Friday, January 7, 2011

Halfway point

Can you believe we're halfway through this blog? And also our time in Botswana? We've been here for almost four months now, and we'll be here for about another four. Here's the top five moments from my sister and her fiance's visit to Southern Africa in late December:

1) Learning to throw a spear from some Kua (aka "San," aka "Bushmen," which is considered offensive even though the New York Times uses it) folks that we met in Kaudwane, a remote village where B has a friend doing Peace Corps. I posted about them a bit already, but displacement of the Kua and other San is one of the biggest problems with Botswana's otherwise pretty good government. You won't see a lot of people staging protests about it in the capital, but international dissatisfaction has gotten the Kua some concessions (i.e. some may be able to return to live on some parts of the Central Kalahari Game Reserve). In the background, you can see an "O.G." (their term, meaning "original" or "authentic") Kua hut. Not like some of the "fakey" houses in the village.

(Yes, I am wearing a trashbag. It was raining and freezing cold.)

(L and I spent the rest of the evening under a blanket with tea. To the left of us are the two awesome Kua guys who we spent the day with. In addition to speaking Kua, they spoke fluent Setswana AND English.)

2) Driving up the Sani Pass and meeting some Basotho people in Lesotho. The drive was full of spectacular views and "hairpin turns" as the guidebook promised. Lesotho has basically managed to stay independent because it is so freaking hard to get there. They also have one of the highest rates of HIV infection in the world, in part because of an economic system that relies on men leaving home for months at a time to work in mines, urban areas in South Africa, etc. These guys were really friendly and we had a good time joking around with them. Their language Sesotho is basically the same as Setswana--we enjoyed showing off our few phrases. The men carry a big stick once they are circumcised and enter adulthood.

(Either I'm tall or those mountains are far away.)

(A got to hold the big stick. Not sure what that means.)

3) The views at Bulungula. We had hoped to find Bulungula, a small Xhosa village on the Wild Coast of South Africa, perfectly enchanting. Instead, we found it pretty mixed. The shared pit bathrooms were trying, the food sucked, the lack of locks on doors suggested all was safe, but both L and I had money stolen, and the offered activities were mostly lame. But the views, with green hills, colorful huts, and the beach, were decidedly awesome.

(Omg I was so out of breath from climbing these hills.)

(It was a nice ocean.)

4) Canoeing at Bulungula. We may have gotten the worst sunburns of our lives, but we also looked really goofy.

(The floppy hat is what sends us over the edge.)

( L and B are much better canoers than us.)

5) Getting a flat tire 20 minutes from the airport. After driving down a 4WD road to Bulungula for two hours in each direction in a Honda Civic, we were relieved to finally get off that road with our tires and car still intact. The irony of getting a flat on the highway in Durban was not lost on us.


  1. Glad to see your updates! Gladder that you are halfway here!

  2. Mom! You've got to play it cool.