Sunday, June 17, 2007

Day 11+ Everything but ... the President?

Fortunately for us, Friday was a day of rest. Since we have collected a LOT of information and had a LOT to talk about before our meeting with the Bishop, we started the day with breakfast and a table full of notes, laptops, and photos. We had to talk about Tyler a lot, too, since it was his birthday. We even played a game of "pin the tail on the elephant", just for kicks.

Anyway... Clad in our casual, comfortable clothes (finally) we discussed the fact that we had met everyone we needed to meet, and everyone we never expected to meet, all in the name of learning as much as possible about the educational system here in Botswana. Everyone but the President of Botswana. Oh well. Maybe next time?

Father Ben arrives to tell us that we have a new appointment on our schedule for the day. We have a 3pm meeting with the President of Botswana... go figure.

Very quick dash to our respective homes for a change of clothes. What does one wear to meet with the President of a country?

Recap meeting with the Bishop where we learn that the fundraising goal for him and Think Tank Thuto is $10 million within the next 6 months. Guess we really do need a business plan, eh?

Our meeting with the President complete with security and press coverage. We were, of course, still in shock that such a meeting had even been arranged. The conversation included a short talk about education in Botswana, a "happy birthday" wish to Tyler (so typical of the standard 27th birthday, really), and photos with the President's smiling face under a USC baseball cap.

Still reeling from our crazy day, we find ourselves at the first of 4 bbq's we have enjoyed this weekend. All of our host families have invited us to their homes over the course of these last few days to celebrate a successful trip. This 1st party was in honor of the birthday boy, who was stunned and flattered by the attention. Before the night was over, he had two feasts and two birthday cakes. I think that we have mentioned many times that the people we have met here are beyond gracious and generous, yes?

Raphael, Mark, and Tyler left for LA early on Saturday morning. Interestingly enough, a few of our team members didn't return home until just a bit before their trip to the airport. When in Gaborone...

Now, fast forward just a bit.
It is now Sunday night and we are heading into our final day here in Gaborone. After a weekend of bbq's with amazing company, delicious food, excessive amount of wine, and fantastic conversation, our cups truly runneth over. We have seen so many faces, so many extremes, and so many sites/sights. We have changed as individuals and as a team, yet we know that this country is one of the most stable and productive on this continent. If we are moved by what we have seen here, what does that tell us about what exists elsewhere? As we have said before, there is so much to do. We can only hope that this project will help.

Tomorrow we finalize a press release for the local papers, take a second visit to Tshiamo Primary School (public) for some final questions, and say goodbye to all of our new friends. And, of course, pass out many gifts generously donated by the USC Bookstore.

It will be very tough to leave this place.

See Day 11 photos below!

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