The first field trip
Trip Start Oct 19, 2005
33Trip End Ongoing
Map your own trip!
Show trip route
I have moved into a shared apartment on Thursday 27th. Where there is a lovely American girl, Esther who is over here for year doing HIV research on a US govt grant. And yes the similarity of our names causes much amusement and confusion. Another American, I am somewhat under siege..Cherie who is a leading exponent in genetic research, aged hippy and fascinating. Then there is a fellow Pom, Bryan who has been in Botswana on and off for 20 years and has his own management consulting firm here (one of a few business leads I have already picked up that may lead to potentially more work in Botswana). On Saturday we found out that for a year (1986) we were neighbours here in Gaborone, small bloody world that it is.
Across the hall in another apartment are two more Americans (Melissa and Erin) both trainee doctors and again on US govt grants looking at acute infections. Then there is Marionette, who is based at Harvard, but temporarily over here and heading up the study I am working on.
My social life consists of going to the gym, and either going swimming or attending a mad class dubbed the Power Hour, where the most co-ordinated men and women do aerobics to some fantastic house music. Me, I have given up on trying to do the steps, mainly because being malco-ordinated I just bump into my neighbours and so I dance around to the music. We then either go for a meal or eat at one or other's houses. All terribly civilised.
So back to the field trip, we headed up to Serowe on Monday evening along a very very straight road, with kamikaze goats, maundering cattle, mad dogs and desperate donkeys and dangerous Batswana drivers who don't seem to have a concept of mirrors or even looking for on coming traffic. It made the whole trip very entertaining especially driving at night. Marionette and I were accompanied by Sinoh, an official and the Ministry of Health, who kept us both very amused by her uncharacteristic punctuality
Everyone we met in Serowe, was very helpful, but it was hot, dry and dusty (yes that seems to be the theme here). When the wind blows it whips up these dirt devils that travel across the bush, coating everything in fine veil of red and yellow sand, choking your throat and making your eyes sting. The searing heat, saps all your energy and any previous known tenacity is completely foiled by the first sign of resistance, therefore making gathering data particularly difficult.
Serowe itself is not particularly interesting but has a part in Botswana's history, as it is the family seat of the first president of Botswana (Sir Sereste Khama). However, on the outskirts is the Khama Rhino Sanctuary, which we managed to visit and see Rhino (see photo), Eland, Zebra, Giraffe, Gemsbok, Gnu, Warthog, Impala, Kudu and Springbok. It is a protected area and has about 27 Rhinos, which is beyond its capacity. We had a leisurely drive with someone from hotel we were staying at and finished the evening sipping wine as the sun went down. The sunsets here are fantastic, swathes of yellow, orange and pink sweep across the sky as the orange firey ball of the sun disappears below the horizon, making the baked earth glow and afterwards bathing and blending the colours of the land into soft cohesive shades of pastel
On Friday we (I) drove back to Gaborone, along a very, very straight road, without too many kamikaze goats. However we did drive through an amazing electric storm and torrential rain for all of 10 minutes. Because the land is so flat you can see for miles, so we saw the rain from miles away, this grey sheet stretching down from the skies to the earth and then suddenly this fork of lightening shot down to earth, vertically splitting the sky in two. The sight was awesome and reminds you of the ferocity of nature. The forks continued lighting up the grey skies. Unfortunately Gaborone, did not see any of the rain and so we continue to wait for the first rains.
On Saturday night, myself, Esther and Erin went dancing and ended up at a new establishment (News Cafe) where all the young, trendy, fashionable and beautiful Batswana frequent. I wished I had remembered my camera as the sights, clothes and people were brilliant and I really enjoyed the people watching. The Batswana are very good looking and I have yet to see an ugly baby.
On Sunday we then piled onto a land rover and went around a game park just outside of Gaborone (Mokolodi) and using the bonnet as a bar, made ourselves gin and tonics to watch the sun go down and then continued gazing up at the magnificent star studded night sky
I am off to Francistown, Botswana's second biggest city and not really saying that much, early tomorrow and then back in Gabs for a week before going up to Maun and the Okavango Delta on safari, where I will be met by a great university friend, Rachel who is flying out from London for the week, which I am so excited about.
The next plans are to go to white water rafting at Vic falls mid December, Cape Town for New Year and from there to Namibia about the 11th January for a week. I will then either come back here or go on somewhere else.
Until the next time Sala Sentle (stay well)