Sunday, November 14, 2010


(My enormous floppy hat protects me and my enormous nostrils from the vicious sun.)

This is embarrassing for you. You are so far behind on what's happening here in Gabs. You think we're sitting around in our living room trying to kill toaster-sized grasshoppers. Couldn't be further from the truth. We've moved on to bigger and better critters. Like since then I've discovered our oven is full of dozens of daddy long-legs (now dead--baking pumpkin muffins is my preferred form of critter extermination).

Also, other important things happened in the last week, like we met President Ian Khama, went through a 10-hour blackout, experienced another wedding, etc.

I haven't uploaded all my photos from this week yet, so it might take a while to catch you up. But let's start with last Friday's concert. It took place at the military base here in Gabs, and came highly recommended by A's coworker. I drove the gang there in our new gray '98 Toyota Corolla--not great for safaris, but perfectly serviceable for concerts.

(The stage. The auditorium reminded all of us of a college auditorium.)

First we waited around for a while for President Khama to arrive (okay fine, so we didn't meet him but he was really close by) and then the show began with the presentation of enormous checks to worthy charities. I was surprised when the orphanage where I work was one of the recipients of a giant check, and when the women next to me heard that I worked there, they began taking my picture as well.

(Blurry, but you can see how big the check was!)

After that excitement, the concert got started with a performance by the atrocious military marching band. They were seriously awful, like junior high school students who haven't practiced. I guess it's because Botswana is such a peaceful country.

This was followed by a series of much better performances, though, from a diverse group of singers, instrumentalists, and dancers. There was marimba, acoustic guitar, big band-type jazz, traditional dancing, tap dancing, drumming, etc. Each performance was very short, and quickly followed by the next so we never got bored. There was also a lot of physical comedy that all seemed based on the fact that poor, somewhat demented old men beating each other up is funny. (Developmentally speaking, Batswana comedy is about 50 years behind American comedy.)

At one point, I asked the woman next to me (who was half-way out of her seat singing and dancing along), to translate what was happening. She attempted to do so, explaining "It is entertaining in a humorous way."

(Traditional dancers. They were awesome.)

We took off about three and a half hours after the concert started--with probably another hour left to go.


On Tuesday, we experienced our first real blackout. It lasted all afternoon and evening--almost 10 hours--and then the electricity went out again overnight. We tried to take advantage of the situation by getting some beers, lighting some candles, and taking the night off from TV and internet.

While the roommates went to a bar to buy beer, I stayed home in our dark apartment and used my friend's iPhone to email my boss that I wouldn't be able to work that night. I opened my inbox and discovered a very unexpected email from a different editor, telling me that I was finally getting a little promotion after three years of working for them. I'd been waiting for that email for a long time, and it was too weird to get it in a blackout on an iPhone in Gaborone.

When my roommates got back, we had a toast, and watched a very cool storm roll in.


The preschoolers continue to practice their catwalk-style modeling daily. Apparently, it will be part of the Christmas pageant next week. Only the 4-year-olds best able to imitate the sexy swagger of an adult will be chosen to participate.


  1. maybe the orphanage will use the giant check to purchase more spoons? i was getting embarrassed, so thanks for the update. but seriously, don't feel like you need to include something gross about bugs each time...

  2. I have to check on the quantity of spoons. That was the kind of problem I wanted to fix by throwing my own money at it. But now I don't go in on porridge days...

    It is really hard when there are so many horrifying bugs.

    Also, you were getting embarrassed?

  3. This all sounds very exciting! (Except for cooking the daddy-long-legs). I look forward to hearing about your promotion.

  4. and oh my, you have learned to drive on the left side of the road?!!!