Monday, September 20, 2010

Spoke too Soon...

Yet another Monday has come and is already beginning to slowly fade....and so the strike continues.

I really have no new information. Just that management did begin to negotiate and  I suspect put out a counter offer last night.  I guess the staff and professor's union were not satisfied.

Today students pulled themselves from their beds, shook off the last of their impromptu vacation and headed for classes.  As minutes ticked by, and doors were unlocked, students were left to stare at vacant classrooms and empty blackboards. 

Instead music could be heard from the center of campus.  So, as I followed the music I discovered the source was booming with life.  The teachers lounge was restless, and lively with debate and unsettled faces. I couldn't be sure what was happening beyond it's seclusive doors, but I knew without a shadow of a doubt, today the strike was going strong. 

I guess its good that I consider life experience to be a better teacher then the classroom will ever be.

Sunday, September 19, 2010


Well, as I’m sure many of you have already heard, The University of Botswana Professors and general staff have been on strike this entire week. (also known as, …..NO SCHOOL!).

I must warn you, I’m not exactly sure on many of the circumstances surrounding the strike but I believe this is the general gist.

It seems the professors here at UB have not had an income adjustment in roughly five years or so. The University as claimed that the budget is limited and a wage increase is just not possible. Come to find out, UB was sitting on approximately 30 million pula that they were using less then appropriately.

When the numbers where crunched, and the money divided; management had settled on a 78 percent increase for their head honcho and next to nothing for professors and general staff members. For whatever reason, this didn’t sit too well with the majority of employees.

After a month of planning and deliberating, it was put to a vote. Strike or no Strike? Amongst those of the Professor staff that voted a whapping four “NO” votes were cast against a overwhelming majority.

And so, as of Tuesday September 14th, 2010 The first legal strike ever in Botswana commenced! And I have the photos to prove it.

Professors and staff skipped class, wrote a petition, painted signs, sang songs, and Marched around campus.

Comparatively to what we have seen in the U.S. this seemed like a very peaceful, mellow strike, but it got the job done! I’m told that management has decided to negotiate! Classes are set to resume this Monday as usual though classes have been disrupted so we can all count on our schedules being a little off.

I’ll keep you posted on what happens from here!

What's important about this picture? Well, you see that man holding the sign? That's my Professor.

You Know You're An American In Botswana When....

“Home” is a bag from R.E.I, Shoes from Rite Aid, a journal crushed under the tires of your youth pastor’s massive truck, and a torn Hemingway novel.

You’re the only person on your floor who keeps a constant supply of peanut butter, jelly, and whole wheat bread.

You might be the only person EVER to sport true cowboy boots on the UB campus

You can hardly pronounce your OWN Tswana name

You’re the only person who doesn’t think size 6 ½ shoes are bigger than average. (As it turns out they have a different shoe size system here, UK…oh. Little lone, every girl here has tiny feet!)


The only one who thinks its odd that Batswana police don’t carry guns, is you.

You’re one of a handful of people who consider toilet paper a basic necessity.

You’re not sure if your tan or if it’s just dirt. Yeah


You Have to explain to your professor and fellow students what the American phrase “rule of thumb” means. Even though your professor was the one that said it.

Drinking 4 to 6 Liters of water daily seems extreme, but totally necessary.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Stranger of Strange Lands

I am a Foreigner
My feet strike against unfamiliar ground and my steps waiver under shaky rocks
My shoes, now stained by the sand, tear at the seams and split at the rubber
My Skin is white, my hair light, my eyes blue, and my accent thick
My Opinion is Foreign, my point of view is strange and my voice a minority

If I have learned anything while here in Botswana it is that I am foreigner. The money is unrecognizable and the names are usually something I can barely pronounce. I have learned to respect this culture though I do not fully understand its customs, while simultaneously treasuring my own. I am a Foreigner, but perhaps I always have been.

1 Peter 2:11, Philippians 3:20-21

All About the Story

If you’re going to live, at least live a story worth telling. Good or Bad, share your experience and make it interesting….

Botswana is a land of limitless stories waiting to be told. While here I have explored the salt pans, lived with a local family, been proposed to (a few times), celebrated my twenty-first birthday, anticipated a university strike, sat in a police station, and much, much more.

What’s that? Oh yes! You read correctly. I indeed have had the privilege of introducing myself to the local police and filling a report which I’m sure will do nothing more but clutter some poor working man’s desk.

No, it’s not what you’re thinking. I’m sure that most are aware that I and the law have an interesting history, but I promise you this time handcuffs were not involved. In fact I was the victim, or more the friend of the victim; a witness to a crime if you will.

Today, after returning from Mochudi, my friend, Christina and I decided to go to Riverwalk Mall to buy a few groceries for the up and coming week. From the University to Riverwalk is approximately a 20 minute walk and a journey we have become all too familiar with.

As we left the now closing grocery store, the sky was still blue and filled with light. We decided to walk.

We turned down a side street that usually had little to know traffic. We had become very used to taking this road and figured it was in fact the safer decision since taking the main road often meant risking your life with the speeding cars who are in no way concerned about pedestrians lining the sides of the road.

Christina and I are talking loudly, laughing, and enjoying our conversation as usual. Just as we begin to approach the cross street (also very busy) a young man runs up from behind. He grabbed Christina’s bag, and began pulling it with all his strength. Within seconds her bag was ripped from her hands, and her groceries lie in a mess on the ground.

In less than thirty seconds, the man (who looked younger then both Christina and I) had grabbed her bag and dashed around the corner, forever out of sight. We had been taught and told several times not to fight back. That are lives where more important than our possessions. In all honesty I’m not sure we could have done anything with how fast it all happened.

As the man ran away Christina and I began to scream thief at the top of our lungs. We had been told that Botswana is well known for their mob justice and upon yelling “thief” many citizens will take justice into their own hands and often stop the perpetrator.

There was no one around to here our cries.

He was gone. With him, he now had Christina’s dorm keys, Cell phone, and Wallet containing her license, social security card, credit card, debit card, account information, and 50 pula.

Both her and I care were quite alright, but the stress that would soon follow would be very overwhelming.

Life’s an adventure, like it or not.