Sunday, January 8, 2012

Botswana - Taking It All In.

This is Part 2 of our trip to Botswana in December 2011. Part 1 is in the post before this.

It was fun to take it all in, truly fascinating and interesting....

A mud hut - apparently this type of roof is now expensive to make. Inside it is cool (cool, as in temperature. Well, cool as in awesome, too!) In the winter, around May - July, it is warm.

Wild flowers bloom nonchalantly here and there making a pretty picture in the midst of savannah scrub, Botswana's natural vegetation (geez, I'm beginning to sound like something on National Geographic).

Wha_?? Yes, THE Livingstone Memorial. Can you believe this? (However, I am not sure if this is the only memorial set up for Dr David Livingstone.)
"Britain wanted the body to give it a proper ceremony, but the tribe would not give his body to them. Finally they relented, but cut the heart out and put a note on the body that said, "You can have his body, but his heart belongs in Africa!"
We only passed by this spot but had we lingered here, I would have shed tears just at the thought of one person's sacrifice for a nation. And yes, we should take our hat off, Paul!

It seems like African guys usually have their hair cropped very short, while the ladies, even young girls, seem to place a lot of emphasis on their hair. In the town, you could find make-shift hairdressing spots with just chairs and tools set up under trees. There, several hairdressers will be busily braiding away!

Here's a family friend's young daughter who had hers done at home...this is art, I'm tellin' ya!

BFFs - my husband Paul, and Boago's father, Mr Matshuba - don't they look like brothers separated when young, discovering each other, and finally being reconciled across the continents! (I know, I have quite an imagination.) They are togged up like this for Christmas service in church. (Africans seem to dress up much more formally than we Malaysians do when attending church, and all the more at Christmas. So we followed suit. Geddit, geddit, followed suit? Sometimes I'm so funny I actually make myself laugh!)

We Malaysians are such a multi-racial bunch, our costumes are now such a (con-)fusion of everything. My daughter goes Chinese while I go Indian because we are both and neither at the same time.

The Matshubas. Esther (orange)is in a traditional African costume. I'm blinded by those flashin' teeth!

The stage backdrop of the church we attended (took about an hour to arrive in the town church) on Christmas day. These are pieces of cloth pulled taut and tied down.

Pizza joint in town for Christmas lunch!

Here are some other photos that I thought might interest you....

What did we eat in Botswana?

Look out for the next post!

If you have enjoyed this account of our trip, do write comments at the bottom of this blog post. I'd love to know what you think, and I do try to answer every one of them! (It takes me forever to upload photos/videos by the way.) Several of you have mentioned having problems getting your comments through, in which case, you can send me your comment through facebook or email and I will copy it here.
facebook: Valerene Matthews

Sunday, January 1, 2012

How we ended up in Botswana, Africa!

It all started with this guy......(love this photo of you, Boago! so handsome)

Boago is a student from Botswana. My husband and I first met him in church here in Malaysia, shortly after he arrived. This was about three years ago. We had offered to give him a ride home and we hit it off right away. He decided he'd 'adopt' us as his Malaysian parents.

My husband Paul, and me, in Botswana

These are his real parents in Botswana (in clothing brought over from Malaysia - how cute are they, holding hands and all?)....

As such, he was often invited to join us on the trips we planned in Malaysia, whether to the movies, hotsprings, Royal Selangor (pewter) showroom, Bird Park, a hot-air balloon ride, firefly sanctuary. We grew close with him. And we love him dearly.

Can you tell?

I even took him to the kindergarten where I once worked, for him to talk about his native country, teach an African song, and spend time with the kids. They loved him, too!

My friends became his friends...(oh! nice top, Huda)
He became my 'partner-in-crime'...

This is me with his sparring partner, my friend and 'personal nurse' who nags me to death to drink more water, Esther. Boago and Esther have this brother-sister love-hate relationship...
(Esther gave me leopard-print ear-rings for my birthday to wear to Botswana! heehee!)
But seriously, Boago is a fun-loving, gentle, friendly, teachable, talented, musically-inclined and most important of all, God-fearing young man.

Boago, you da man!

As my husband works with Malaysian Airlines (MAS), we get a 'free' ticket annually to any part of the world that MAS flies to. Only the youngest of our three kids is eligible for this free ticket too, since the other two are already working adults. We decided we'd go visit Boago's family for this year's trip, just recently in December 2011, and spend Christmas with them. Boago was also back there on semester break. It is an 11-hour flight to Johannesburg (the city that MAS flies to), and a 6-hour drive to Botswana.

Here are some quick photos on our trip.

This is the little village where Boago hails from, Mochudi. It is about a one-hour drive from the capital, Gaborone.

This large compound belongs to their family! The building on the right is the house, while the mud hut on the left (formerly their home) is now their kitchen. The foundation for a bigger house is being built in the foreground.

I wish I'd had the experience of staying in the mud hut when it was still their home.
From left: Esther (Boago's cousin), his mum, my husband Paul and our youngest daughter, Tammy.

Meals were in different spots each time, usually under the shadiest tree, and I loved that idea (tree-shades, geddit geddit?), and inside the house only when it rained.

As there wasn't enough room at their place for us to stay at, we were put up in this building, about an 8-minute walk away:
It's a hairdressing salon, not being used at the moment. All around were pictures of ladies in different hairstyles staring down at us - with the words "Dark and Lovely" appearing here and there, an advertisement for dark hair I presumed. This, I found quite amusing, as we in Malaysia have a brand name "Fair and Lovely" which is a facial cream that is supposed to make you fairer.

And so began our holiday. Tune in for Part 2 as soon as I look for some more photos....