The power of girls

I consider myself one of the luckiest people in the World for many different reasons but today I only want to focus on one!  The amazing women in my life!

I am not sure how I am so blessed in the girlfriend department. In fact most of my life I have had far more male friends than female. I guess that was a factor of being first a tomboy and then working in the political/legislative realm for so long. Yet today I have a plethora of female friends around the world who are truly amazing and make a huge difference in my life.

This my tribute to my “Sistas” here in Africa. Thanks to many of them although some deserted me and went out of town ūüė¶ ¬†I had an absolutely fantastic long weekend, one in which I was really too busy to even write a blog or two ūüôā

I have to be careful how I do this as I don’t want to offend any of them as they all hold equal affection in my heart!

Jetske, the esteemed Counsel may have ventured to South Africa for the Easter weekend for a well-deserved break with Peter but she left me with an apartment full of animals to keep my company. The whole lot which occupied my bedroom or kitchen at various times of the weekend. And whenever I dare depart the yard were all waiting faithfully by the gate for my return. In fact, upon my return home Saturday night my late night driver Tshepo, who always pulls into the yard to let me out and watches to ensure I make it to my apartment safely was astonished by the welcoming committee. Normally Dottie, the dog and Gabby, the cat are comfortably asleep when I wander home late on the weekend. Only my night owl/pussy, Cleopatra is usually waiting for my return. Saturday night I had a full greek chorus upon my return.

Without my pool buddy, Jetske I had to find other poolside buddies to hang out with. The weekend started off with poolside time with my friend Erin and a make-shift bikini! Followed by pool time on Saturday with my friends Naki and Moira. ¬†Poor Buche had the misfortune on Saturday of visiting me on my terrace when my girlfriends arrived. I truly felt sorry for the poor man being caught in a gaggle of women. Although with Naki’s arrival he was able to check out the truck in which I have now begun to travel around in the back of through Gaborone. His assessment of both Naki and the truck was that he was satisfied that I was in good hands ūüôā

Saturday night was dinner and fun with my friend Agatha and her teenage daughter. Buche dropped me of for my dinner date and Tshepo was ecstatic to get my call for late night pick up. He thought that I had abandoned him this weekend so was happy to come speeding to my pick up.

Sunday was some more time hanging out with girlfriends and drinking tea with Tanyala on the back stoep before she & I ¬†attempted to clean up my apartment so it didn’t¬†visibly¬†look like the cat lady had officially taken up residence.

Monday wrapped up with a visit with and dinner out with my friend Nono. Thanks to her nagging about my jeans being two sizes too big for me I had gone to the Levi store last week and bought a pair of kick-ass jeans! I couldn’t wait to show them off to her and now I know that I am officially ready for Friday night’s big event of dancing at Botswanacraft to the sounds of Freshly Ground. Nono has assured me that I am likely to have a dearth of male attention wearing my sexy new jeans!

While I truly miss my many girlfriends back in Canada, I am incredibly blessed with the new girlfriends that have come into my life since arriving in Gaborone. Jetske, Erin, Sheila, Nono, Naki, Agatha, Moira….the list is really too long to complete and I am afraid to leave someone out. Thank you to each and everyone of you! You ¬†have made Gaborone very special for me including teaching me a new way to celebrate Halloween, dancing in the rain in a parking lot, riding around in the back of the “Bucket”, grilling want to be suitors and most importantly, laughing with me almost each and every day! And I have plans for even more fun, just you wait ūüôā

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Power outages, clothing malfunctions and food preparation

What do these things have in common you might ask?

Well, I will happily explain. Gaborone continues to be plagued by power outages. In fact, my area went with out power both Sunday and Monday evenings. Dealing with these power outages has now become just a matter of fact for me and I am sure many other residents of Gaborone. You either prepare your food in advance so that you can eat when you are hungry or wait until the power comes back on close to 9:00 pm. As for grocery shopping and keeping meat and other¬†perishables¬†in the fridge/freezer you don’t even bother. There is absolutely no point wasting your money on a week’s worth of food that is dependent on a fridge/freezer. This does however make for an interesting diet which could be a blog post in and of itself!

Fortunately our access to water has not been cut again in the evenings for the past week….knock on wood! Hope that I haven’t jinxed that ūüôā

Although we are technically into the autumn season here in Southern Africa the¬†temperatures¬†still climb to the mid 30’s or higher almost every day. For a few nights during the last week or so it was cooler in the evenings and earlier mornings. However, the day time highs and lack of rain continue to make it feel like we are still in the midst of summer. Other than a slightly cooler breeze there is no¬†noticeable¬†sign that fall and winter are on its way to Botswana. Except Jetske threatening to close down my pool….mean woman!

With these high temperatures, I continue to dress as simply as possible, especially when I am at home in Peter’s Place. This usually means wearing as little as possible, meaning a tank top and a kanga or piece of cloth wrapped around my waist. I know, I said that I am now living in a diplomatic enclave and it has become even more so as our newest resident is here from Britain on a diplomatic mission working with the President’s Office on Poverty Reduction. So I should be more civilized in my dress code. Ha! Fat Chance! If African women can dress like that than I can too!

However, I have to admit that wearing a piece of cloth wrapped around your waist with NO fasteners can have challenges. Even with an ample waist and hips for the material to cling to, if you are at all active while wearing this¬†ensemble¬†then you can guarantee slippage. Fortunately I have gotten adapt at catching it before disaster occurs and rapidly resettling the material so there are no outright clothing malfunctions. EXCEPT…….

This is where the three merge……

Lately, I have been doing a lot of baking and cooking that requires the regular size oven in the main house. Thankfully, Peter and Jetske are so wonderfully¬†accommodating of allowing me to wander in and out of their kitchen as if I actually live there ūüôā¬†¬†While there is not much distance between my apartment and the back door of their house when you are attired in only a piece of cloth around your hips and carrying baking dishes or a chicken to be roasted there can be a slight problem with walking too briskly or not briskly enough if you know what I mean!

A perfect example of this happened Sunday evening. Jetske was in South Africa visiting her dad so I was being a good tenant and cooked a lovely roast chicken dinner for Peter and I. Everything was proceeding as planned when I was hit with a double whammy….first the power decided that it was time for a break – fortunately my chicken, potatoes and veggies were close enough to being cooked that the remaining heat would finish the meal off. But I hadn’t made my gravy for the mashed potatoes yet and as my family members will tell you….I will not eat boiled potatoes without gravy….I pride myself on my gravy making abilities….which are so much better than my mother’s! Right Mom!

Never one to accept simple defeat I quickly swung into action…in more ways than one. The burners in my apartment were still hot from cooking the veggies so I knew that if I could get the chicken fat into a pan along with flour that I could at least some kind of gravy made. Hell bent on getting to the main house and draining the fat out of the chicken so I could get back to my kitchen while the heat of the burner was still lingering I strode just a little too briskly….and down came my piece of cloth covering my bottom half.

Now this is not the first time that this has happened to me. I had a similar incident the late afternoon that I baked the blueberry muffins. I found that I have a whole new dexterity of being able to carry a large heavy bowl and baking implements while still utilizing my elbows to prevent a total clothing malfunction.

However on Sunday night thanks to the power outage and Peter not having had a chance to turn the generator on as yet, I opted for the complete clothing malfunction in the semi dark so that I could make my gravy….how is that for priorities?

In the end, all was well! The gravy turned fabulous even if I do say so myself. No one witnessed my semi-nude streak between houses and Peter & I enjoyed a lovely roast chicken dinner by lamp light! Just proving that almost any odds can be conquered if you are determined enough.

A Perfect Day!

Today was a very special day for me and I wasn’t going to post anything but I have to share with everyone how special the day has truly been for me!

Today I turned 48 years old and while I have had some wonderful birthdays in my life, including spending my 40th in Scotland and England, today has risen to the top only below my 23rd birthday spent living in Paris.

What made this birthday so special was lots of love and attention from those who are part of my life both here in Botswana and back home in Canada.

It started with the care package extraordinaire from my parents that arrived early (in record time) back the first of March. Not only did this care package contain the chocolate chips that made Buche’s birthday so special it also contained presents for me. I am not a real fan of presents as my family and close friends will tell you. In fact my present from my parents has sat on my desk here at home ever since it arrived more than two weeks ago. The card was opened immediately and prominently displayed so I could see it every day. The present was opened tonight and contained wonderful goodies. Just what I needed. And I have been feasting on my York¬†Peppermint¬†patties all last night and today too!

Best of all, my parents me an email that arrived shortly after midnight my time so they were the first to wish me happy birthday today…considering that they were both there when I came into the world 48 years ago..it was kind of nice!

My very good friend Mike Wedge has been emailing me wonderful (except for one very weird one!)¬†YouTube¬†clips all week of many different renditions of Happy Birthday. I wasn’t sure how he was going to beat the Darth Varder clip that he sent yesterday so I challenged him that the one he sent on my birthday had better be special! Well, he really out did himself!

If you have been reading this blog you know that I love to dance. Mike knows this fact well as he has had to accompany on many occasions as I danced my toes off even keeping him out way past his bedtime. Well the video that arrived in my inbox this morning was truly perfect – it was a dancing chicken! Here is the link is you want to watch it too –

http://youtu.be/2nXrnoD4BYo

I watched it at 5:45 am this morning and I swear that all my neighbours heard me  laughing as I did! It was wonderful!

Next came my morning ride with Buche! Well, lets just say that it was special even though my Mother had made me promise to stop tormenting him about the female traffic cop. In fact, he is laughing even harder at me trying to keep my mouth shut when we drive by her.

The next phase of festivities came when Lawrence and I had to go out to accomplish some tasks. The poor man knew that my birthday was some day this week but I would not for the life of me confess when. He has seen some the videos that Mike has been sending me so he was attempting to wrangle the truth out of me and today in the car, he finally did! He immediately sang me happy birthday as he was driving and then took me for a wonderful lunch. I still have my piece of carrot cake to eat.

It simply amazes me that I can very¬†publicly¬†beat this poor man and yet he is still not only willing but eager to go in public with me! As we drove today, we both remarked on how I walked into his office almost six months ago and he was this very quiet, hard working finance officer who barely laughed. Now he survives public¬†humiliation¬†and laughs about it. In fact we laugh all day long. He claims that the changes I have wrought in him was like changing him from a “pastor to a serial killer” – his words exactly.¬†

When I said that I didn’t think that I actually turned him into a murder, he simply stated that he was using such a huge contrast to show what a difference that I have made in him. He is my best friend here and I simply don’t know how I would cope with out him. And quiet frankly, you can’t hang out any amount of time with me without laughing and experiencing more than a little chaos or unconventional behaviour. He has risen to that challenge and actually seems to be thriving because of it.

After an afternoon of numerous and wonderful birthday greeting rolling in from around the world on a slow and frustrating internet connection it was time to go home. When I told Buche that Lawrence was back in the lead in the contest to be my¬†favourite¬†man in Botswana, he calmly stated “Not for long”!

Never one to be outdone, he told me that we were going to his house before he took me home for my birthday present! So home I went with him. Once there he, his wife and daughter along with Princess presented me with my birthday presents which included a beautiful bouquet of flowers and Belgium chocolates which I promptly told him we were eating for breakfast in the car tomorrow morning.

My Birthday bouquet
My Beautiful Birthday bouquet

 

As he was dropping me off, Jetske was leaving a birthday present on the table on my patio. So of course I had to take it to the stoop and open it with her and Peter present. And then to my utter surprise came Tanalya, our wonderful housekeeper with a present for me as well. So you can only imagine how wonderful I feel! I got a wonderful tea pot with a filter to brew my David’s Tea in and Tanalya gave me Chinese Tea! Such wonderful thoughtful presents, I truly feel overwhelmed by it all.

Following a swim with Jetske, who remarked that only in Africa could I swim outside on my birthday at 6:00 pm in the evening, I joined Peter & Jetske for dinner after cramming in a call with my Mom.

So as you can see, I have had a truly remarkable birthday thanks to wonderful family and friends all around the World! Thank you to everyone who took the time to email me, send me special packages and remembered my birthday even though I am half way around the World from you! I am so touched by your thoughtfulness.

And to my new family here in Botswana and Tanzania! Thank you for giving me a birthday that I will remember for the rest of my life!

 

 

I am forgiven!

It is amazing what a good batch of homemade buttermilk blueberry muffins can accomplish!

I learned early in life that the way to a man’s heart was definitely through his stomach and no truer statement exists.

One of the reasons that I need groceries yesterday and why the basket was so heavy is that I knew that I was going to bake blueberry muffins last night. I had gotten fat succulent blueberries at¬†Woolworth’ s¬†on Friday and was eager to use them to bake up some yummy muffins. With all of the power outages that we are enduring it is impossible to keep meat or things like buttermilk in the fridge. You can only buy stuff that you are going to use up right away or risk having to throw it away when it sits without¬†refrigeration¬†for a day.

So after tormenting Buche all the way home, I immediately set to work whipping up a nice batch of blueberry muffins made with buttermilk. Of course, my kitchen is not equipped for baking so I need to make the very short trek to Peter & Jetske’s kitchen to use the big oven to bake in. While the muffins were baking, Jetske, Peter and I were catching up on the stoop. We had gone all weekend with really seeing each other…Peter was concerned Saturday morning that I was dead in my bed as he didn’t see me. What he hadn’t realized was that I had¬†exited out of the gate early without him knowing ūüôā

The socializing continued long after the muffins were out of the oven and cooled so all in all a wonderful way to spend the evening. Buche even got his muffins fresh last night when he came to Peter’s Place to pick up another resident. This morning he was all smiles and grateful for the yummy muffins. He also told me that even without the bribe I would have been welcomed back into the car this morning.

So all is forgiven…we were later in our routine this morning so didn’t see Ms. Traffic Cop…let’s see how the drive home goes…I still have the love note to throw out the window ūüôā

Happy Birthday to Tabuche!

Today is my patron Saint’s birthday!

What does one give a Saint as a present?¬†The planning for his birthday actually began a couple of months ago. Thanks to the wonderful assistance of my parents items that I needed to create a wonderful present for him were sent from Canada. All I needed was the cooperation of the “Gods” so that the parcel from Canada would arrive on time.

Both Tabuche and I eagerly awaited the arrival of this particular package as I disclosed to him about 6 weeks ago what I had planned as his very special birthday present. He was as excited about it as I was. So last week I had a flurry of mail arrive which in and of itself creates excitement in my life. Somehow there is nothing like getting mail, whether it is a simple card or a package containing some special gift. They are all wonderful to get and the notification that I have mail waiting sets off a wonderful feeling of anticipation and excitement to see just who it is from and what it is.

I digress. Sorry!

So last week I received three different notifications that I had mail waiting for me. Luckily one of those pieces of mail was the eagerly awaited care package from my parents. And what a goody bag it was. Not only did it contain the precious items needed to make my Saint’s birthday present but it also contained goodies for me! Along with a bag of the highly anticipated Chocolate Mint Rooibos tea from David’s Tea (it is so yummy and worth waiting for!!!) the package also contained my very¬†favourite¬†chocolate treat – York Peppermint Patties.

It was Lawrence who took me to the parcel outlet of the Gaborone post office to collect this oversize parcel. Having retrieved the said parcel while he was officially taking care of some business at FHI I retreated to our project truck to open it. Which was no mean feat as my mother had securely taped it shut so well that without scissors it took a whole lot of will power and determination to crack that sucker open. Never one to lack either of those attributes and a heavy dose of persistence, the box was eventually partially opened.

Shifting through the contents and a heady sense of¬†exhilaration I first made sure that what I needed for Tabuche’s present was in fact inside. Then I just couldn’t resist….I just had to eat a york peppermint patty.¬†¬†There was no waiting. ¬†No sooner had I opened it and popped it into my mouth and was savouring every second of it melting in my mouth than I was caught red handed. Sitting in my seat, no doubt looking like the cat that swallowed the canary, Lawrence swung into the truck’s driver seat. One look at my face and he immediately knew that I was guilty of something! I¬†had no choice but to disclose my source of addiction and ultimate pleasure…York Peppermint patties.

With my mouth still somewhat occupied, I attempted to explain to Lawrence my source of happiness. Well, there was nothing else that I could do but actually share one with him. Now this took a great deal of effort on my part. I absolutely love York Peppermint patties and they are no where to be found on the Continent of Africa so now that I have a small supply it actually took great charity on my part to share. However, I did ensure that Lawrence understood that he would get one and “one only”. My extent of sharing stopped at that! Unlike Tabuche, I am certainly not a Saint. So now Lawrence knows the secret to improving my mood (just feed me one peppermint patty and I am instantly happy) and that even my love and adoration has limits.

So what was the other contents of these wonderful care package that held the secret ingredients for Tabuche’s present! Well, it was chocolate chips of course. Another item that can not be found on the Continent of Africa. Thanks to my wonderful parents, I was able to bake a batch of chocolate chip cookies last night. Tabuche has never in his life tasted chocolate chip cookies but he was been eagerly anticipating trying them for the past six weeks. I hope that he enjoys them as they were baked with lots of care,took the cooperation of people from two continents to make along with the use of Peter and Jetske’s kitchen.

So Happy Birthday Tabuche! You truly deserve a birthday present that took lots of planning, the luck of the “gods” and helping hands to make. It is my small way of saying thank you for taking such good care of me each and every day, including making me laugh on a daily basis even when you know that I am frustrated beyond belief. You make my drive to and from work along with other outings truly special times for me and no combie ride could ever replace my getting to sit next to you every day!

Rain maker!

Fun times in Botswana… a chaotic week of power outages, thunder storms and downed internet connections. Welcome to Africa!

And I am partially to blame.

How you might ask? Well, the week started off hot and very dry. While we are still in the rainy season we haven’t received much rain at all. With the days becoming¬†noticeably¬†shorter and cooler weather early in the mornings hinting at the onset of fall the end of rainy season is in sight.

Unfortunately, many parts of Botswana are still experience drought like conditions. Rivers are low or non-existent. The water in the Gaborone Dam is also low. Rain is desperately needed before fall comes here in Botswana.

So never one to sit back and be in active, I decided to take matters into my own hands this week. Part of my daily ritual with Tabuche is serious discussion about the weather. And early in the week we both noted how dry and parched everything appeared. On a couple of past occasions I have teased him that I would do a rain dance to encourage Mother Nature to open up the heavens.

It is no secret that I love to dance with or without music. I have been known to break out into spontaneous dance pretty much every where you can imagine especially if I hear music with a good beat. Africa is a continent full of music with good beats so I am pretty much tempted to dance all of the time. So developing a rain dance really was no issue for me.

With Tabuche’s encouragement I set out to do exactly that. Following a particularly hot day on Tuesday, a dunk in the pool to cool off and a weather forecast that held no sign of rain I took matters into my own hands. Having worked in politics for 20 some years and being involved in political campaigns for politicians at all levels, the term “Rain Maker” actually held a completely different meaning for me. “Rain making” in politics is a science, skill and definitely an expertise. So applying the same logic to encouraging Mother Nature made sense to me.

All of the locals here talk about the fact that in order for it to rain it must be hot, the clouds must be coming in from the right direction and that they have to look a certain way. Tabuche and Jetske are cloud experts who almost always accurately predict whether the looming clouds over head are indeed rain clouds.

Defying all of their logic and knowledge, I let the music inspire me and sent up my silent plea for rain. Well, as luck would have it contrary to weather predictions we actually experienced a small shower that night. The following morning a grinning Tabuche congratulated me on my ability to generate the shower and encouraged me to keep dancing.

Not a difficult task for me so I really threw myself into on Thursday and lo and behold, that afternoon as all of Gaborone was suffering through power outage (load shedding) that dragged on for almost 10 hours, the sky filled with the sound of thunder rumbling. Unlike Canada, where the thunder and lightening are quickly followed by downpours of rain, here in Botswana the thunder and lightening can continue for hours before any rain makes its appearance. At about 9 pm as the power was making a come back here, the sky finally opened up and throughout the night it showered off and on.

Feeling really cocky the next morning I was resoundingly told by Peter and Jetske that I actually needed to dance faster as my efforts still weren’t producing the¬†quantity¬†of rain required. Tabuche, of course, was far more supportive of my efforts. His response was that now I had proven rain making abilities, I needed to keep it up! Talk about pressure.

So Friday afternoon as consuming way too much lunch and needing to burn some energy Lawrence and Masego at the office encouraged me to dance with Mother Nature again…and down came the rain.

Now I am just trying to decide how I can market my new talent. I wonder who would pay me to do my “rain dance”?

Fat Cakes!

Yippee!!!

I finally got to taste a well known Botswana delicacy called a fat cake.

My first taste of Fat Cake!
My first taste of Fat Cake!

A Fat Cake or as it is referred to in local languages , Magwinya, is a dough fried in oil. It is considered a fast food here in Sub Sahara Africa and I have been hearing for months how yummy they are.

So having spent almost five months here without tasting it, I took matters into my own hands as you can see above. Our office staff has an amazing cook and baker in it’s¬†midst. Masego is our operational support assistant who recently won a South Africa magazine’s recipe contest. There was no one better to go to with my quest to taste the best fat cake.

Masego - the best cook in Gaborone!
Masego – the best cook in Gaborone!

Hoping that she would simply tell me where to go to buy the best, she instead generously offered to make some for me. Due to the power outages all week – the power went off again mid-afternoon yesterday and did not come back on until after 9 pm last night – she couldn’t bake. So this morning she got up at 5 am to make them for me!

All I can say is that it was delicious and I will probably never taste another while I am here as I am positive that they will not live up to the yummy batch she made for the office. Once you have tasted the best, why eat ones that aren’t!

So Masego, Thank you so very much for graciously preparing fat cakes for me. The wait was truly worth it!

Post Script: ¬†AND here is Masego’s recipe for Fat Cakes

250g flour
1 sachet of yeast
100g sugar
5g salt
oil for frying
luke warm water
mix  all the ingredients with luke warm water, mix till the dough is very soft
Bring oil to stove, when its really hot, cutyour dough in to ring, size doesnt matter, put the dough in hot oil, keeping turning when it turns light brown, remove when its brownish.
enjoy, nice with soup*:) happy

Dqae Qare San Lodge

So my weekend in the Bush was spent at Dqae Qare San Lodge ( http://www.dqae.org/).

It is a beautiful lodge which is actually owned and run by the San people (or as they prefer to be called, Bush men). It was located down a 10 km long sand track and the lodge actually sits on a 7500 hectares (18,500 acres) protected game reserve and includes a wide variety of game including giraffe, eland, zebra, wildebeest, hartebeest, kudu, impala, warthog and other small game.  It also has a number of cheetah plus leopard and brown hyena.

 

The road to the Lodge
The road to the Lodge

The lodge has no electricity but does have a solar powered generator that they turn on for a couple hours most days. The rooms we were in were spacious and lots of candles to light at night as the generator always went off at 10 pm!

The Lodge
The Lodge

And I just have to post it again! I need to build Lawrence’s capacity to pack lighter for the bush ūüôā I could pack lighter too, if I didn’t need sun protection lotion & insect repellent. But at least I can still squeeze everything into a small suitcase…shoes and all…I still don’t know what all he had in his LARGE suitcase.

Who says girls pack more than guys?????
Who says girls pack more than guys?????

 

From my room, I could lie in my bed with the large wooden door (top half ) open and watch the watering hole which was about 50 metres from my room. In fact, I left the top half of my door open a lot and I was informed that at night I really needed to keep it closed as any kind of game could actually wander into my room including the cheetahs, which I heard from my room one night but didn’t see.

The watering hole from my room!
The watering hole from my room!

While the campers had hot water, for some reasons the hot water in the rooms was not functioning so I got to have cold showers every day which do cool you down in the extreme heat. My only problem was that I forgot to bring shampoo and had to go three days without washing my fine hair! But no one seemed to notice but me.

However, the space that I was facilitating was what presented the biggest challenge. It was a beautiful open space that was used as a lounge/dining area. It was basically wide open to the perusal and just dropping by of the wild game!

The Conference Centre
The Conference Centre
Strategic Planning in full swing
Strategic Planning in full swing

 

A Facilitator in action!
A Facilitator in action!

So you can see – no walls! I actually sent the flip chart behind flying over the wall at least three times. Saying that working in the room was challenge was an understatement. My next posting will be all about that! Facilitating in the Bush.

We also had a swimming pool which I of course headed for when I could. I even taught Mr Zimbabwe how to actually swim. And no, he didn’t have a swimsuit in that HUGE suitcase but he bought some in Ghantzi.

To learn to swim he needed the motivation in the cooler!
To learn to swim he needed the motivation in the cooler!
Proof that my capacity building skills include swim instructor
Proof that my capacity building skills include swim instructor

 

Okay, unfortunately that is all I have time to write today…the social butterfly is off for a posh dinner at the Grand Palm!

 

 

I love the Kalahari!

Well, I have returned home yet again! You know when I said that I was in the bush a couple weeks ago in Zanzibar, Botswana…well, that wasn’t really the bush at all.

This time I was truly in the bush! Staying at the only Bushman Lodge in Botswana run by the oldest race of people on this earth. It was truly a wonderful experience and I have lots of stories to tell  but right now I am simply exhausted from a very long 9 days straight of working and being on the go. So I will reserve my stories until tomorrow except that I will leave you with these two pictures to wet your appetite.

Who says girls pack more than guys?????
Who says girls pack more than guys?????

Check out the size of the two suitcases that were taken to the Dkar Lodge…mine is on the left and Lawrence’s was the BIGGER one on the right. He begged and pleaded with me not to post the picture but guess what, it didn’t work. I just want it to be noted that as a female accused of becoming a princess since arriving in Botswana, I still do not pack more than some guys that I know.

And, this picture just about says it all…Facilitating in the bush comes with a whole new set of skills to add to my resume including allowing the participation of Ostrich in the proceedings…Man, I love Africa!

Guess who came for Strategic Planning?
Guess who came for Strategic Planning?

Living with Royality

I am now living in an official Diplomatic enclave! ¬†The flag has been hoisted –

The Netherlands flag
The Netherlands flag

 

The shields are up –

 

Embassy Row
Embassy Row

 

Consulate Office
Consulate Office

 

It is now official, Jetske Trueman is the Honourary Consul of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Botswana

 

The Consul & Consort
The Consul & Consort

 

So now I must officially behave myself…physically impossible I know but I will try… and I must¬†curtsey¬†to Her Majesty upon seeing her first thing in the morning. Thankfully, I received diplomatic training twenty-five years ago when I was completing my Masters in International Relations in Paris, France so only a refresher course is required.

When I moved into Peter’s Place, I had no idea that I would be residing within diplomatic walls…guess that means that I have to start wearing underwear around the property on really hot days:)

Seriously, I am so happy and proud of Jetske. She is the perfect person to perform this role, as not only does she have a storied career in the diplomatic¬†corps¬†before she gave it all up to marry “young handsome” aka Mr. Peter. But she is a caring, compassionate, intelligent and extremely organized woman. There is no doubt in my mind that she will not only excel in the performance of her duties but will set a whole new standard to which her successors will need to achieve as well.

Congratulations Jetske on assuming the full duties of Honourary Consul of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Botswana!