Thursday, May 6, 2010

Final Post

Our last day of work is completed. We made many friends, touched many lives, had our hearts touched, and went without a lot of sleep. It was an amazing experience for students and faculty. We experienced another continent, worked with people who do things very differently than we do, and found that despite our differents in culture that we have many things in common.

The children at the schools in which we worked were terrific young people. We got to know them well during the week. Many of them have difficult or sad stories to tell about their lives, but for those few hours that we spent with them, they had big smiles and happy hearts. So did we! Our videos that the teams produced turned out great, and the students LOVED seeing themselves on the public service announcements about alcohol use and the public speaking project. The handprint shirts and the strengths chains in the resilience project were powerful messages to the students. They are hanging in the school library. The bullying workshops were touching as the students told us stories of being harassed and bullied. Their role plays told the stories of struggling young people.

Thank you all for keeping us with us on this journey! We have loved telling our stories. Thank you also for your support. We will leave Botswana today and will be home soon, but we will bring a piece of Africa home with us. It was a truly amazing experience, and one that we will never forget.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010


Between working long days and the Internet being down, it has been difficult to post on the blog. Everyone is doing well. We are working hard tonight to finish projects for the final day in the schools. At both schools, our projects have gone very well, and we have had a wonderful time getting to know the students and school personnel. The children have touched our hearts. They have appreciated the attention, the information, and the projects that we have done with them. Our UofL students are terrific people.

Parents, spouses, children, and loved ones should be proud of them. They represent your family, our University, our state and country extremely well. They have performed well under pressure, many changes, and unknown challenges. They have touched the lives of some of the most inpoverished children in the community as well as some of the brightest in the city. They have embraced the experience and made the most of every minute.

If the Internet holds up, I'm going to tell the story in pictures. Enjoy!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Bokamosa School Day 1

So it is May 3rd 2010 and I can't believe I am in Botswana, AFRICA!! I spent the day at a junior school called Bokamosa. Today was our first work day... Today was my first exposure to the school system in Africa... Today was my first time interacting with teens from Africa... Today is what I have prepared for since January... Today I learned more than I could ever imagine... Today came and went too fast... Today I was touched by many amazing young people... Today I learned what true service means... Today has begun a journey I will partake in the rest of my life.

There had been so much anticipation for today. When we arrived at the school I was soooo excited. We were greeted and taken to our classrooms. There were those first jitters, hellos, smiles, and awkward silences. I began the day in the education program. I have 8 students in my small group... 6 boys and 2 girls. Let me just say they were AMAZING. We are doing a PSA on the fighting and negative emotions that accompany alcohol use. The group of students are so cohesive and worked so well together. I sat back and observed how they interact with one another and how they use their Setswana(language). They spoke to each other in setswana very fast and would later explain to me. The students are so close, their personal bubbles are much smaller than what we are accustomed to in the United States. Otiliah- one of the girls in my small group is so smart, she helped me so much by learning everyones names. I cannot wait for the filming tomorrow.

The classrooms at the school are very different from those in America. There is a small chalkboard, a push pin board, 3 large windows, and steel poor shape desks. It was definitely a reality check looking around their classroom and learning what their resources are compare to ours.

During "tea" their snack break we got to see the student's personalities! They were dancing, singing, and talking with us. Oh and they LOVE getting their picture taken, they were all crowding around us and asking us to take pictures with them.

Finally after all of this it was time to do the program I have been preparing since January!! Woohoo!! We have created a program based on resilience that include a few activities and stories. My favorite part of the program today was my small group. I had 8 students, 4 boys and 4 girls. One boy did not speak any English... WOW how confusing today must have been for him. One of the older boys that was a great leader translated for him which was amazing to see his natural skills for being a leader. I can just see the future in his eyes and that he will accomplish so much in his lifetime despite the struggles he has faced such as his mother dying and being supported by a single father. The two girls, Sessya and Maranja were also in my group. It took awhile for them to warm up to me but they finally did and it was wonderful. They were so smart and confident in themselves. The input I got from them on personal struggles and wanting to help others was so heartwarming.

Lastly, we observed a class for awhile. The students were very kind and I looked arouned at their tarnished notebooks and how accustomed they are to sharing textbooks. How blessed I have been in my life to not even appreciate my school supplies and textbooks. The two girls I sat next to were so funny and kept asking me questions about America.

I enjoyed today so much and cannot wait for the next 3 days!!
-Morgan Forrester Psychology Team

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Chiefs and Mokolodi Nature Reserve

The ISLP team had a full day of activities. First thing, we visited the chiefs of Africa monument and learned a great deal about the history and independence of Botswana. The guide was knowledgeable, proud, and passionate about his country. He made the history of his country come alive to our students. Next on the schedule was a trip to the art and history museum, but like many other places that we have traveled on these trips...the posted hours were not the operational hours, so the only art and history that we could see was outside of the museum. We then took a short ride to the Parliament buildings. We walked around and took in the sights of the government buildings and courtyards.

Next we took a ride outside of the city to the Mokolodi Nature Reserve. We hopped onto open Jeeps and took off into the reserve. It was amazing to see impalas, ostrich, zebras, giraffes, wart hogs, cheetah, and an animal that looked like a large deer with huge ears. They were in their natural habitat and roaming freely. Thankfully, we stayed in the Jeep...until we were able to get out at the cheetah cage and pet Duma a cheetah that had been orphaned as a cub. As you can see from the pics, Duma became part of the team. At the end of our trip, the reserve had a table set up for us to eat lunch outside by the lake. It was a truly wonderful day, and we all enjoyed it immensely.

Tonight, we met in our groups to finalize our work for tomorrow. All of us are excited to get started on our service projects. Everyone is doing well.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

In Love with Southern Africa

I don't know how to describe how much I love Africa. This has been the experience of a life time. I have learned so much. It's funny how America is considered a melting pot, but I have never seen internationalism like southern Africa. There seems to be people from all around the world.

Quite a bit of randomness has taken place. I have been twice mistaken for and employee at two different establishments. I have been mistaken for a local twice. It has been a great experience. I could really see myself here for an extended period of time, but for now I will just enjoy my few days left.

Yes, I know this was kind of random and unfocused....

Omar Price
Education Team

Derby and Drumming

Derby celebrations may happen anywhere Louivillians gather...tonight was no exception. Even in Gaborone, we donned our Derby hats and picked our horses. Unfortunately, we didn't get to see the race, we sure had a good time.

After dinner, we wished Scott a HAPPY BIRTHDAY and participated in a drumming session with a trio of African drummers. Sitting around a fire with a full moon overhead, we learned to play drums and sing African chants. It was a great evening!

Communications Team