For her Spring 2009 Co-op work term, Kaleigh Banister is working in Gabarone, Botswana with the Cancer Association of Botswana.
On Saturday January 31st, I attended a cultural event called Son of the Soil. When I first arrived I was offered breakfast that consisted of chicken necks, chicken feet and “magwinya”, also known as a fat cake. Wondering what a fat cake is? It is like a doughnut, a sweet deep fried batter, the only difference being that there is no icing and no hole in the middle. While we were eating breakfast, all the women began dancing and singing as a truck began backing in with two large barrels in the back. We asked what was in the barrels and, well, it was a reason to celebrate as the barrels were filled with the local homemade beer called “shake shake”.
After breakfast I got right into helping. Most of the girls helped wash the dishes but I found something WAY more exciting to help with. What did I do? I helped kill, skin, gut, cut up and cook a goat! I know some of you are sitting there ready to vomit but that is the way of life in the villages here and it’s basically how all you meat eaters get your dinner. The main difference is that at home everyone wants the best cut of meat but here nothing is wasted - most of the innards and all the meat is eaten. I had first hand experience of this when I was given the still warm liver of the goat and asked to cook it. Well, I am not a fan of liver and I must say that I did not try the finished product.
Around lunch time the “shake shake” was being served so I decided to give it a shot. It smelled not so good, tasted sour and was warm. The rest of the day was spent playing games, watching traditional dancing, eating and listening to a choir competition.
The following weekend was one of the volunteers’ 21st birthday and to make it special we rented a chalet at the local game reserve, Mokolodi. The chalet was beautiful. It overlooked the watering hole and we could sit on the porch watching the animals drink from it at night.
On Saturday, we hiked a mountain in the reserve called Magic Mountain. It was a tiring six hour hike but the view was worth it! When we finished the hike we were walking to the ‘road’ so a safari jeep could pick us up and as we were coming out of the bush we saw a giraffe standing right there! It was one of the coolest experiences ever we stood there for twenty minutes just watching him and he was just watching us!
Stay tuned for future entries in Kaleigh’s Work Term in Gabarone series.
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