I honestly don’t have much to report about my past week. Things are starting to feel a bit monotonous, which is good and bad. I think it’s a good thing because it means I’ve adapted. But it’s bad in that lack of excitement tends to mean more homesickness and overall lower spirits. It’s not just me, which I find comforting. The majority of the CIEE students have been feeling a little down in the dumps and ready to go home. A few are even contemplating visiting home for a week. Personally, the extreme heat is making me extremely exhausted and never wanting to leave the house. In the middle of the afternoon it gets so hot, I literally struggle to walk. It’s already up to 97 degrees and the locals have told us it’s only the beginning. I think we are all also frustrated to no end with the organization of UB’s school system. I know it’s all part of the experience, but my patience is beginning to run out. Teachers show up late to class or sometimes just don’t come. Half the time, the projector doesn’t work, so we essentially sit there doing nothing. When we do have assignments, they are almost all group-work, which I find frustrating. I still haven’t gotten tests and papers back from six weeks ago and I doubt I ever will! Teachers have little knowledge about the subject they are teaching and usually go at an extremely slow pace that literally puts me to sleep. I think I could rant forever. It upsets me that I’m wasting so much time, but also that the UB students are getting an education like this. Finally, I think a lot of my frustration stems from the food. I don’t know if I can eat rice and mystery meat one more time! If you know me at all, you know how much I like food, and it’s gotten so old eating the same thing every day. Though my days in Gabs have begun to feel all the same, that isn’t to say there aren’t always a few exciting moments!
I went to a craft market with some friends on Wednesday after school. It was mostly high-priced boutiques, but it was still fun to walk around. I also got grabbed for the first time at the station while walking through. I’ve heard stories about this happening to friends, but it had never happened to me. A random guy grabbed my arm and wouldn’t let go. It was pretty scary, but don’t worry. I pushed him away! We also changed clinics, so I spent Tuesday morning at the G-West clinic. It was extremely similar to all the others and I didn’t really see anything new. Bummer.
My weekend was ten times more exciting than the school week. Friday night, I went to Game City to have dinner and see “Now You See Me” with some friends. I had wanted to see this movie at home before I left, but never got the chance. Movies come to Gabs about two months later, so it worked out perfectly! I really enjoyed the movie and it was a cool experience going to a theatre for the first time here. It was actually super nice! We even got to select our seats on a monitor when purchasing our tickets. There were only a few others in the theatre and it was a Friday night, which surprised me. I don’t think movie going is a huge thing here. It was overall a really fun night spent with a group of people I don’t normally get to spend a lot of time with.
Saturday morning, I left for a weekend excursion to a city in Botswana called Serowe with half the CIEE group. The four-hour bus ride was miserable in the heat! We arrived around five and settled into the dorms where we stayed. After a nice dinner and many rounds of mafia, we set off for a night game drive. We saw a ton of animals including some impala, kudu, steenbok, an owl (actually super cool!), some hares, wildebeest, and ostriches. My favorite part was the group of around five giraffes that crossed right in front of our truck! They were so close and so incredibly large. We also spotted a group of rhinos and they almost charged at us! We all jumped to the other side of the vehicle! Taking a night game drive with the guides flashing their flashlights as we drove was so different than what I had experienced in the day. I wasn’t able to get many good pictures, but it was still incredibly fun. We woke up the next morning at 5:30 am to go on a rhino tracking adventure! We saw some more of the same animals on our drive and then got out to find the rhinos by foot. Our guide (with a gun!) led us through the wilderness, following the rhino’s tracks. We eventually spotted two HUGE white rhinos and were able to get pretty close. We had to keep changing directions so the rhinos wouldn’t smell us. I was a little nervous that the rhinos would charge, but the only damage I left with was a bunch of scratches on my legs. After our adventure, we headed to the nearby hotel for breakfast and then began our journey back to Gabs. I was exhausted, filthy, and completely ready to be home. Though it was a short excursion, I enjoyed escaping the monotony of the school week and spending time with some great people! Now to tackle a week full of tests and presentations… yay.