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.

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