Tourism and Tea Parties

Our first weekend in Botswana started off by going to Main Mall. Here vendors set up booths with many
sorts of goods from wood carvings to key chain, and candy to clothing and anything in between! Students explored the street and purchased souvenirs to bring home and remember the trip. Some super adventurous students even tried a traditional protein source, dry roasted caterpillar! See the Facebook page for the video! The afternoon brought more adventures as a group of students climbed Kgale Hill with the help of a guide, Ozzie. Don’t let the name fool you, this “hill” is a steep and high, rocky formation with a path that is just the same! The views at the top were definitely worth the work of the climb; you could see all of Gaborone and surrounding villages! JW, JH, Michelle and Molly also got to attend a fundraiser tea for Mariri clinic, a private Speech Therapy Clinic we will be visiting during our stay. Here they each were given the honor of speaking some and the Janices even got to choose the winner of the Mad Hatter Award! See the Facebook group for pictures from the tea! Stay tuned for more of our experience with the clinic!

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Last Day at Camp Hill

Friday was our last day at Camp Hill. We pulled up to camp and the young learners were lined up outside the auditorium, they filed in one by one, into their church service. While we may not have understood the words, the service was filled with beautiful singing from the staff and the children! (We have recordings but may not be able to attach currently.) The rest of the morning was spent observing and setting up for the afternoon of inservices. Lunch was extra special today! They prepared for us an array of traditional food including sorghum, spicy chicken stew, salted beef, and squash. It was a delicious treat, and a wonderful way to spend our last lunch in the tea garden! There were several inservices presented in the afternoon with the assistance of both Janices. Molly and Michelle spoke about communication, Thea discussed drooling, and Lauren introduced sensory integration. The group then split up as all of the students put together interactive stations for each of the senses! See the Facebook group for pictures! The presentations went great and the stations made the information fun for all! We learned a lot during our time at Camp Hill and hope that our inservices allowed them to learn a little from us as well.

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Camp Hill, Day 2

Sorry about some delaying the post, experiencing some technical difficulties!
Our second visit to Camp Hill got off to a heartwarming start as the younger learners saw the van and ran to meet us in the parking lot, waving and smiling the whole way! They then sang us some lovely songs to start their day. To hear for yourself, check out the video on the Facebook page! We then were given a tour of the pre-vocational and vocational side of camp where the older learners work on gardening, arts &crafts or learn about independence with money, transportation, sexual risk management, and so much more! For a reenactment of the tour through pictures, please check out our twitter feed @OhioUinBOTSWANA! Before breaking for lunch we discussed with some staff members about Camp Hill’s next steps, things they are trying or want to see, as well as things they may need to make the plans reality. We have already begun brainstorming more ideas as to how, not only our programs, but also the university can provide assistance. All looking towards a bright future! After another lovely lunch in the tea garden, we split into separate activities for the afternoon. Brenna and Kerry bravely started out the trip’s inservices to the staff with an interactive presentation on ergonomics and body mechanics. At the same time, Thea, Molly and Michelle performed hearing screenings for several children. All the while, other SPTs observed and conversed with Rebecca, the PT at Camp Hill as she treated patients and discussed what she is currently working on. It was very interesting to see what she can accomplish in a place with such limited resources. The day finished with a couple of the OU students playing futbol on a dirt pitch with the older learners! TJ even scored a goal!! All in all, it was a very productive and informative day while at the camp; the hard work continued through the evening meal and meeting so as to keep up the momentum and continue planning for our last day at camp!

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Camp Hill, Day 1

We have figured out the wifi! Well, sort of… It just doesn’t seem to work for us between 6pm and midnight, so during our meetings, convenient right?
(Before or after seems to be okay, but if you’re trying to message someone here, now you know, between noon and 6PM EST it may be hard!) Camp Hill is a program for children with special needs that provides education and vocational training. We’ll be spending a few days here, but touring and observing was on our agenda for today. As we arrived we see a picturesque camp, made up of a many different size and shape buildings with boldly colored murals surrounded by gardens of produce, on a backdrop of the hills around Otse Village and a bright blue sky. After a very brief meeting with some administrative staff, we spent the morning in classes with the learners as they were going over topics such as math, road signs, computers, and animals (kangaroos)! Lessons were taught using what resources were available as well as teachers using their creativity and the environment around them. There was also a break for play time… In a sea of smiles and laughter the OU students joined the children in the courtyard for catch, soccer, ring around the rosie, piggy-back rides and hand clap games. (Cue flashback to the days of recess!) Many children were fascinated with the nametags and our hair as we all played together. Lunch in the tea garden was prepared fresh from the gardens by older workers from the program. Here plans for the next few days of our visit at Camp Hill were discussed. This discussion continued at the group dinner/meeting where Kerry and TJ were able to make us tacos using a stove with only one burner that got hot enough and the microwave! Another successful meal! Looking forward to our next few days at Camp Hill and learning more about the similarities and differences between what we see here and and back home!

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No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency

One night in, nothing too unusual, except for TJ sleep walking… Today we started our trip with the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency Tour. For those of you who haven’t read the books or watch the TV series, No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency is the story of Precious Ramotswe and it is set here, in Gaborone. The tour started with some about the history of Botswana at the Three Chiefs Memorial, these chiefs petitioned for Botswana to remain a British protectorate until they were able to claim independence to prevent being given away to a greedy business man. Back to the book, we got to see the places that these stories took place in and hear about the people… Yes the guide stated that many of the people and stories are real, even if Mma Romatswe is not. We saw the corner plot on Zebra way, and the location of the Garage, we saw the church in which she got married and the malls and hospital she visited. Turns out her favorite cafe has been redone and is now actually the restaurant we ate at last night. The restaurant the tour took us to lunch was a wonderful cafe tucked into a garden equipped with verandah and jungle gym! Steph, Brenna and Thea were even befriended by a VERY outgoing toddler just a table away. Before heading back to the apartments we walked past the parliament building and through main mall, which we will go back to later this week to explore the vendors set up throughout the square. The Janices prepared family meal for the day, and yes, we are all proud of JH for successfully assisting with the dish despite her claims at being a poor cook. The adventure continues to Camp Hill tomorrow!

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Planes, planes, and automobiles

imageimageimageWe have arrived!! We were unable to post last night due to wifi issues, but we made it safe and sound! After over 24 hours of travel  (18 of which were in flight!) we finally made it to Botswana! During our long journey we started to make a list of all the little things we forgot, like shampoo or sweatpants or nametags… oh well!  The photos attached are: the group in JFK airport moments before boarding the flight to leave the country, the flight map displayed on screen only a few hours into the 14.5 hour flight, and the propeller plane we took from Johannesburg to Gaborone! And good news, the one piece of lost baggage is no longer MIA as of this post! After an adventurous van ride with 12 people plus luggage (human and suitcase Tetris) we got checked in at our apartments and got cleaned up. There was one minor smoky situation as JH’s hairdryer did not appreciate leaving the country, (but no worries, she explained our the motto of “be an oak not a willow”  be flexible and it decided to cooperate this morning!) Feeling refreshed, we went out and enjoyed a lovely dinner before settling in for a much needed sleep!   

The journey begins: July 27, 2014.

Students have been planning for months, and faculty have been working on setting up this trip for over a year! The flights are booked, the vaccines received and the presentations prepared. With passports in tow, the journey begins July 27th! The three week trip will be full of opportunities and scheduled events that will provide us insight into the healthcare system in Botswana and allow us to experience the unique culture of the wonderful country we are visiting. Follow us along the way on this blog, as well as on Facebook OU Botswana and twitter @OhioUinBOTSWANA

We're not in Athens anymore. Follow some Ohio University Physical Therapy Students and Speech Language Pathology Students as they experience life and the healthcare system in Botswana.