Our New Home in Botswana

When we drove away in the pickup truck with Tebogo we had no idea where we would go, and what our living conditions would be.  I really hoped we would have inside plumbing and water, but there were no guarantees.  I was encouraged by the fact that she was driving a late model pickup truck.  I began to feel even better when she waved at a row of stores and told us she owned them.  Then she told us about the very successful farm her husband ran outside of town.  We were driving on the small twisty dirt roads of Kanye, past homes of various size and shape.  Most were small and looked to only have two or three bedrooms.  Some were much smaller.  Occasionally we would pass a home with a pit latrine.  Mangy looking dogs trotted along, and cows and donkeys also walked loose, sometimes crossing the street and holding up traffic.

We turned into what was obviously a compound of some sort with a gate and walls.  A few hundred yards ahead we stopped at a nice home with flowers in front.  This was the home of Maatla, her son, his wife and three kids.  Their home had most of the modern conveniences and when we entered the living room and we met Tshepo with their new four-month old baby boy, Kyle.

We left and went on down the road a few hundred more yards and passed through a gate onto a paved circular driveway.  Ahead was a large house, with lots of windows and a sunroom, landscaped beautifully.  Tebogo stopped the truck, tooted her horn and we climbed out.

The circular driveway surrounded an island with a fountain and beautiful foliage.  We all got out and as we were complimenting her on the landscaping an old man walked up.  Tebogo introduced us to the gardener who smiled revealing three or four missing teeth.  His face had a lot of character, very lined, leathery and tired looking.  He was from Zimbabwe.

Tebogo took us on a tour of the house and grounds.  We had our own private bathroom with a flush toilet, and a small but serviceable bedroom.  We had full run of the house and kitchen.  Even though I did see a washing machine in the corner of the kitchen, Tebogo showed us the outdoor washbasins where we would be washing our clothes by hand.  (I think the Peace Corps tells the home stay families to make us wash our own clothes, and teach us how, should we have to do this at our permanent site).  She showed us where the water was heated in a huge basin and told us that the gardener would fetch hot water for us when we needed it to bath.  During this tour Tish and I were amazed at the house and exchanged glances.  This was better than we had expected, and we were relieved.

A few hours later after we had moved in and unpacked, Tebogo, Tish and I sat at a table and chairs beneath a huge beautiful shade tree and had tea and biscuits together.  It could be a lot worse.

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