Students Without Borders is a WUSC and CECI program that enables Canadian university and college students to participate in exciting, volunteer learning opportunities in South America, Africa, and Asia.

last entry for a while…

September 2, 2006

My stay in Botswana has finally come to an end and although I leave with some regret, I know that life goes on and I have to move on as well. It was a very emotional farewell yesterday.  I kept myself busy for most of the day, doing all kinds of things that needed doing and some I’m sure could be left but it helped to pass the time. 
        Yesterday was the culmination of events of the last two months ending with the student’s graduation which I will write more about but I wanted to get this last entry in before I have to turn over my computer to Thandi who wanted to purchase it for she and her family.  She was very happy because she got it for 2000 Pula less than she thought I asked for and about 5000 Pula less than the store.  She’s happy and I know that she and her family will put it to good use. Of course that will mean that I have to get another one for me before I start back at school.  I am giving my cell phone to Tshepo who had hers stolen last week on her way home from work.  She really is such a sweet young woman with the deepest dimples I have ever seen.  Maggie who teaches floral design will be inheriting one of my many handbags, one that she particularly liked.  Even with all the give aways, I’m still close to my weight limit of 200 lbs (between the two of us).  How is that possible?  Its all the tablecloths and bedspreads I’ve been buying!!
          I have to leave the farewell party for another time because I’m sure that if I start writing, I’ll burst into tears.  I did read a verse from the book the Prophet which has to be my all-time favourite book.  The verse is titled “Joy and Sorrow.”  This is the verse

Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.
And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears.
And how else can it be?
The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.
Is not the cup that hold your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter’s oven?
And is not the lute that soothes your spirit, the very wood that was hollowed with knives?
When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy.
When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.
Some of you say, “Joy is greater than sorrow,” and others say, “Nay, sorrow is the greater.”
But I say unto you, they are inseparable.
Together they come, and when one sits alone with you at your board, remember that the other is asleep upon your bed.
Verily you are suspended like scales between your sorrow and your joy.
Only when you are empty are you at standstill and balanced.
When the treasure-keeper lifts you to weigh his gold and his silver, needs must your joy or your sorrow rise or fall.
        We leave this evening at 6:40pm and by tomorrow I will be back in Canada. My next post will be my re-entry experience (plus the events of the last week).  This experience will be with me for the rest of my life.  I know it has changed the way I look at the world and it is a humbling experience to see that so many live with so little and yet they can feel fulfilled. It’s a lesson I hope that I’ve learned well – that happiness and contentment comes not from the things you have but from who you are. I will continue to aspire to be a better person than I was the day before (I think I’m paraphrasing what was said by Waldo Emerson).  
        With much love to all the people in Botswana who have touched my life and inspired me to be a better person than I was the day before, until…  


  1. Karima on September 2, 2006 at 10:36 am

    Dear Sandra,

    It sounds like you have been deeply touched by your experiences and by the warmth of the Botswana people. We’ve noticed that you are turning into something of a philosopher/poet ;)

    Thank you for sharing your journey with us through your stories. We look forward to hearing your experiences first hand at WUSC’s Annual General Assembly in November.

    Have a safe trip back,
    Karima, Sherry and Marie-Eve

  2. Pat Mohr on September 2, 2006 at 10:40 am

    Sandra you touch me deeply within my heart. I will treasure these journals, especially today’s.

    Weepingly yours (and excited to be seeing you again),

  3. vimal on August 1, 2007 at 11:59 pm

    it was really touching.
    Liked ur pathos and emotions and respect that.
    It would have been better had I read it last year when u wrote it.
    I read it while researching about Canandian universities.
    I also wish to study in USA or Canada one day (i m an Indian) Hope i will also feel the same way whikle leaving the university as u felt last year.