This past week we went on our first excursion to the Bahurutshe Cultural Village. It was our first real journey outside of Gaborone, and it was exciting look out the window of the bus and see what life looks like outside of the city. Our first day at the village started by learning a little about the kgotle, or gathering place of the village. This is the area where the king, otherwise known as the kgosi would gather his people to give them information or ask them to do different tasks. After breakfast we left the village to go on a hike. It was hot out, but the scenery was beautiful. We walked along the river, and our guide explained to us that the people who lived in this area believed that there was a giant snake under the pond that feed the river, which kept a constant supply of water. Medicine men would also dip their medicines in the water to give it its healing powers.
In the afternoon we bused over to see 2,000 year old rock paintings. They were difficult to spot at first, but eventually we were able to make out the giraffes and impala illustrated on the rocks.
The best part of the trip was when we got back to the village. We all sat around a bon fire as a group of men and women performed traditional songs and dances. The acrobatic dancing was amazing to watch, and the “grandmothers” of the village even got up and showed us some moves. Half way through the performance the chief joined us. He dropped bones on the ground to ask the ancestors if we were allowed to stay in the village. Thankfully, (after three tries) the ancestors agreed to let us stay. One of the women then taught us about the importance of the grain sorghum in their daily life. A few students even learned how to grind and separate the grains.
The Next morning we headed out to Mokolodi Nature Reserve, which is only about forty minutes from Gaborone. On our game drive we saw cheetahs, giraffes, zebras, impalas, and kudus. It was especially cool to see the giraffes so up close. Our guide was very knowledgeable and told us about Before heading back home we enjoyed a braii (barbeque) out in the bush. Traveling to Bahurutshe was a great way to learn some history about the country we will be living in for the next four months, and to experience a little bit of what life was like in pre-colonial Botswana.