Monday, December 31, 2007

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

I guess this is one place where the ambiguous but comprehensive "Seasons Greetings" would actually be appropriate, eh?

We made it back to Francistown, safe and sound. It was a great trip, got a lot done and had some relaxing together time as well. My second hot-country Christmas so far, definitely a different way to do it. And I do hope to type something up to share about this trip as well but trying to take today and tomorrow off. You know, national holiday and all.

You know, it seems like I have more actual things to do these days and, therefore, more things I could actually be blogging about. The irony is that doing things limits the amount of time I have to blog. This is compounded by not having consistent internet access. Sigh. I'm gong to have to work something out in the new year.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Far behind

Wow. I still haven't finished my report on the music camp. Sigh. Too much going on. I may just have to make a webpage devoted to it and link to that from the blog when it's complete.

We're getting ready to drive to Gumare, up in the northwest part of Botswana, for the Kamanakao writer's workshop. After that, we're driving out to Shakawe to spend Christmas with Tim Beckendorf, fellow LBT missionary. His family is still in the US, won't be joining him until January. We'll be back in Francistown (and therefore back online) sometime after December 27.

It's totally cold and rainy here today.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Still alive and kickin'

I know, I haven't blogged in ages. It's been a crazy few weeks. Blog postings are being drafted, though. I just was without my laptop for more than a week and a half. Here are some of the events that I'll be reporting on soon:

⥤ meeting with the Kamanakao cultural association in Gaborone
⥤ a rocking good time at Botswana Music Camp at Ramatea in Kanye
⥤ the weirdest feverish illness I've had in years (now all better, of course)

Stay tuned! I'd do something more post-wise now but I'm technically shabbatting today.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Public dancer

My roommate, Sophie, arrived after breakfast and settled into our room. At the morning camp choir rehearsal, Rob & I had our first experience learning music by sol-fa notation. The choir director, Charles Lesia, had composed a piece called Badisa which we would be doing the premiere performance of. The lyrics are in Shona.

This morning, I attended my first Afro-fusion, contemporary African dance class, led by Thabo Rapoo. Wow. It was awesome, in a painful, exasperating way. I was in tears by lunchtime. My initial reaction was one of dismayed horror at what I had gotten myself into. I was way out of my league, felt like I never should have been allowed to sign up for the course. I was torn between feeling guilty for being so inherently incompetent under the tutelage of someone who was obviously a national treasure and feeling blessed with the gift of a cultural experience so rich that I couldn't bear to let go, even at the cost of my own pride and physical comfort. My final reaction, after a day of processing and sporadic weeping, was that I couldn't let this opportunity pass me by. I would dance.

Each day, we had an appreciation class of about an hour. Today, I appreciated segaba, Rob's new instrument. It's complicated. I'll have Rob explain it.

After the evening's entertainment, more traditional dancing, I went exhausted to bed. I had been going to use a sore muscle soak that I had picked up in Gaborone (impulse purchase) but discovered, much to my chagrin, that the tub in our dorm was inoperable, missing faucet handles, big bugs crawling in it and having a drain clogged with sludge. So, I rubbed a little peppermint everywhere that hurt, which was everywhere.

To stave off mosquitos, even though we were told that there was no malaria locally, we rubbed Purification oil on our exposed areas and took garlic oil capsules. Seems to work.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Arriving at Botswana Music Camp

After lunch, we drove to Ramatea, near Kanye. Registration was scheduled for 2-6PM so we wanted to get there early. We arrived at 1:30PM and, except for a nun and a group of small children who appeared to be there for something other than the music camp, we were the only people there for a very long time. We set up camp in the reception area, where we suspected registration would happen, when it happened. It was a relaxing afternoon. When the director (Gaolape Bashui) and secretary arrived, they apologized for their lateness but we assured them that it had been a pleasant wait, no trouble at all. While waiting for them to get registration materials ready, we met a guitar player named Tshepiso and a marimba player, Stephen. We also met Stephen's sponsors, David & Ruth. They live in Gabane, just outside of Francistown, and they invited us to stop by anytime, gave us great directions. We chatted a bit and then registered. I got into dance and Rob was in the segaba class. We were escorted to our rooms but they weren't ready for us (still inhabited by the last group who had been there) so we went to wait for a few hours in a nearby building. I was thankful that I had brought a couple of books. Around the time that supper was to be served, we moved our things into our rooms. Rob met his roommate but mine hadn't arrived yet. We were amused to discover that we were placed in housing with the older people, mostly staff but some students as well. I said, “Older?” She asked, “How old are you?” When I replied that I was 33, she said, “Yes, you are old.” We laughed.

When we settled in and went for dinner, we found a crowd outside the dining hall, around the director. It seems that the camp facility had not prepared adequately for the arrival of the young students and many of the rooms that they were supposed to be occupying were locked, keys nowhere to be found. Those students would be sleeping in classrooms on mattresses that night. At dinner, we met a man who responded to my shake of his hand and statement of “I am Eshinee,” with “I am Wonderful,” gesturing to his nametag. After quickly reading that same information from his tag, there didn't seem to be much I could say other than, “Why, yes you are!” We all had a good laugh, the guys at the next table enquiring if that was his pickup line. After dinner, we went to the hall (a church-type building) and waited for leaders to come with a key to let us in. To make things more exciting, the power went just as we arrived at the building so we were waiting in complete darkness. However, most people had cellphones so they were being used for lighting while we waited. After finally getting into the building and taking our seats, the director gave us a quick intro to basic camp expectations and then got onto the evenings entertainment. Ah, the entertainment! It was great. I don't think that I'll ever tire of Botswana traditional dance. I was pretty tired by bedtime and slept well after killing the single mosquito that buzzed about the room.

Saturday, December 01, 2007


Went to see the movie Stardust in the afternoon. There is a movie theater in Francistown but the selection isn't what it is in Gaborone. They seem to show only one movie at a time at the Francistown theater so if it isn't our taste we're out of luck for movie watching.

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