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by Ellie

We’ve only truly been in Botswana for 2 full days, but it’s such a welcoming place that it already feels like home! When we arrived at Botswana, the first thing that shocked me was the weather, this shocker, however, came from the constant warning we received about it being their “winter.” And by winter, I mean our summer! And although it gets to 30 or so degrees at night, we were walking around today in t-shirts very happily! One of my favorite parts of Botswana so far has been the people. Everyone is always so welcoming and wonderful and they’re always open to a conversation with a stranger. We’ve done so many interesting things already, yesterday, for example, we went to the SOS Children’s Village, a kindergarten for orphaned children. The majority of them spoke very minimal English, but they adored when we would just hold up crayons and they would tell us what color they were! We also discovered their not so secret love of the classic high five. We’ve also been helping out at the Botswana Baylor Center. We’ve been doing two projects here, one of which is working with the kids, playing with them and tutoring them a little as well, and we’ve also been working on painting a fantastic mural for the new teen center that they’re working on building. Currently, the teen center consist of a rather broken down building that, before we got to it, was covered in dust and leaves and dead bugs everywhere. However, we got to work quickly and cleaned it out, but they’ve still got quite a ways to go. The mural, however, is fantastic! Even after leaving today after simply sketching it out and working on the background, the whole area already looks so much brighter and more welcoming! We’re currently staying in the dorms at the Maru-a-Pula School and the people here are wonderful! As you walk around people will just stop you and say, “Oh, you’re new!” And then you divulge into a fantastic conversation and meet new people all the time!
So far, adventures have been wonderful, along with the weather and the people, and I hope for many more wonderful times to come in the next couple weeks!
P.S. – If you’re reading this Stephen, which I doubt you will be, happy 3 day late birthday Brother Bear! Congratulations on the big 18, you no longer need to worry (or usually not worry) about getting in permission forms late!
Love, Ellie