Botswana / Namibia:
Cultural Sojourn

Bicycle Africa / Ibike Tours


Dispatch 14 - Tsau


If the highway changed at all, as we traveled south, the undergrowth vegetation seemed to becoming thinner and the grasslands wider. 

There were always a few other points of interest like the solar powered communications tower:

While communications towers are usually an indication of a community, this one was thirty-five kilometers (20 miles) in either direction from the nearest store.  It was also off the grid -- no power lines came to within miles of the location.  Notice the large solar voltaic array in the lower center of the picture.

Next point of interest: Seventy kilometers of savannah after leaving Nokaneng we came to a yard (right) with a big red tractor in it.  It was the first tractor of this type that I recall seeing.

 Tsau had a bit of a presence along the highway: a general store, bar, bakery, bottle shop and secretarial business services, but nothing to entice most of the vehicles passing-by to adjust their speed, let alone stop.  This was our best prospect for food and accommodations so we had to stop and hope that there was more to the town.  Once again the day exceeded expectation.

The junior secondary school turned out to be easier to find than the Khuta (administrative center), but from the school we were taken to the Khuta and invited back to the school in the afternoon.  A couple things caught my eye at the Khuta; a poster and condom dispenser.  The poster that promotes a recycling program that is going to be fully implemented in 2016. There is good news and bad news with the condom dispenser.  The bad news is it was empty.  Or the good news is it was empty -- hopefully the missing product was put to good use.

While at the Khuta a couple of older women took a keen interest in the Bike Friday parked in front.  The Khuta took good care of us in other ways as well.  In addition to help to arrange a place to stay in the compound of a family and a cook for some meals, we learned that today they were having elections for the Village Development Committee, and we were invited to observe.

The VDC speaks for the community to the central government on priorities for local development.  Even without being able to understand the language it was pretty easy to follow the proceedings as they went though introductions, reports on past activities and the presentation of those running for office.  Positions on the VDC are uncompensated, but sought after.. 


Late in the afternoon, after observing the election process for a while, we returned to the Community Junior Secondary School for a tour.  The school has both coed day and boarding students.  Because of the boarding students, the administration not only has to run an academic institution but also provide lodging, three meals a day and supervision for 150 boarding students-- a 24/7 responsibility with creative teenagers. We visited late in the day so it was hard to assess the nature of activities during the main part of the day.  Besides getting an overview of the facilities, students were working in a cooking class and watering agricultural plots that they were responsible for.


The house we stayed at had a couple beehives in the back corner of the property. 

Both in the evening and morning a fire was built and people came by to warm themselves and talk.  Once again we had a nice glimpse into local life.  None of this makes us anthropologists but we probably got a more informative view of life than had we stayed in a hotel -- should one have existed.




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