Rs which are rum and raspberry soda (I was personally not a fan of them).
The next couple of days were full of sitting on the beach, swimming in the Indian Ocean, eating copious amounts of seafood and going out at night. It was definitely a vacation that was much needed with all the work that was due! One morning we decided to get up at 4 am to watch the sunrise on the beach. We got there and it was freezing but totally worth it once the sun came up. I definitely think it was the best thing ever! Now I can say I have touched the Indian Ocean :)
The return was pretty much the same as going except Sam and I decided to buy last minute tickets from Jo’burg to Gabs to make traveling easier! It was sad to leave but exciting. Now I am preparing for the rest of my Setswana final and finishing up my independent study write up. On the 4th, Mari and I are heading to Victoria Falls where I am going to be bungee jumping off a bridge over the falls! SO EXCITED!
Parents in Gaborone!
Well the past week was really exciting with a visit from my parents to Gaborone! It was definitely different but it was really great for them to see where I have been living since I left in January.
On Wednesday we went to the Janweng Diamond Mine which is about two hours away from Gaborone. We loaded up on the bus at 6am and started our very fast paced journey. Let’s just say the bus driver was passing anything going slow. It was mildly terrifying. Once we arrived we had to sign our permits. As we were signing the permits a convoy of police came rolling through the gate and we determined that someone tried to steal diamonds. Oh boy. Once there we saw the massive complex that Debswana had set up to support the diamond industry here. We saw a video about the history and over view of how diamonds are mined. Next we suited up and explore the large pit, trucks, and display room to see how diamond mining works here. We also learned about how the company provides health care, education, and housing for workers. Also there is a game reserve on the property to try to preserve the environment, even though mining is definitely destroying the environment.
Once we returned, I went out to coffee with Eva and anxiously awaited the arrival of my parents. I was supposed to travel to the airport with the shuttle but that fell through. We a few games of bejeweled in the hotel lobby they arrived, looking like they had just stepped out of the bush. Fun times. We went over to News Cafe and enjoyed some Hunters and ate dinner. At that point it was really weird that they were in Botswana.
The next two days were spent running around the city, literally. On Thursday we went to the Botanical Gardens, Botswana Craft, and Main Mall. We enjoyed a traditional meal at the restaurant at Botswana Craft. I was able to have Impala stew :) Yummy! I think my parents were able to find all the souvenirs that they wanted, especially with me haggling with the vendors at Main Mall. Mom even found Noah’s Arch with all the animals! Dad found a mopane cane to bring back to the States. Friday was spent by going to class where my parents watched be attack a fellow student who had definitely copied and pasted his slides from wikapedia (he left the hyperlinks in). We then attempted to find the licensing office to get the export permit for the carved ostrich egg. We went to three different places all around the city. While getting the permit only took about three minutes, it took us forever to get there. But my parents did get a view of the city. We finished their trip by going to Primi with some of my friends. My parents saw why we enjoy this place. The next day I met them for breakfast before they took of for the airport. They took one of my bags back to the states to hopefully relieve some of my stress.
Overall it was a really fun week. Now I am finishing classes on Thursday and I am going to be in Mozambique for Easter break! I am very excited. Then it is time to plan my final trip to Victoria Falls!
Eva and I on the game drive :)
Juji enjoying some afternoon tea!