By Gwen Casey from Carleton College Around 6pm, as the sun becomes red from the dusty horizon, we all pile into 3 trucks and drive to an open savannah several kilometers away from our Kaziikini campsite. We are headed out…
In addition to the wildlife, this trip is a journey of growing close to a group of people in a way that feels so different from other relationships. We were all strangers when we met, only knowing each other’s names and universities. We still don’t know much about each other’s lives before this trip, but we know about each other’s reactions to camping, heat, bugs, and wildlife. That is to say we know each other emotionally even if we don’t know the conditions of others’ upbringing or grades in school. I like it this way.
, I reflected on this aspect of my time abroad because my overall experience in Botswana was far beyond what words can describe. The people of the Okavango Delta radiate warmth and care for their environment and all people they encounter, so if you’re considering this Round River program or visiting Botswana, I would encourage you to try and understand the people, wildlife, culture, and words that shape this beautiful country as it will give your experience even greater value.
The parents who taught me to fish loved sending me to study abroad in Botswana. They sent me down to the creek to grow up with crawdads and copperheads, so crocodiles were a natural progression. “Our daughter’s going to Africa!” they’d say to anyone who’d listen at the St. Louis, MO airport. I was their little fish swimming out to a big pond — a very big, very scary pond full of lions.
By August Tolzman of the University of Montana Our first community engagement day was my favorite day of the program so far. It started like any other day – we woke up with the sun, did our transect, and came…
By Marcus Demian of North Carolina State University Wednesday, February 1st: It feels like a lot happened today: up by 9:00 am in Johannesburg, ate quickly, managed to check into the Maun flight without getting there late despite confusing directions,…
We learned from the personal experiences of our guides, the community members, and from each other within our own group as well. The effort and care of everyone has been what made this experience so much more than just a study abroad program; so much more than just getting an education. Everyone offered us kinship, just as much as we offered it.
This group has flourished into something so incredibly unique, and I feel so grateful for each and every person involved. These folks have created an incredible experience that I’ll never forget. I felt more at home here in Botswana than I ever expected to, and that’s thanks to all the wonderful people that have contributed to this program and that I have been lucky enough to share this experience with.
Instead of asking how are you, our escort guides would ask, where are you? Are you here? Le teng? And in the bush, re teng. We are here. I think that phrase encapsulates our time at Mopane Camp. We are here, present in the moment, just us in the bush.
The stories told by these pans, I realized, would soon include our story; the 9 sets of sandal-tracks or bare footprints running through the open pan, stopping occasionally for photos or to look at an interesting animal track, reveling in the beauty of being surrounded by so little. We spent our time on the pan, reflecting, before loading into our trusty land cruisers and heading off to our next adventure.