helps to build
a child's future.
in providing at risk children
with an education.
Flatt also gave an impromptu talk in Setswana to BBL’s children, holding their attention even as the rain hammered down on the steel roof overhead. Next, the children enthusiastically performed a dance routine involving escape from a terrifying lion! Flatt and his team enjoyed the dancing, yet stood fast - showing no fear of the lionhellip;
Ker & Downey Botswana were presented with a certificate of appreciation and a framed photo to remember the day. Bana Ba Letsatsi is very grateful for the support KDB has shown over the years, and the visit added a welcome personal touch.
The students were asked to think about problems in their lives and depict them in their drawings; they were then asked to think about solutions to these problems and draw those as well. Students also discussed how BBL has helped them. The facilitator, Malaki, collected the students’ drawings and came up with an idea for a mural that incorporated what the students had expressed. The result was a collaborative and symbolic mural which reminds students every day to reach their goal.
Through this project the students have learned not only the practical skills of planting and organising a garden and poultry farm, but also the importance and value of hard work. The garden is already flourishing and the chicken farm is still in the beginning stages but will soon be up and running. Once the vegetables are ready to harvest, we will sell them to the community to generate income for BBL. The ultimate goal is that the students will take the skills they are learning here and one day be able to grow and raise their own vegetables and chickens in order to support themselves.
During our first week, we all worked on different long-term projects in the mornings. Some people worked off-site at AGLOW International (assisting the elderly) or at nearby primary schools (for example, I helped out at Letsholathebe Memorial School, which is down the street from BBL). However, the majority of the group worked on projects at BBL—some people started designing and painting a mural on the library wall, others dug a trench to lay piping to get water to the BBL garden, and others helped touch up old murals. Many of my peers who were at BBL all day spoke of how there was always something to do. Whether they were teaching a class in the classroom,
organising the library, or digging out tires, they always felt useful and appreciated.
Every Day, we ate delicious lunches at BBL. After lunch, ids would start to come to the center from school. We had the afternoons free to play with kids. I loved having time to play football, read books, do puzzles, and play games with the students. We all bonded quickly with the kids during the first week. On certain days, we all gathered in a big circle to learn American and Batswana games, led by Onks.
During the second week, we continued the projects we had started during the first week. Most people stayed at BBL to help finish up projects on time. The second week allowed us to get settled in the routine at BBL and cement relationships with kids that we met the first week. We also had special activity days such as “Botswana Day” and “America Day”. “Botswana Day” was held on Botswana’s President’s Day and all of the students had off of school, so we went to the Maun Sports Complex to engage in friendly competition. The americans competed against the Batswana in netball, football, and volleyball. BBL won the competition with an overall score of 2/3 (netball and volleyball), but we all had a great time bonding with the kids and learning new sports (I played netball for the first time!). On “America Day” we taught the BBL kids fun American dances like “Cotton-Eyed Joe” and the “Cha-Cha Slide”.
I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to be at BBL and meet the Amazing people who work there. I want to thank everyone for how accommodating and welcoming they have been. Mma Trace kindly guided us through difficult home visits; Ben, Charlie, and Supriya patiently explained tasks to us, and Dunga drove us everywhere we wanted to go. It is impossible to mention everyone, but I’d also like to thank the kids here for letting us get to know them and for teaching us so much more than we could ever teach them. I have loved my time at BBL, and I am so impressed with everything that goes on here every day. I am very sad to leave, but I know that I will take the lessons I have learned and the friendships I have made at BBL back to America with me.