Sunday 16-06-2013: Meeting the former President of Botswana!

First of all, I must start this post off by wishing father dearest a BIG Happy Father’s Day from halfway around the world! I miss you (and the rest of the family!) so so much and hope your Sunday is/was amazing. I’m bummed that we weren’t able to Skype today, but as you will see, I was a tad busy meeting the former president of Botswana!

Alice and I decided to wake up again in time for breakfast (8:10). And we were so glad we did! Breakfast was eggs, bacon and toast – and although not Veritaffles, it was a very delicious way to start off a Sunday. Shortly after breakfast, Daniel and I met to plan our Form 3 maths class. We decided, for the sake of motivating the students, that we’d make a points system (called Key Points…get it?). Students can earn points for having a good day in class, winning a certain competition, or doing their homework exceptionally well. On our last day teaching the class, the students will be able to “trade in” their points for physical rewards such as airtime and candy.

After that, I had the rest of the morning relatively free (and the wifi was working nicely again!) so I was able to check email, update my blog, and upload some photos to Picasa web albums. After lunch, we had to get ready to meet the former president of Botswana!

Allow me to explain. Daniel and I were sitting in the library on Thursday when a man came up and introduced himself. He told us that he was a MaP alum (class of 2009) and when he saw our Core maths textbook sitting on the table, he laughed, saying he was once a core student himself (the dozen weakest students in a given grade). Now he is at university in England, and is hoping to get his MBA at Harvard sometime in the future. He was coming back to MaP basically to serve as an example to students – to show them that just because you’re in the core section now doesn’t mean you can’t succeed later.

On Friday, we just so happened to see Eno (the alum) again as we were walking to Choppies, and he casually remembered that Daniel was interested in politics and asked if we wanted to meet the former president of Botswana. Daniel agreed, thinking that this wouldn’t actually be a thing, and Eno and he exchanged phone numbers. Eno later called Daniel and told us to be ready to meet the president around 2pm on Sunday. Besides that, though, we didn’t really have any other details (how far away it was, where we were going to meet him, etc.)

It was all fairly sketchy, and we ended up just following Eno onto a combi (which are white vans that kind of act like a subway system around Bots, since each combi follows a certain route). We got off after three stops, and then walked for about 20 minutes. While I was a little nervous following a relative stranger down a random road, the fact that he was a MaP alum and that I was with the five other interns made it seem a bit safer.

Suddenly, we turned down another road, and came to a gated community. We stepped inside and there, sprawling in front of us, were the most beautiful houses I had seen in a long time. Eno beckoned for us to enter his house in the middle of the development. My jaw almost dropped as I stepped inside. It was crisp and white, with gorgeous Batswana crafts in every nook and cranny. The curtains were billowing in the wind, and past them was an even more beautiful outside patio and pool (which was covered, since it’s winter here!)

We then made small talk on the patio for a couple of minutes with Eno and his brothers. About ten minutes later, the second president of Botswana (who is Eno’s grandfather!) came out onto the patio. Quett Masire is an 87 year-old gentleman, but he is quite the spunky and intelligent man! We all formally introduced ourselves, going around the table (I was first!) and then Eno stuck out his hand and Mr. Masire swatted it away, saying “I don’t want to be introduced to you!” That definitely lightened the mood, and made us all feel a bit more relaxed.

From there, Mr. Masire gave us all a “brief” (30 minute) history of Botswana. We then were each able to ask him a question (I asked what was his proudest accomplishment in office and one thing he would have changed/done differently). He told me that he was proudest of getting Botswana to where it is now. Interestingly, he said that he would have added a dam to the Okavango delta (since the people of Maun now suffer a lot of water problems that probably could have been avoided with a dam, but he gave into peer pressure and didn’t allow the dam to be built during his presidency).

After that we were able to take quite a few solo and group shots with him. Some images can be found here: https://picasaweb.google.com/104071111771440864502/20130615FormerPresidentMasireAliceSPhotos#

All in all, it was such a cool experience! It’s little things like this that make me wonder – what if we hadn’t seen Eno in the library and chatted with him, and what if we hadn’t seen him on the way to Choppies? Sometimes life is just so serendipitous.

After that it was time for dinner. Then, it was off to Mr. Taylor’s house for a game of scrabble! I was in seventh heaven again because not only were there strawberries, but this time he also had raspberries! His house was relatively crowded (i.e. it wasn’t just him and us interns) since the Princeton fellows and some other faculty were also playing with us. Scrabble was a great way to end a great day.

TGT: 1) meeting Mr. Masire and hearing all he had to say 2) strawberries, raspberries, wine and cashews (literally what else do you need in this world?) at Mr. Taylor’s house 3) eggs for breakfast

Until next time,
~JK

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2 thoughts on “Sunday 16-06-2013: Meeting the former President of Botswana!

  1. Woahhh that’s so cool!!!! That must’ve been awesome meeting the former president!

    Wine again?? Really?!?! Wow heheheh 🙂

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