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31 posts categorized "Gaborone Global"

Go Siame (Goodbye) For Now

Wrapping up our time here in Botswana! Although the official focus was on the final project presentations, we spent most of our time reminiscing on the wonderful times we have had here in Gaborone, and throughout Botswana. We will never forget the memories that we made here. From the home-stays to the camping to the wildlife, we have had such a unique experience that will forever impact our perspectives on the world. And we made some life long friends along the way! Botswana we will miss you <3 GO SIAME!

Final Group Presentations:

Endangered Species
Elephant Migration





 xo Jing & Jari 

Rhinos, Giraffes, Hippos & Elephants Oh My!

We’re back! Had a busy last week here in Botswana! 

Day 13:

  • Met at UB to drive to Serowe (on our way to Khama Rhino Sanctuary)
  • Game Drive (afternoon)
  • Settling into “dorms”

Day 14:

  • Time to work on group project (with wifi!)
  • Game Drive (morning)
  • SOS Community orphanage visit (drum show)
  • Dinner back at Khama Rhino



Day 15:

  • Drive to Maun (5 hours)
  • Boat Drive on the Thamalakane River
  • Dinner (food poisoning)


Day 16:

  • Woke up early (with many sick people)
  • Drove to airport in Maun and took small (6 person) planes into the Delta!
  • Got settled into our accommodations at Oddballs Camp
  • Short nature walk (for those not sick)
  • Dinner


Day 17:

  • Most everyone felt better today!!
  • Woke up and had breakfast
  • Look a boat ride on a “Mokoro” (similar to a canoe) into the bush and walked about 10km!
  • Lunch
  • Departed for the local village that many of the guides from Oddballs were from there
  • Dinner
Oddball's staff wrote us notes in butter (for every meal)
Students talking with guides at Oddball about their final projects


**Mokoro's are made out of sausage trees. They take about 3 months to make, but can last up to 40 years! 
Day 18:
  • Woke up and had breakfast
  • Boat ride and nature walk in the bush
  • Brought lunch and picnic’ed in the Delta
  • Students and 1 program leader (can you guess which one?) swam in the Delta and practiced “rowing” the mokoro’s by themselves
  • Dinner
You can't tell, but Zebras are behind us!
Lily Flower

*These flowers can be made into necklaces, which are traditionally used in proposals! 



Day 19:

  • Travel day (8 hour drive)
  • Flew from Oddballs camp back to Maun
  • Shopped at some craft stores close to the airport
  • Drive from Maun to UB
  • Dinner with home stays

Up next: Last blog post -- final project presentations and farewell dinner :( 

Holy Impala!

We’ve had a pretty packed couple of days spent at the Mokolodi nature Reserve, about 20 minutes outside of Gaborone.

Day 10: Started the day off at UB’s campus

  • Drove to Mokolodi and immediately went on a 2 hour nature walk
  • Had lunch in the middle of the “bush”
  • First Game Drive! (We saw impala, giraffes, kudu, zebra, warthog, ostrich, wildebeest)
  • Went back to our campsite, did some work on final projects
  • Had a braai!


White Rhino's (Mom and Son)




Day 11:

  • Woke up, had breakfast at the campsite
  • 8am game drive
  • Animal feeding 
  • Lunch lakeside
  • Visited the Reptile park and heard a lecture on humans and their interactions with wildlife
  • Went back to the campsite to hang and have a braai
    • Mokolodi’s conservation manager also came to the braai and answered questions people had about wildlife, challenges of conservation etc.


Day 12: Our busiest day yet (in my opinion)

  • Woke up at 5am
  • Hiked the Kgale mountain and watched the sunrise over the city
    • Our guide at Mokolodi didn’t think we’d be able to finish the hike in under 2.5 hours---we finished it in 1 hour
  • Came back to Mokolodi for breakfast
  • Headed to David Livingstone Memorial and toured the site (about a 7 km walk)
    • He was a missionary/explorer and helped to found the first church in Botswana in 1847.
    • Saw the remains of the church, his house and a cemetery where his youngest daughter and wife were buried.
    • Also walked to the Kolobeng River
  • From there we headed to Motse Lodge and Cultural Center where students ate lunch and were able to do a few different activities
    • Make phaphatha (similar to a flat pita bread) made up of dough, water and salt. Often eaten with eggs in the am. We had some for lunch with shredded pork, cheese and scrambled eggs
    • Help to stamp corn
    • Learn how they create mud walls (it has to be done every year because the rainy season destroys them)
    • Donkey rides
    • Milking goats
  • From there we drive back to UB where our host families met us.
Kgale Mountain
Milking a goat!


Kolobeng River


Winnowing (separating grain and husk)


**This will be the last post until next week. We are off to…..

  • Serowe to visit the Khama Rhino Sanctuary
  • Maun (this is where we’ll catch a flight into the Okavango Delta)
  • Oddballs campsite in the Delta

We’ll be returning the night of June 29th. We’ll have limited Wi-Fi throughout the week so communication will be sparse!


Jing & Jari

Two Posts in One Day!

Had an eventful afternoon so wanted to share a little more before we lose wifi! 

Ate at Riverwalk, the local mall closest to the University. After spending a fair amount of time at Riverwalk over the past week people's favorite restaurant quickly became Mugg&Bean (America's Starbuck, but more food oriented). 

Our home away from home.

After lunch we were running a little early (which NEVER happens) and decided to make a pit stop after lunch at Somarelang Tikologo, the NGO that group 3 did their presentation on earlier in the day! 

Cool to see an organization and talk with the leader of it, after just having learned about it! She spoke about the issues relating to recycling within Botswana...

  • People still see waste as just waste, with no potential for other things 
  • Only about 6% of Batswanan's even recycle 
  • On site there was a recycling place where people could come, drop off plastic and paper and organize it themselves
  • There was also an eco-friendly restaurant/ cafe and a kids playground made out of recycled materials 
    • Ironically, all of our "kids" immediately wanted to play on the playground (although it was quite obvious our weight limits were a little too much) 


Once back at the University we met with representatives from Cheetah Conservation Botswana (CCB), a local NGO whose mission is to "maintain population of free ranging cheetahs and other predators in coexistence with communities, as an integral part of ecosystems in Botswana." 

For more info check out cheetahbotswana.org

Okay get ready for a lot of notes! The talk was super interesting, everyone was super engaged and asking all kinds of questions!  

Founded in 2003. Work towards mission using three different strategies... (more details below of strategies, if you're interested). 

  1. Scientific Research
  2. Community Outreach
  3. Education

Some fun facts! 

  • Worldwide only 7,000 cheetahs remain (2,000 of which are in Botswana --> second highest cheetah population)
    • Highest cheetah population is in Namibia (3,500)
  • 100 years ago there were 100,00 cheetahs (worldwide)
  • 10 years ago 12,000 cheetahs (worldwide)
  • Cheetahs are the fastest land mammal in the world
    • 120km/hour = 74 miles/hour
    • 5 meters/second = 96 feet/second
  • Female cheetahs are solitary
    • Except when they have cubs (up to 8 at a time), cubs remain with mother until 18 months --> rare for cubs to live long enough to become mature and independent
  • Males are in “packs” of 3 or 4
  • Cheetahs are day hunters – they can hunt at night but choose to hunt during the day, it lessens the competition with other carnivores (lions, hyenas, leopards)
  • 40% of Botswana is protected land (game drives, nature reserves)
  1. Scientific research
    1. Motion camera traps – helps keep track of the population of cheetahs (hard to follow them)
    2. Scat analysis – looking at scat samples in order to figure out diet of cheetahs
      1. This research was completed in 2014 and found that only 6% of cheetahs were eating livestock, a misconception believed by farmers. Hopefully these stats will lessen the amount of cheetah deaths by humans.
    3. Cheetah spots – help to keep track of cheetah population
    4. Collar/GPS to track cheetah movements – collars have SD cards and navigational signals that are sent to CCB centers
    5. Spoor (footprints) – determine cheetah occupancy in certain areas – helps to determine where to put motion camera traps
  2. Community Outreach
    1. Farmer workshops
    2. Peer to peer learning so farmers feel a sense of ownership of helping to converse cheetah population (as opposed to an NGO coming in and telling them what to do)
    3. Cattle security dogs – train dogs to help keep cattle together and away from prey
  3. Education
    1. School talks and visits – talk about heritage, importance of conservation
    2. Bush camps – invite students to come to villages for 3-4 days
    3. Teacher training workshops come, come together to figure out ways to incorporate carnivore conservation into national curriculum


Group photo with Professor KB and the presenters from CCB



Group Presentations & Updates from Weekend with Home stays!

Day 6 & 7: With Host Families! 

*Things to keep in mind:

  • Cattle posts=farms
  • Braai=Cookout/BBQ/potluck 

Eliza- Braai at Mma Bianca's house (CIEE Home Stay coordinator), local radio & tv station, game park 

Eliza's Botswana 869
Eliza's Botswana 869
Eliza's Botswana 869
Eliza's Botswana 869

Emily- Watched her host sisters basketball game and dance recital & visited the game park 

Emily's Botswana 539
Emily's Botswana 539
Emily's Botswana 539
Emily's Botswana 539
Emily's Botswana 539

Alex- Cattle post & animal park, military base (with a farm on it!) & family's village


Sour milk
Will- Local radio/tv station, played softball with host family 


















            With his softball "team." Someone kicked a ball so hard it dented his metal water bottle (I told him it'd be a good story/memory to share once home) 

Abby- family's village 

Sitting around a kgolta (it's a place meant for men so she's technically breaking the rules--but her host mom took the photo so I think it's okay)

Jack & Amelia - visited the game park, went to church and visited with Abby at her home stay  

Someone got Jack to go to church!
Amelia's family's church
Jack's church (he doesn't know what specific type--sorry)
With Amelia's Host Mom <3
Amelia's idea of heaven (visiting Abby at her home stay with her family's SEVEN dogs)

Antonio- braai with host family, drove at night and looked at the stars (got a little lost along the way) 

Braai with Tony's host family
Little guy patiently waiting...20170617_082939

Jing & Jari- Went to game city and wrote postcards home, attended the braai at Mma Bianca's house, drove with some of the college summer abroad students to Kanye (a village about 2 hours outside of the city) to drop them off at their home stays for the week, visited a temple and had dinner there

This is Pelo. It means "heart" in Setswana. She's Base's daughter. Base is the program coordinator here (we all love her). 
Can you guess whose tiny shoes those are?
I wonder if Kanye will ever go to Kanye.

Purity- bonding time with family, went to see Serefina (a documentary on the African Child Day) at the movies. (No photos--sorry!) 

Chloe & Katie- went to see Serefina (a documentary on the African Child Day) at the movies, shopping at Game City, braai with extended families, ice cream! (No photos--sorry!) 

Day 8: Back at UB to present group projects! 

 Told you I'd update you on the group projects! 

Group 1: Kalahari Conservation Society (Will, Abby, Emily & Purity) 

  • Founded by a group of tourists and supported by President in 1982
  • Largest game reserve in the country
  • "Kalahari" means "Great thirst"
  • Oldest environmental NGO in Botswana 
  • Runs on grants and personal donations 
  • Located in Block 398 
  • Challenges since opening
    • Limited rural areas     

File_001Group 2: BirdLife Botswana (Eliza, Amelia, Chloe & Jack) 

  • 1980 BirdLife became a club
  • By 2000 it was an official organization acknowledged by the government 
  • 25% of land in Botswana is registered as "bird reserves" 
    • Largest wetlands are in the northern part of country; the Delta and Chobe. (We'll visit the Delta!) 
  • Challenges 
    • High rates of developing land is taking away habitat for most birds (majority nest on the ground)
      • Cattle and elephant migration destroy nests/ kill non-matured birds before they are able to lay eggs 
    • Increased use of fertilizer/pesticides 
    • Lots of birds are killed for medicinal purposes, game/sport/fun 
    • 582 bird species identified 
    • Club also runs programs in schools to education youth on poaching/ spreading and raising awareness 

File_001Group 3: Somarelang Tikologo (Antonio, Katie & Alex)

  • NGO founded in 1991, mission is to help increase recycling efforts and waste management 
  • Founded by 3 UB lecturers 
  • Help support and share the idea of Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. 
  • They have an onsite recycling system that people can drop off plastic waste (at no charge). Waste is then transported to Zimbabwe or South Africa. 
  • Goal is to develop an eco park! 


Lastly, we're heading to Mokolodi (a village about 30 minutes outside of Gaborone) early Tuesday morning. We'll be camping (don't worry if they didn't bing a sleeping bag--we'll have massive amounts of blankets), going on nature walks and game drives, visiting a reptile park with snakes and cheetahs (no idea why cheetahs are considered reptiles but we'll got with it), having dinner by the fire, and NO WIFI.

  • We'll return to the city late on Thursday (about 5pm our time) so don't be alarmed if you don't hear from your kiddos. We'll try to post something Thursday night on the blog but no guarantee (depends how late we get in/ how sleepy I am). 
  • We leave early Friday AM for 7 days on the road, visiting the delta and other areas of Botswana. Wifi will be sporadic for the next week but students will be back at their home stays the night of June 29th. 
  • Jari and I will make sure to tell students tonight to check in with you all before we leave! Everyone is super excited to see some wildlife and be away from the city and wifi for a little. Lots of bonding time to come! 

xo Jing & Jari 

Soil Day & Some History

Day 5: 

  • Soil lecture on formation, composition, properties, types and impact erosion has on the city
  • Lunch at Airport Junction (all the vegetarians were happy) 
  • Field Work in Block 7 

Students were asked to bring in soil samples from near their home stays to later test for composition, pH levels (acidity) etc.  IMG_6236

Some may or may not have forgotten to bring soil from their home stays so used samples from the UB campus






















On our way to lunch we stopped at Botswana Craft so students could pick up some post cards! (So if you're reading this you may be getting something in the mail soon)

**Keep in mind the mail system isn't as speedy as in the US, so our goal is to have post cards beat the students home (if possible). 

Field Work: We drove to Block 7 (about 15 minutes from UB's campus) and looked around at some of the classic examples of soil erosion affecting the city. In Botswana there is no such thing as the suburbs, just cities and villages. Professor KB explained to students some of the major ways people try to limit erosion...

  • put rocks/ gravel over soil 
  • have driveways that are less sloped 
  • planting (the roots help to keep soil in place)
  • create a diversion channel (helps act as a pathway for water during the rainy season so water isn't swept away) 
    • Out in villages/on farms, they are called diversion channels, but in the city they are just plain "ditches." 
Sadly since this ditch isn't made of cement, it's filled with sediment and sand and not kept up, so eventually it will become useless. 
End of a ditch where all the water is collectedIMG_6236

After we got back to UB students has some time to work on their small group projects for Monday. Students were given specific organizations within Botswana that deal with wildlife conservation and were asked to create a presentation sharing important things they learned through their research to the rest of the group. 

Group 1: Kalahari Conservation Society

Group 2: BirdLife Botswana 

Group 3: Somarelang Tikologo 

**You'll have to wait till Monday to read more about them! 

As we were waiting outside for home stay parents to pick up students, they were all in a group and walked up to some local UB students and started talking. Melted my heart a little bit. 

THIS is my kind of "group chat"
And we wouldn't be American if one of us didn't bring out the selfie stick

Sadly some of us missed the group photo because they were doing this...(Eliza and Emily too)

A Little History of June 16th, 1976: This was the beginning of the student uprising in Soweto, South Africa, sparked by thousands of students demand's for classes to be taught in their native language Africaan (not solely English). And for better quality education. This 1/2 mile march and protest ended in over 100 student deaths and thousands injured. Since 1991, all of Africa, thanks to the Organization of African Unity (OAU) has celebrated and honored those who participate in the uprising. This day also raises awareness for the continued need for quality education that is provided to all African children.  

*Some students went with their host families/ siblings to see a viewing of Serefina, a documentary based on this historical event! Many movie theaters across Africa were playing this film free of charge on its anniversary. 

Lastly, it's Friday so students have the weekend "off" to do things with their host families. Some are going to villages to meet extended family members, church services, game parks, farms and cattle posts etc. Depends on the family so we'll post some pictures once everyone returns from the weekend! 


Jing & Jari 

Ga Go Na Mathata!

Go go na mathata--sound familiar? It means no worries!

*(Ha ku na mathata is in Swahili, Ga go na mathata is in Setswana) 

We are all slowly adapting to the phrase, not worrying too much about the little things, focusing on all the great things we are able to experience here together! 

Day 4: 

  • Site visit to the Gaborone Dam
  • Lunch at Riverwalk (a local mall) 
  • Our last Setswana Language class 
    • Also got to learn a little more about the political and educational system here! Lots of good questions were being asked. (The teacher in me is proud!) 

History of the Dam: Built in 1969, it's currently the second largest dam in Botswana! 

Professor KB told us that last year the dam was at 2% capacity, but there was a major storm recently and within 3 months it rose to 100% capacity! We got lucky and were able to see the dam when it was full! 

  • Deepest point is only 10 meters (about 32 feet) deep so it's relatively shallow for a dam which means some water is lost due to evaporation. 
  • There is three years of water supply for the country without any in flow (and taking into account evaporation)! 
Skipping rocks IMG_6182 
Emily leading the day into the dam!
Program Leaders (No one fell in so mission accomplished!)
These are the best kind of lectures!



We love group pics! <3
You're technically not supposed to have boats in the dam...but I bet the views are gorgeous!
Learning more about the history of the dam with one of Professor KB


Setswana Class: Mma Phono, our Setswana teacher has a special way of teaching us thats differs from how most of us learn languages in the States. We are used to focusing on grammar and writing, before we start speaking. Mma Phono flips that process so we focus solely on speaking first. She asked everyone to refrain from taking notes, and reetsa (listen). After a lot of reetsa, we then practiced bua (speaking). Though it was hard not to take notes, it was eventually so effective, we were coming up with our own sentences without looking at our notebooks! We got one step closer to becoming batswana.


What is your name? (Leina la gago ke mang?)

Where are you from? (O tswa kae?)  

And what about you? (Wena o  tswa kae?) 

I am from America, America, America.  (Ke tswa ko Amerika, Amerika, Amerika)

And what about you? (Wena o  tswa kae?) 

Political Opinions: Mma Phono talked to us about about the opinion of the current Botswana President Ian Khama, elected in 2008. Terms last 5 years, for a maximum of 2--so an election year is coming up! 

  • Villagers are pretty impressed with his presidency, he is focused on limiting the migration of villagers into the city, trying to make possible for people living outside of the city to have all the resources they need where they are. He's also created a program for young people, specifically females, to apply for loans/grants funded by the government to start business ventures closer to their homes. 
    • Local government outside of cities are run by chiefs, sons are born into it if their fathers hold the position. A few daughters have become chiefs too! (but only after the death of a male sibling).  
    • Almost has the first female president, but she didn't have enough constituents in Parliament backing her :( 

Educational System: Students begin with Standard 1-7 (the equivalent to grades in the US) starting at age 7. This is known as primary school. 

  • At the end of Standard 7, students are given a cumulative exam (Standard 1-7). It is pass/ fail and determines if you move onto Form 1-3 (known as Junior Secondary School).  
    • You get one chance to pass it, if you fail, you do not continue on in your education, instead you are sent to vocational school to learn a craft and go into the workforce. (Talk about some pressure!) They used to allow you to take it twice, but not anymore. 
  • If you pass the standard 7 exam, you move onto Form 1-3. At the end of each year there is another cumulative exam, and again, if you fail you don't move on. 
  • Form 3-5 are called Senior Secondary School. 
  • If you pass form 5, you are able to attend the University of Botswana. If you get a 38 or higher on your exam, the government will pay for your schooling. (It's out of 48 points-- that means you need to pass by about 80%). 



Hi everyone! 

In our first few days we learned some local greetings, "dumela" is the most popular greeting! It means good day. 

We've been quite busy in the last few days going through orientation, getting to know our host families and learning more about the history of the city and how to get around! 

Everyone is getting along well and adjusting to life!

Day 1:

  • Orientation
  • Lunch at Botswana Craft
  • Local Dance Workshop 
Yoga @ Botswana Craft (1)
A little yoga after lunch
Yoga @ Botswana Craft (1)
First group photo!!! (And I didn't even ask them to put their arms around each other--that's how great everyone is getting along :)
Lunch at Botswana Craft
Dance Workshop!
IMG_6118Alex made a friend waiting outside of University of Botswana (UB)

Day 2: 

  • Academic Orientation
  • Lunch at local mall & money exchange 
  • Setswana Language Class
    • I am motswana - A singular person from Botswana.

    • People of Botswana are : Batswana. 

    • Langauge and Culture of Botswana is: Setswana.

  • Amazing Race around the city! 
On the combi!

We visited Three Chiefs Monument! (most visited tourist attraction in Botswana).  IMG_6118Khama III, Sebele I and Bakwena - the three tribal chiefs responsible for assisting in the independence of Botswana. It was created and displayed in September 2005.  

A little history: The three chiefs went to Great Britain in 1895 to ask Queen Victoria to be separated from Cecil Rhode's Rhodesia (modern day Zimbabwe and Botswana) and the British Protectorate. Rhode's leadership was highly racially segregated and his interest in Botswana was solely business. His dream was to create a railroad system that stretched from South Africa to Zimbabwe.  By 1966 Botswana gained their independence. A few years after their independence, Botswana learned of the diamond mines which HUGELY impacted their economic structure. 

Right next to the monument, there are additional statues with different Setswana words. The plagues explain their meanings and when the words were created. 

Here's a photo of the group next to the term "Maikarabelo" meaning Global Responsibility, created in 1930s-1940s. "Batswana fought alongside allied forces for freedom and against racism." The group thought it was fitting to pose next to this one. 

IMG_6118Botswana celebrated 50 years of independence last year! 

Day 3: 

  • 1st Lecture on Conservation Basics
  • 1st Water Quality Lab 
  • Lunch 
  • Visit to Rainbow High School (& a basketball game) 

Photos below are from the Water Quality Lab! IMG_6138



Rainbow High School basketball game, we lost 15-12.  IMG_6168



Jing & Jari 


Botswana Bound!

Hi everyone! 

After a long 36 hours (or more) of traveling we have all finally made it to Botswana! Our homestay families met us at the airport and everyone headed home soon after for some much needed rest before orientation tomorrow at the University of Botswana! Bright and early at 8am.  

It's pretty clear at this point that Jari and I are documenting most (if not all) moments so everyone now just expects us to always be taking photos :) Students have already kindly given our photo taking a phrase..."mom photos." 

So..below are a few of the first mom photos of the trip! 


Waiting for take off @ JFK 

IMG_6053Group photo @ JFK

Will meets UsWeekly


JFK ---> J'burg
IMG_6064My guess, they're half excited for the trip, and half excited because this the last flight of the day! 


11760108_10204530332520802_4800592078676716431_nHello Everyone!

My name is Jarildy L. Javier but I go by Jari (which rhymes with Dottie)! I am going to be one of your leaders for your upcoming trip to Gaborone. I grew up in NYC, went to high school in Boston, went to college in Maine (go Colby!) and live an hour upstate of the NYC right now. I know, lots of New England.

After graduation I was a camp counselor at Center for Talented Youth at Johns Hopkins. Then I went to Thessaloniki, Greece for 6 months working as a STEM Education fellow at a boarding school there. I have traveled to the Dominican Republic, Belize, Ecuador, Ghana and Greece but never Botswana, and I am excited to go on this adventure with y'all. 

I am especially excited to be able to talk about the theme of our Global Discover program: wildlife conservation! We are about to go to one of Africa's most diverse and beautiful countries. So there is going to be a lot to talk about and lots of opportunities to see what you learn in class in real life.

Make sure you start packing soon, check your packing list twice and get excited! If you are worried/stressed/freaking out (both participants and parents) take a deep breath. All of us, me, Jing, the resident staff on site, and all of CIEE, have worked and will continue working hard to make sure this experience is safe, fun, exciting and memorable for everyone! 

See y'all soon :)


Jari L. Javier

P.S. The picture above is of me making some friends outside the Kakum National Forest in Ghana (2015). Disclaimer: This was done with a professional present. Don't we will not be touching wildlife on the program! :)