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.

The Honeymoon Phase That Lasted Forever

July 14, 2015

Dumelang! (Hey everyone!)

It has been 9 beautiful weeks in Gaborone (Hab-or-oh-nee), Botswana. They say there’s supposed to be a honeymoon “phase” when you arrive somewhere new but this “phase” isn’t really going away. There has been so much to take in, so much food I haven’t eaten before (I had curried chicken hearts for breakfast the other day), so many people that have showered me with love—ensuring my stay in this country is comfortable and enjoyable, sunsets that are so beautiful they make me cry, architecture that takes my breath away, and so much more. I am in love with this country and I would be lying if I said hadn’t seriously considered coming back here to stay.

Working for my host organization in Botswana, BOSASNet (Botswana Substance Abuse Support Network) fills my heart with a joy that cannot be described in words. From the first day I stepped into the office I was embraced with warmth that was enough to turn this surprisingly nippy Botswana winter season into the sunniest of summers. My colleagues are hilarious, outgoing and have fun no matter what they do. The work BOSASNet does is incredible; they are the only organization of its kind in the country who runs 3 different main “programs”. Firstly, they run an outpatient rehabilitation center for those dealing with Substance Abuse equipped with 6 counsellors and 1 clinical program manager. Secondly, they run a training/schooling program for those who want to become accredited Substance Abuse counsellors. Lastly, they run outreaches through school presentations, “wellness days” for large corporations in Botswana, Youth Programs, among other methods as a means to educate and in turn, prevent substance abuse in the country. The nature of this work is extremely difficult and I have so much respect for my colleagues for pursuing and dedicating themselves to this challenging, but absolutely necessary field. Substance Abuse is a problem in Botswana, and with support and effective action I have full faith that something can be done to combat it.

I have been basking in all the glory that is Botswana and its people, and they have taught me so much about myself and about the world around me. The laid back nature of the people has taught me to let go of things I can’t control, the kindness and willingness to help complete strangers here has given me several tangible ways to show people love—regardless of who they are, even the power and water shortages have reminded me not to be selfish with the resources I am privileged to use. This world has so much to offer—the wealth of knowledge out to be learned, all the new sights, sounds, and surroundings—and being here for this short time has only given me a small taste of it, but I don’t want a taste (remember how I told you I like food in my last post), I want the entire plate, and then seconds!