By Dante Losardo:
Dumela! Hello Everyone!
Its been just over a week now since I touched down in Gaborone, Botswana. After a long trip (over 33 hours total), including layovers in Munich and Johannesburg, I finally made it to my home for the next few months. After arriving I had some time to unpack and look around the house before my new roommate Simba, and some his friends took me out for my first experience in the city.
As per tradition for the incoming scholars, I was taken out for some drinks and good food. The first night we went to the Bull and Bush which is a favourite hangout here. This worked out perfectly as it gave me a chance to try out some of the famous Botswana beef that Chris told me I needed to try (it was cheap steak night too so it was even better!). Over the weekend I was taken to some other local hangouts (such as Ed-La’s) to experience some of the city’s atmosphere and to enjoy some more good food and good company. In my short time here I have already tried some local culinary staples, such as oxtail and chicken necks, and there is still the promise that I will need to try some other local favourites such as chicken feet and Mopane worms before it is time to go home!
For work, as far as I understand from the information I have been given so far, I will be continuing on with the work that Chris (the previous intern) was doing here. I will be working to help develop youth swimming programs within the city of Gaborone focusing more on the actual implementation portion as the framework has already been developed. Once I know more about my actual role I will provide updates in my next post with more details.
The BNOC (Botswana National Olympic Committee) recently moved offices before the staff went on break in December, so some of the moving and unpacking was still occurring during this past week, leading to a pretty hectic environment in the offices. I have been told that this new location is not as convenient to travel to as there are no direct routes from the house. For now I have been walking back and forth from the office (about 35 minutes each way). I’m hopeful that I can pick up a cheap bike sometime in the next few weeks to help cut down on my travel times.
Since I have not yet had my orientation (due to meetings being delayed and pushed back) my first week at the office was spent sitting around and getting to know some of the other staff members that I will be working with. My hope is that I will be able to have my orientation in the upcoming days. Im still getting use to the way business operates here but can already say that the concept of “island time”, or in this case “Africa time” really does exist (exactly as I had been warned it does). The key that i’ve found so far is just to relax and adjust as you go. Strict time schedules and inflexibility have no place here in all aspects of life.
Overall my experience has been a very positive one so far although there are still some things that will take some time to get used to (like cars driving on the opposite side and the lack of crosswalks). I am looking forward to exploring more of the community around me, and am very excited to get to work as soon as possible!
Till next time,