Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Vice President and the Motswedi Rehabilitation Center

The last day of this campaign was a busy one. In the morning we visited the office of the Vice President of Botswana to discuss the work we had been doing to eradicate malaria. Our group consisted of the Alexander Dawson team, Mr. Hamaluba and the student leader of the GSS team, Benson. Once we had checked into the building we were escorted to a very nice room to wait for our meeting. While we were waiting we discussed the agenda for our meeting with the private secretary for the President and Vice President. He was a wonderful man who had been following our work over the past three years and was very interested in this years campaign. Later the Assistant Secretary of Education came in to wait for his meeting. We had an opportunity to inform him of our work and to discuss education and the importance of global learning. After he left the Presidents brother who is also a cabinet member came in and we had a nice discussion with him. So, while we were waiting to meet with the Vice President we had an opportunity to meet all of these other interesting people involved in the Botswana government. Our meeting with the Vice President also went well. Each of the teachers and students had an opportunity to speak. The students represented their schools very well by clearly expressing what they had learned and why this is so important for building bridges between our countries. After the Vice President spoke we had tea and cookies before taking a few pictures and then moving on to our next appointment at the Motswedi Rehabilitation Center. Motswedi is a school for children with mental and physical challenges. We brought soft toys for the school to use in its’ classrooms. The Head Teacher explained that they are very important for their lessons and much too expensive for them to buy. This was a very moving experience and a wonderful way for us to conclude the campaign.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Back from Tsau - A successful campaign!

We arrived back from Tsau on Friday night after a 10 hour bus ride. Everyone traveled well and had a good time. On our first day in Maun we visited with the Director of Public Health for the Maun district along with some Health workers from the villages. He explained how their malaria prevention program was organized and how it had been progressing over the past 10 years. Then he told the group which families in the village we would be distributing nets to. Since many families already owned nets we were asked to give nets to orphans, the destitute and the disabled. In the afternoon we drove to Tsau and visited the Chief to plan for the Kjotla. Wednesday night we got into our camp after dark, made a fire and cooked meat for dinner. A traditional Braai!
On Thursday morning we drove to Tsau and found everyone waiting for us at the Kjotla. The ceremony started right away, with Benson and Christiana acting as the Directors of Ceremonies. There were many speakers including Mr. Hamluba, Mr. Meyers, Marci and Kutlo. It was nice to have so many students and teachers involved in the program. The local choir performed and the nets were formally presented to the health workers. Following this we divided into three groups consisting of 3 students, a teacher and a local citizen, who would show us the homes that were supposed to receive nets. This was by all accounts a tremendous success and a wonderful experience for us all. The people in the village greeted us warmly and made us very comfortable as we discussed malaria with them. Please see the pictures in the slide show on the sidebar.

Monday, July 20, 2009

GSS and Dawson Students Meet to Plan for the trip to Tsau

The GSS and Dawson students that will travel to Tsau village met for the first time today to plan the trip. There will be 7 students from GSS and 2 from Dawson making the trip. The group discussed the malaria information that they will convey to people in the village during the campaign. They also set up a mosquito net so that they will feel comfortable demonstrating this to people when they are in their homes. Once we had covered the malaria information we discussed the program for the Kjotla (village meeting). Everyone was assigned a responsibility for the program and we discussed how the GSS students would have to translate for the Dawson speakers since many people in the village only speak Setswana. The students then divided themselves into the groups that will travel together distributing nets and educating the people during the campaign. Lastly we worked out the logistics for sleeping and eating in the campground where we will be staying in Maun. The campground has tents with cots in them that accommodate two people and a fire pit where we can cook dinner. When we were finished we all went for a walk in town to get some air and then back to the school for lunch. It was a great day and we are all excited to leave tomorrow for the trip north!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Dawson group arrives in Gaborone

After a long flight the group from the Alexander Dawson School in Colorado arrived in Gaborone, Botswana. They were met by Mr. Tommie Hamaluba, the host families and students from Gaborone Secondary School. On Saturday and Sunday the students relaxed with their hosts and toured Gaborone. On Monday we will all meet to discuss the trip to the village of Tsao and the malaria campaign that we will conduct on Thursday.

Students Collaborate to Fight Malaria in Botswana

The Tsao Village will be the site for the 3rd annual Malaria Eradication Campaign conducted by the Gaborone Secondary School (GSS) and the Alexander Dawson School (ADS). The first campaign was in the village of Gumare in the Okavango Delta region and last year was Lesoma village in the Chobe region of Botswana. Tsao is also in the Okavango region where the incidence of malaria is very high and most people cannot afford the cost of a mosquito net for their beds.

Malaria is a disease that can be prevented with education, nets and medicine. The students from GSS and ADS, along with their teachers Tommie Hamaluba and Bill Meyers, will distribute nets and discuss methods to prevent this terrible disease as they go house to house through the village.

We hope that you will follow the campaign postings on this blog and participate with us by adding your comments.