I am beginning to recognize drinking and casual dating as much more of a problem here as opposed to the States. The potential consequences are far worse. If a student flunks a semester worth of courses, they lose their government scholarships and stipends forever, and are thus unable to return to the university. The high HIV/AIDS rate here also makes promiscuity much more dangerous.
Many students blow their stipends for the month from the government within the first two weeks and drink during the day as opposed to attending class, a problem professors constantly mention.
Though the president has imposed a very steep importation tax on the alcohol here, around 70%, the problem does not seem to have been resolved, and people are instead spending more money on alcohol and less on food for themselves and their families.
On Friday the tutor that I met that took me to Gabane and introduced me tot the girls I am now tutoring took me out for coffee(not instant) and showed me around Gaborone at night, something I haven’t yet done though I’ve been here for a month. Though it feels very safe here, we’ve been advised by all to not go out after dark, so unless going in large groups to a destination, it’s something we have all avoided doing. It was fantastic to have real coffee again, such a rare treat, and something I’ve been forced to give up entirely since I arrived here. We had cake after coffee as well, something I also have a whole new appreciation for.
I have begun planning my other trips for the semester. I hope to travel down to
Lesotho, a landlocked country in South Africa whose elevation throughout the entire country never drops below 1,000m, the Kalahari, and Salt Pans, and of course Maun, Falls, and the Okavango Delta. The grandmother of one of the girls I am tutoring has offered to let me use her house in Maun, which is currently Kasane, Victoria
uninhabited, when I travel there. I never cease to be amazed by the generosity offered to me here. I will do my best to reciprocate it in the states.
My roommate informed me several days ago that she is pregnant, and she has asked me to name her first child. I’ve been brainstorming for names for the past week. I’m having an internal as to whether or not a name can potentially contribute to the success or failure of an individual in society. The naming of a child isn’t a task to be taken lightly. It is due in August, so I unfortunately won’t be able to meet the newborn as it enters the world.
My family doesn’t seem to be pleased with the prospect of extending my stay in
Botswana and Africa. I miss my family and friends, but with each passing day, I became more and more set on the idea. I have obligations and responsibilities to return to, but I feel as though spending more time here working at an orphanage and on a farm would be more worthwhile, important, and enriching in the grand scheme of things.