Botswana is a country in Southern Africa. It borders South Africa, Namibia and Zimbabwe and is home to just over 2 million people. The Tswana make up the majority ethnic group in the country, with 79% of the population. A citizen of Botswana is a “Matswana”. Two or more citizens are referred to as “Batswana”. The language spoken by the majority is “Setswana”. Botswana gained independence from Britain in 1966 (it was formerly known as the British protectorate of Bechuanaland). Gaborone is the capital of Botswana and is the largest city with a population about 250,000.
Louise’s sister, Lotte, lives in Gaborone with her husband John and their four kids between 2 years and 11 years of age. John has a four-year posting at the EU Delegation in Botswana. The family has been in-country for a year and a half.
When we set out on our trip we knew that we wanted to start it in Cambodia. We flew to Asia on a one-way ticket to Cambodia and made up the rest of the trip and its itinerary as we went along. But we also knew we wanted to visit John, Lotte and family at the end of our travels. On Friday we flew from Cape Town to Johannesburg and from there took a bus to Gaborone. It was an easy trip and in addition to seeing the South African rural landscape we also spotted elephants, zebras and ostriches.
Visiting family is great. And staying with Lotte and John, in Southern Africa, as we’re winding up an eight-month trip through Asia and Africa, is perfect. They are wonderful hosts. We even arrived to “Where’s Waldo” welcome cards for us that were signed by their kids.
Saga and Ida are in heaven. They haven’t had as much contact as they’re used to with kids their own age during our trip. Here, not only do they have kids their own age around all the time, those kids also happen to be their cousins. There’s a lot of space to play; a pool, trampoline, games. The cousins’ school is a block away and it also looms large here. On Saturday the school hosted a big Earth Hour event. Sunday afternoon the school hosted a “Dads and Lads (and Lasses)” football game. We were back on Monday when the girls joined their cousins for a French class.
And it even gets better. This afternoon, the girls’ grandparents arrive from Denmark. Jens and Perle will stay in Gaborone for about a month. On Saturday we’ll all go on a safari in Tuli Block.
We’re shocked and saddened by the explosions in Brussels today. Our hearts ache for Brussels’ families. We watch and listen with horror as the details trickle in. The explosions took place within sight of Lotte’s old office window. The senselessness of the loss is breathtaking, again, just as it was after the Paris attacks in November. It’s a dark day and we’ll hold each other more closely this afternoon and tonight, thankful to be with family.