2G of data is P399. No, please read that again and let it sink in. P399 is R502 South African Rands. Sure, I know one of the cardinal sins of travelling is converting all the time as this type of converting does not really reflect the correct picture of the value of the item. Being that as it may, P399 for mobile data is still a lot even in Pula standards. No, data must really fall. Anyway, needless to say, I have had to acquire home internet for P699 uncapped. I definitely feel the pinch. On the brighter and more necessary side of things though, petrol is affordable over here. A full tank cost me about R700 in South Africa and here only P350 or less, almost half of the value. Now that’s some data consolation.
Moving right along, my first month in Botswana has been quite busy. Work is full on speed; I have already been on a couple of work trips and my inbox is never empty. Transiting through OR Tambo makes me feel like so near yet so far. Working in an environment with people from all over the African continent is so exciting. At the end of my tenure here I should be fluent in Shona, Kalanga, French and Portuguese, so help me God :). Of course my mom would love for me to actually have a full-on conversation in Setswana which I am embarrassed to say I can’t at present, but yeah, pretty high language goals! I will let you know how that goes – so exciting… So the differences in the Setswana spoken here and in South Africa? Now that’s a whole new blog.
So, in one month, I have secured accommodation – tick, I have a Botswana mobile number – tick, I have found a shop that makes lovely smoothies – tick (although they open at 9am! Who opens shop at 9am?), I have a Botswana bank account – tick, and most importantly, everything around the city is generally under 20 minutes’ drive. My nickname over here is not Tumi but Boi. It was pretty strange in the beginning but I am so used to it by now so much so that when a person calls me Tumi then I know they must be South African.
My first Sunday here was so far my loneliest. I just wanted my mom’s food. Trying to find a place that sells homemade food hasn’t been easy. Most restaurants are closed on a Sunday. A lot of places like car dealerships, some banks and some estate agents do not work on weekends. WHAT?? This is honestly quite a culture shift. So everyone needs to find time during their busy week schedule to visit these offices as most aren’t open on a Saturday. Botswana is really alive with business opportunities. Batswana embrace resting. Perhaps a little too much resting but resting they do.
I have taken up running again. Lord help me be consistent this time around. My aim is to run at least 2 – 3 times per week. I have made contact with the lovely Shatiso who writes the blog (https://thegaboronerunner.com/) and passionate about running. Lord knows I need accountability here so I thank heavens for you girl. Here’s to more slashing of kilometres or miles.
Meeting the South African High Commissioner to Botswana, Commissioner Mdu Lembede and his Deputy, Minister Bulelwa Kiva was such a humbling experience and a highlight to my first week in Botswana. Such brilliant minds and so humble. Not that I have felt my safety threatened, but as I drove out of the High Commission, I couldn’t help but tear up. I felt like I was leaving home and going to face a tough world. Now I know where to go when I want to feel like home. Thanks to a colleague and fellow South African Maemo Machete who introduced me to the High Commission Staff and has been such a great brother and friend since my arrival.
Since I have been here I haven’t met a lot of South Africans so you should have seen my crazy excitement when I met Thato Molamu at a restaurant. Gosh! It was so refreshing to see someone from back home. You do not realize just how much you miss home until you see someone from home I tell you. Thato – Thanks for making my week :).
I am still searching for a church family. Finding a home to live in is so much easier than finding a church community. I really miss 3Ci. But God is really amazing here. I am excited about this new season of my life and trusting that God will plant me where I need to be. I know He seldom plants me where I want to be or where I am comfortable, but those places become great grounds of growth and service. So in this area, I relinquish all rights and wait for Him to lead. He’s proved to know best. If any of the readers know of a church to recommend in Gaborone, please feel free to share.
Apparently all those who visit Botswana fall in love with it. Since I am now sort of settled in, I have decided to do some touristy things at least once a month when I am not travelling for work. I also promise to take pictures which is not really my thing but hey, I will lose my inhibitions and give you a taste of Botswana.