Dumela. My name is Faisal Bakhteyar and for summer 2011, I will be interning at True Men Trust, an organization targeting HIV/AIDS issues in Francistown, Botswana. Through this travel blog, I hope to share with you my thoughts, experiences, and adventures in the most unadulterated manner.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Weekend in the Ghetto

For the weekend of July 22nd -25th, after a short 3-day work week following the long weekend and midsummer retreat, Team Francistown decided to stay put in the Ghetto and just take it easy for once. It was to be our first weekend in the town we have been residing in for 2 months and it was nice to take a break from all the adventurous travelling and stay put.

Saturday morning was spent doing laundry. Lots and lots of laundry. More on this to follow in a later post. Just know that it is absolutely exhausting. After, Isabelle and I met up with Bettina and Thomas at the happenin’ Galo Mall. This posh mall has a number of good restaurants including Nandos, and Bimbo’s and we decided to treat ourselves with authentic Indian food at Tandurei Restaurant. Our entertainment came in the form of Bettina’s bewilderment at Indian food. “Black people don’t do green” was her comment at the sight of palak paneer (spinach and cheese). She has said this on a number of occasions with reference to the fact that raw vegetables don’t exist in the cuisine here; everything is cooked, spiced, and salted.
Galo Mall
Our appetites satisfied, we walked around and stumbled on a fashion show as well as a rap battle where up-and-coming rappers were ripping each other apart with the crowd helping in being all gangsta and going “OHHHHHHHHHHHH” at hearing a “dope” rhyme. We were told that we had arrived late and that earlier in the day, there had been skateboarding, djing, and dancing competitions sponsored by Sprite. We then just walked around our town, across the railway tracks through the industrial area to the Catholic Church and then to Francistown’s “tall” building that was all 3 stories high. Yes. You read correctly. 3 stories. Believe it or not, that’s the highest elevation I’ve been at since arriving in Botswana 2 months ago. Even two-story structures are unusually out of place. Francistown is completely flat with one dominating hill (Nyangabgwe Hill) that can be seen from miles around.  At sundown, we went to our chill spot at Milky Lane where the variety in ice creams, and beverages mindboggling (this place requires its own post so I will post about it later).
Haskin's Street and Nyangabgwe Hill
Sunday consisted of more laundry and washing our tent, which was getting moldy after it had been lathered with bat guano and other crap at the Okavango Delta. It was a two person effort that took most of the afternoon. By the end of the weekend, I had spent around 8 hours just washing stuff.  

All in all, our Francistown weekend was nice. We are no longer foreigners here and this is our home. People recognize us and say hello not as if we were tourists, but as if we were residents and it’s just an awesome feeling. Though there’s a lot to see in this world, its sometimes nice to just to stay home.

In work related news, Is and I recently interviewed all the True Men staff in order to compile a organizational analysis and structure assessment report that will be submitted to the organization director. It’s a hefty 16-page document that will go a long way in improving the organization. Next project is sorting out some sponsorship stuff at the organization. True Men in the past has had some issues in managing sponsor money and with the prospect of 2 new projects related to safe male circumcision, and alcohol abuse, money management will become key to the success of the organization.

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