Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Picnic by the lake

So, after the hash, where I had whinged a little about being lonely and having little do do on a weekend, one of the guys phoned us on the way back into town and suggested we join him and the girls for a picnic. No idea where we were going. My mate, whose car we were using, got a little anxious about how far we were heading out of town.

Anyway, tootled along the Francistown Road (600 km to the North) but after 20 minutes turned left towards a village called Bokaa. What is there, we asked ourselves? The guy in the other car kept stopping and asking people for directions, which led us all over the village. Finally we saw the lake, but still could not get to it. When we asked again at a house, the woman there gave us her 15-year-old daughter (or sister) to show us the way. So young Keda joined us.....I was not at all sure about this, what with my work - how did the woman know that we were not child abductors/traffickers?  Finally found the lack and young Keda sat beside us, occasionally saying something. She was a lovely little girl (rather than young woman which some girls of that age might have been). It was very tempting to go into the lake, but Keda (and later her mother/sister who appeared looking for her - so she was worried after all) told us that there might be crocodiles in the water, although perhaps more at the far side. I'm afraid when I hear of crocodiles in the water I always think of that scene in the cartoon version of Peter Pan where the eyes pop up, one by one - so I only went in up to my ankles. The ground was a bit slimy and it might not have been nice to be unable to sprint out of the water. In any case, I think crocs can have a fair bit of speed on them in water....

It was interesting - we were there with some Cuban doctors, who are here as volunteers. Apparently there are lots of Cuban doctors in Botswana, and probably other African/Latin American countries as well.  Maybe Cuba gets some money for this, but it is so impressive that it sends its doctors all over the world. Cuba is well-known to run an excellent medical system on a shoe-string (if the string is long enough to close one shoe) - it may be propaganda, but this is just fine with me. (Much like El Sistema from Venezuela - if it does good to its own people and give benefits/pleasure to people in other parts of the world, why not. I wondered how able they might be to open a bank account here - the bank I opened an account with made me sign some thing about trading with unapproved countries, of which Cuba is bound to be one.  

It was an interesting outing, not least because I found myself as one of the three guys going out with three girls (plus young Keda) - I did wonder a bit how to handle this. Stuff to get used to, I suppose.

Learnt something else over the weekend, and just had a long conversation with my South African mate, who clearly did not understand what I was talking about (he's never lived in the North).  Sitting quite a bit in the garden, I was wondering about the path of the sun; I was totally bewildered in terms of the direction in which it was travelling.  Seems that in the South it travels also from the east to the west, but via the north!  I had never paid any attention to that in Australia. One lives and learns.