Thursday, 21 July 2011

Bots of Love

I believe that everywhere you go, every person you meet effects you in some way. Simple interactions shape single days, and those days go on to shape experiences, and experiences ultimately shape a person. Since arriving here in Botswana I have met many interesting, colourful, and wonderful people. I am surrounded by cab drivers who recognize me, street food vendors who ask about my work, colleagues who constantly make me laugh, a home-stay that challenges and embraces me, and so many others. And although I know that even if I were here completely alone those people would still create a home for me, I also believe that so much of the experience I am having is thanks to the other members of QPID Team Botswana. As Davina (WE MISS YOU DAVINA!) once said, “Team Bots is so in love!” Thanks to Davina and Thomas we have a team of intelligent, passionate, and adventurous cooperants that seem to mesh miraculously well.

This is my Bots family.
Bots of Love on QPID Mid-summer Retreat

Thomas dressed as Esteban
Thomas is our Site Director, our team leader, and sometimes our personal psychiatrist. This spring he graduated from Queen’s Commerce and the extra two years of schooling and life experience he has on us often most shows in our tent at bedtime, when he reminds us to be quiet because there are others sleeping. In all seriousness, Thomas is an inspiring site director; he deals with every challenge we face (except impending hippo mauling) calmly and rationally. He is always there to listen, easy to talk to, and ready with constructive criticism and advice. Not to mention, he looks pretty fine in head to toe safari gear! He is Thomas, Thuso (Setswana for “helper”), Esteban the South African chicken farmer, Smelly Tom, Lil Tom, Uncle Thomas, and a really great friend and fellow adventurer.

For some reason she likes Iron Brew...
Lyndsay is my fellow third year Development Studies major, always ready to share a knowing smile when someone on the team preps a comment with “And, I apologize to the DEVS students, but...”. She is also one of the incoming QPID Project Directors for the upcoming year, and so has a unique perspective as a cooperant. She is short, fiery red hair, dressed in black, and “catnip for Batswana men”. Anywhere we go Lyndsay receives compliments and marriage proposals. Lyndsay has strong ideals and is not afraid to voice them, making her a strong addition to the voice of our team. Also, she tells more dirty jokes then the rest of us combined! She is Lyndsay, Lorato (Setswana for “love”), Lynds, assumed future wife and muse of many Batswana, and ready to take on any challenge she is faced with.

A slightly unfocused Chloe/Safari Barbie
Chloe is my partner in travel planning crime. She is going into third year bio-medical computing, which seems as complicated as the name sounds. With Chloe I can laugh for hours, making the smallest thing into the biggest joke; usually until we annoy the hell out of the rest of the team. We are fellow adventurers, planning future trips and travels to the minutest details and not understanding why the others don’t believe these trips will actually happen. Chloe is such a strong person, literally climbing mountains and also overcoming any challenge that she has faced here with a smile. She is also always ready to laugh at herself when she makes a comment that justifies one of her nicknames, “Barbie”! She is Chloe, Neo (Setswana for “gift”), Safari Barbie, NEVER Clo (sp?) and an amazing friend that I am so, so glad I met and look forward to exploring new places with in the future.

A windswept Fais on safari
Faisal is my cooperant partner, the third member of Team Francistown, and the second part of the Dream Team. He is going into third year bio-chemical engineering and frequently startles the rest of us with his incredibly non-engineerish poetic musings. Faisal is zoologist, birdwatcher, and photographer. He is “ep”(no “ic” necessary), super chill, ready to annihilate any challenge, and constantly moving into my perfectly framed photos just as I push down the shutter. Our biggest problem as a cooperant pair is that we get along too well, so now we're attempting to be the more annoying one and push each other’s buttons. It’s not working. I can rant to Fais, I can laugh with Fais, and we can get shit done when we need to. He is Faisal, Kabo (Setswana for “to give”), Fais, Fai, Fai-Fai, Facial, “Citizen of the World” and the best cooperant partner I could want or ask for.

Safari Jane going for a run
And last but not least there is me. Obviously you all know who I am (or maybe you don’t if you are just lurking this blog). I am Isabelle, going into third years DEVS and an abysmal speaker of Spanish with Spanish minor. I am First-year Castle kid, 6-weeks-old in a canoe, horse-back rider, avid bookworm, super awkward and professional procrastinator. Those are some of the things that you all know about me. But being here, as we all knew it would, has changed me. It’s hard for me to see all those changes, but I’m still going to try to put some of them down. At the very least, this should prepare you a little bit for who I’ll be when I get home. I am “Mmm” and “Ah!” I am slower talking, slower walking. I have renewed faith and reverence for the beauty of the world. I work to live instead of live to work, and pursue every moment to the fullest. I am a lekgowa (lee-koo-wah, white person) to the world and Motswana in my own mind. I am Isabelle, Naledi (Setswana for “star”), Safari Jane, Is, Isa, ISA (when shouted to by Mma O it takes on a whole new meaning!) and absolutely loving life here in Botswana!

1 comment:

  1. IZZZZZZZZZZZ!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    this keeps sounding better and better and the people you are surrounded by are no less awesome than expected.
    gosh i wish i was you so hardcore right now! but i bet you wouldn't trade where you are for love or money right now. keep living the sweet life. :D