Friday, June 24, 2011

Some books we've read about Botswana - and if you have suggestions of other good books, we'd love to hear them.

We'd already read most of the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series  before we were offered Peace Corps placement in Botswana.  These books paint such a wonderful picture of Botswana and its people, that we could hardly have been happier to accept.

Friends lent us this book, one that they read to each other a couple of cold winters ago when their electricity was out for a week.  It's a collection of hilarious stories by a wildlife guide, and, as the title suggests, he learned not to run from big animals, "because only food runs" and all animals (even warthogs!) in Africa can outrun humans. 

This is a book by a  couple of young scientists who spend several years in the Khalari, in central Botswana, studying animal behavior, particularly that of the brown hyena.  At the outset, they are awed by the amazing diversity and population of wildlife; by the end they are somewhat saddened by the onslaught of "civilization" and the threat that it posed to the natural habitat.  Years later, it is reasonable to say that Botswana has taken enormous strides to protect this incredible resource.

And an incredible movie, "The Last Lions", produced by National Geographic.  It was in Portland for a short time and we were lucky enough to see it.  The story is one of a pride of lions, male, female and three cubs (at the beginning) in Botswana, who are threatened by a new and larger pride moving in from the north, pushed by advancing civilization there.  The photography is, simply, amazing!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

We're going to Botswana in September as Peace Corps Volunteers. Right now it's exciting and overwhelming. We think it is a privilege to serve in this way. For Carol, it's the culmination of a dream she had more than forty years ago. For John, it's the second time around, the first having been in Panama from 1967 to 1969. We've wanted to go to Africa for a long time. And from everything we've heard so far (although, really, it isn't much) Botswana will be a wonderful place to live and work. We'll try to keep up a blog as things develop. For now, it's taking care of lots of details, like selling our cars and storing our furniture. Stay tuned