Well, I have finally settled down to the business that brought me to Botswana. Today I officially started work with BONASO. This is a civil society (Non-government)organization that is the main coordinating network for HIV/AIDS civil society organizations in Botswana.
After being dropped off at my new place of employment by my personal taxi driver, Tabuche, I got to settle right in. Yes, I am a wimp but everyone agreed that after the painful combi experience that I was much better off hiring a personal taxi to drive me to and from work. Using the combination of combis and shared taxis was going to add up and take me over an hour to do the trip either way. This way I can come and go in about 20 minutes each way and the cost per day is $8.00. I would be insane to do combies for work; rather I will save them for weekend expeditions.
Back to work; I had gotten three opportunities over the past week to meet my new boss, Oscar. To say that he attempted to scare and intimidate me would be putting it mildly but apparently I passed the tests. First of all, last week I learned just how much competition that there had been for this position and that even though they had other qualified applicants, my resume and application was the first one that actually suited Oscar and the Board of Directors. Needless to say, I spent the next few days worrying about whether I could possibly live up to the standards expected of me.
Next came my official meeting with Oscar and my WUSC representatives. To say that Oscar has a personality similar to mine would not be wrong. In fact he is every bit as forthright and outspoken as I am. Should make for interesting work days! Several times during our meeting yesterday he asked if I was going to leave and go back to Canada. He had no idea who he was dealing with! He is now fully aware that I simply don’t turn tail and run no matter how big the challenge. In fact I relish challenges and this job will certainly be that.
Having gotten the scare tactics out of the way yesterday and my actually turning up for work today made for a great day! I now fully understand why I was chosen for the position and have already started to do my job which is exciting for a first day. My boss even took me for lunch which I can’t remember my old boss doing…..right Mike? You will hear lots more about the work that I will be doing in later posts. For now all you need to know is that I will be getting to learn the Botswana political and government scene very well.
The other important factor for today was that the temp actually reached at least 37 degrees. Even my colleagues who are used to this heat were complaining. For now I am temporarily using an office while mine is being ready. This temporary office doesn’t have air conditioning but my actual one will – thanks to WUSC it is part of my work agreement – love you WUSC! So as I sat there this afternoon at 3 o’clock I could feel the waves of heat roll in and then I checked the weather for PEI and saw that it was only 12 degrees there today and I was happy that I am here. Although it is hot, the heat really is manageable. It is a dry heat, no humidity this time of year. As long as you are not standing outside with no protection from the sun it really isn’t to bad. No really! It isn’t. It does get a little hot and oppressive inside buildings by 3 pm if there is no air conditioning. That is why we start work at 7:30.
Plus, my routine now is to come home and hop into the swimming pool here at my complex. After a half hour or so in the pool I am refreshed and revived, sort of and ready to tackle the rest of the day. It is a tough life in Botswana, isn’t it?
Next week I will be travelling with Oscar to Kasane, which is a remote region of Botswana. It is where four countries actually meet: Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Namibia. It is also the gateway to Chobe National Park – http://www.botswanatourism.co.bw/kasane.php or http://www.africatravelresource.com/africa/botswana/chobe/?gclid=COritvWm6rICFSfMtAodkDoAew
*Please keep in mind when I am travelling next week from Wednesday to Sunday that I won’t be able to post as my access to internet will be difficult to manage, however I promise to post lots of pictures and stories as Oscar has promised me time to enjoy some the sights between our busy work schedule.
Travelling around will very much be part of my job so I will really get to explore this country to the fullest which means that you get to enjoy through the blog. I guess that I had better keep my small suitcase out and ready to pack on short notice.