Tuesday, October 31, 2006

University of Botswana graduation

In mid-October I had the opportunity to attend the graduation ceremony of the University of Botswana. It was much like the ceremonies in the States...long and boring. But the president of Botswana was there I got to spend some time with good friends.

My good friend Micky, the main reason I went to the graduation

Micky, Joe, Lynx, and Refilwe

Zebras vs. Egypt

Here's Stacie on the sidelines doing what she loves...sports photography. A friend of hers from a local newpaper was able to get her a press pass onto the field. We've been wanting to go to a game for a while now and what better time to go than when the Botswana national team was playing one of the best teams in Africa!

Even though I was behind a fence, it still felt like I was practically on the field with them!

Botswana's goal keeper did an amazing job defending his team's goal

The score ended up 0-0 but to all the Zebras supporters, a tie is as good as a win

Botswana's 40th Year of Independence Celebration

At the end of September, Botswana celebrated 40 years of independence. We went to the stadium in Francistown to celebrate the festivities and had quite the cultural experience.

Marching in step...most of the time

Kind of hard to see, but all the kids on the field are spelling out Botswana 40 Yrs

Several traditional dance teams performed as part of the entertainment and celebrations. It was the best part of the whole day.

What celebration would be complete without a tug-of-war?

Mock battle...they don't have any battles to reinact, so they had to make one up. I suppose it's a good thing there have never been any battles here, but if they ever did have to go to war, it would be a very scary thing!

Mokolodi Game Reserve, Botswana

Just south of Gaborone, the capital city of Botswana, there is a game reserve that is home to 2 "semi-tame" cheetahs, Duma and Letoatse. I must say getting to pet a full-grown cheetah was pretty cool.

Yes, the cheetah is licking my hand. His tongue was really rough!

Here's the whole crew...me, Shawna, Carmel, Stacie, and Letoatse

Here's our guide, Bushman. Actually, his name isn't really bushman, he was given the name after he was the guide for none other than President George W. Bush when he was visiting Botswana

Monday, October 30, 2006

Selepa CJSS prize giving ceremony

Every year at school there is a prize giving ceremony for students who perform well academically and in extra-curricular activities. The school traditional dance team performed for the whole school and the parents as part of the "entertainment." Wrapped around their ankles are dried cocoons with seeds inside so when they hit their feet on the ground it makes noise. Many times they tell a story through the dance.

This young girl's name is Basetsana. She's one of my current students in Form 1 (8th grade). Part of the traditional dance outfit is what is on her head...ostrich egg shells.

I must say, students look a lot different when they shun their school uniforms for leather!


The sunday before my mom left to go back home, we had a few baptisms at church. Five youth and two ladies were baptised. The girl in the picture is Tshepang, one of my former students who is currently in Form 2 (9th grade) .

This is KB, one of the girls who was baptised. This girl is a natural leader and an incredible soccer player

Mom with two of my former students Neo and Ndinao

Mom and I went to visit one of my churchmates Elsie (far left) and her grandmother. Her grandmother sits most of the day behind this table selling snacks and fruit to the amiable passerby.

Chobe National Park, Botswana

After stopping in Francistown for a couple days to recoup from Cape Town, we made our way up to the northern part of Botswana to Chobe National Park and crossed to border into Zimbabwe for a day trip to Victoria Falls. Check it out...

Giant baobab tree in the middle of the foyer of our lodge

How'd you like to go through life with a set of those on your head? This is a male Kudu


Warthog...our guide called them the lawnmowers of Africa

Elephants and zebras grazing peacefully together

This is a cape buffalo, which is different than a water buffalo, mostly because it's a lot more aggressive which makes it a lot more dangerous

Ever seen a giraffe drink? If not, here you go

Close encounters with the elephant kind...I must admit I was absolutely terrified when this big guy came walking straight toward our truck and started sniffing around. His face was literally 3 feet away from mine!

Curious thing, isn't he?

Yeah, that close!

Great way to start the day...bright and early (6:00 am to be exact) and COLD!

As we were driving around, we saw this pack of 3 wild dogs, which are not very common to see, making their way toward a herd of impala. They would play around for a few seconds then move closer to the impala, then play, then move...it was really interesting to see how they hunt.

Surprisingly enough hippos are the most dangerous animal in these waters

Just hippoing around

Fish eagle

Up close and personal...much closer than I would have liked to be to this croc

During the course of this boat cruise we must have seen at least a thousand elephants. At this time a of year, Chobe National Park is know to have between 70-90,000 elephants!

Our boat had just pulled away from that very spot so this pic is just to give you an idea about how close we were to hundreds and hundreds of elephants

Here an elephant, there an elephant, everywhere an elephant elephant

Me and mom and lots of water

From left to right, me, Thomas, mom, Patrick, Kittie, and my aunt mona. Kittie, Thomas, and Patrick stay down in Gaborone, the capital city, and happen to be up in Chobe with us while Kittie's husband Randy was in the States visiting his mom and their son Ben who is currently at Union University

Solar eclipse? Nope, just another elephant

Victoria Falls - a little more full than the last time I saw it. We were struggling to keep dry this time!

Pilanesberg National Park, South Africa

On route from Johannesburg to Francistown, we stopped over at a game park in South Africa where we got to see lots of different types of animals. Here are just a few...

Impala, very tasty. No really, it's one of my favorite types of game meat

These are blue wildebeast. Why they call them that I have no idea...unless I missed the lesson on primary colors in kindergarten...

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