Postcards From Botswana 2 - The Kalahari Desert in the Summertime

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Postcards From Botswana 2 - The Kalahari Desert in the Summertime

By: Kayla Donnawell | International Co-op Student
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Currently Kayla newest co-op experience is in Africa volunteering with the Students Without Borders program.  In this article, the second in a series, Kayla shares her insights, experiences and reflections of working in a Hospice with HIV/AIDS patients in Gaborone, Botswana.

I had this rather horrifying experience on the weekend. It started out simple enough, lying on my couch mid-day reading. At some point, I couldn't tell you when, I just sort of passed out. There was no sleep deprivation or drinking of any sort happening, it was the strangest thing, I was there, but not really there at all...when I opened my eyes, I was still lying in the exact same spot (profusely sweating), but felt like I was physically unable to move.

Re-reading this last paragraph, it sounds like I was fed some sort of date rape drug, but the truth of the matter was that is was so hot it my house, that it actually caused me to lose consciousness. It was the strangest thing I have ever experienced; it was like being caught in a state somewhere between consciousness and unconsciousness. I wanted to move, but just couldn't. My roommate described the exact same experience, so we checked the temperature...it was 47 degrees Celsius in our house, and it had already began to cool off. So I am guessing it was well over fifty during the hottest point of the day...isn't that crazy!!! So again, I ask myself why I decided to visit the Kalahari desert in the middle of summer?

Here is Gabs, a cold shower is not the punishment you get for being the last one to get to the shower, and it is the best part of your day. It is about the only 2 minutes of your day that you don't sweat profusely! At least the Matswana (singular version of Batswana) are finding it a little warm also, so I don't feel like such a whimp. Dad, I think this is the one time in my life I won't argue with you about turning up the thermostat!!

Other craziness that has filled the past few week...

  1. I rolled my ankle...this made me realize how much I love walking (even though it is always sweltering hot). It's not too bad, but it sure slowed me down a lot.
  2. I had my wallet stolen...somehow traveling to a foreign country just isn't traveling if you aren't pick-pocketed at least once...let's hope it's only once. On the plus side, none of my ID or anything was in my wallet, so I only lost cash...could have been worse
  3. I attended a local cultural event. It was really interesting to learn more about Tswana culture. I got to sample some traditional food. Pap (cooked maize flour), beans, chicken feet, cooked caterpillars (otherwise known as Kalahari prawns), and cow intestine...thank goodness I'm a vegetarian.

Beyond The Article

Posted on March 07, 2011