24 Sep 2021
The world's third largest rough diamond was presented this week in New York. The still unnamed stone weighs 1175 carats. Two years ago, the Sewelo diamond was found in the same Karove mine in Botswana: 1758 carats. But the Cullinan remains unsurpassed. At about 3106 carats, it was mined in South Africa in 1906. The Cullinan was finally cleaved and cut into nine separate stones. Some ended up in the British crown jewels. The diamond now found will be auctioned soon. Then it is determined in how much it can be split. Together with this find, from the same mine, two slightly smaller rough diamonds of more than 1000 carats have been presented. More of these large stones are expected to be found in the coming years. Since 2015, the Karowe mine has been using X-ray equipment to locate huge diamonds in the soil.
Source: Daily Newspaper Trouw, The Netherlands, September 24, 2021.
With the large yield of this diamond, the Botswana government could make a substantial inventory in Botswana education and social work.
18 Sep 2021
It is possible to visit Botswana, under strict regulations. However, the state of emergency still lasts until 30 September 2021. I am postponing my possible visit until April 2022.
We are having little contact with people in Botswana. To read the Botswana Sunday Times one has to take a subscription, which is not possible for me because from The Netherlands one cannot pay in Pula's. My email with the question if I can pay cash for a subscription when I am next in Botswana was not answered. It is possible to read the headlines and sometimes an article can be opened.
Today's headlines were:
Hungry Batswana prefer food vouchers over cash.
Examination fiasco looms.
Broke BDP struggling to pay staff salaries.
Opposition accost Masisi over electorial promises.
Government too broke to sponsor some students.
14 May 2021
The costs for the parcel to Molepolole turned out to be about Pula 560. On the internet the state of emergency in Botswana is still indicated as being until 30 September 2021.
7 Apr 2021
Today the parcel has arrived in Molepolole. The receiver was informed of the arrival by sms. The costs are Pula 650.
3 Apr 2021
The parcel which we sent to Molepolole (57 km north of Gabrone, along the main road) on 8 January 2021 is still on it's way somewehere in Botswana. The delivery time is 7 - 25 working days and should have been delivered 12 February at the latest. The parcel which has been sent to Gantsi on 11 January 2021 arrived on 11 March. In spite of it being a present, "customs and handling charges" of Pula 1.824,15 have been charged. The value of the parcel was € 300 and import duty 21% was about Pula 824 on 11 March. What I did not realize was that I marked "geschenk" (present), but that this was not mentioned on the form in English.
4 Mar 2021
Due to delayed deliverance of the anti COVID 119 vaccin in The Netherlands our vaccination alo is delayed. The good news is that in Botswana a start might be made with the vaccinations this month (and not in 2023 as was known before). There is hope that all inhabitants of Botswana will be vaccinated by 2022, Hopefully the borders of South Africa and Botswana will be opened soon, without quarantine obligations and too much hussle around testings.
The course Naro (the language which is spoken by the San in the Ghanzi district) which I am taking is interesting but difficult. But I certainly will remember some of it.
17 Feb 2021
Unicef Nederland has answered my email. Unicef Botswana did not send an answer. Child Frontiers did. They will send my comments on the report to Unicef Botswana.
15 Feb 2021
Despite the fact that the Second World War in the Netherlands came to an end almost 76 years ago, the feeling to be run over by another nation manifested itself again last night in a nightmare. In a dense and long line, planes went through the air towards the enemy to stop them. On the ground there was panic. Someone on a motorbike drove through the front entrance of our shed with 1 km an hour and out through the backentrance, and back, searching for the enemy. I was born on 18 January 1943, where in January 1943 three bombings were carried out, killing 200 people. Although our house was not hit, houses close by were. My eleven year old sister asked my mother: "Why are there doors flying past our house?" I did not take in the atrocities and oppression during 1940- 1945. Later came the nightmares. When the Dutch Airforce is doing training flights in our area I do not like it.
Our oppression only lasted for five years. I wonder how the San are feeling now, after centuries of oppression by tribes who came univited to live on their land, took it over and forced the San to work for them, in exchange for a little food. After that came the English to protect the land. And after that the Dutch and English from South Africa. A few year ago I had a conversation with a 21 year old South African woman. She told me: "I do not understand why those black one want to kill us." I said: "Maybe because you took their land?" The answer was: "When we came there, the land belonged to no one." I was lacking wisdom to give a good reply to this.
In The Netherlands a discussion has started if the Dutch Government should apologize to the descendants of slaves, for the part the Dutch have had in the slave trade. I wonder if the Botswana should apologize to the San for the injustice the Tswana tribes have done to them.
30 Jan 2021
Through a joint collaboration of the Department of Social Protection under the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development Botswana and UNICEF Botswana a mapping and capacity gap analysis of the Social Service Workforce to prevent and respond to violence against children was commissioned to Child Frontiers and published in March 2020.
Although the recomendations to solve the problems Social Work and Social Workers are experiencing are adequate, a recommandation to abolish corporal punishment in Botswana is missing. Corporal punished was in 1820 banned in schools in The Netherlands. But 200 years later it is still by law allowed in Botswana.
"A child in conflict with the law who is found guilty may be placed under probation, in which case, a probation officer is responsible for supervision. It is important to emphasize here, that corporal punishment is a stipulated sentence that the Children’s Court can carry out in the presence of a probation officer and social worker. There are no follow-up or care provisions regarding corporal punishment as a sentence other than the limitation of it not exceeding six strokes."
"A social worker is also responsible for making burial arrangements for protected children who die in custody."
I am hoping that this last sentence does not mean that there are expectations that a child might die from the strokes it receives in court.
How is the Social Service and its Social Workers going to prevent and respond against corporal punishment if this is allowed in Courts, in schools and Kgotla's? How are they going to guard children from violence from parents, teachers, caretakers, if these know that by law corporal punishment is allowed, or maybe even think that it is compulsory?
On 30 January I have sent an email to Child Frontiers and Unicef Botswana (it is useless to send an email to the Botswana Government, they never answer them) with the question whether the recommendation to prohibited corporal punishment by law maybe was forgotten to be placed in the report. If in a report about protecting children against violence is stated that by law they may undergo corporal punishment,this report is useless.
14 Jan 2021
We wish everybody a happy, healthy and COVID free 2021.
A parcel with books and baby clothes has been sent, the books for Pioneer Academy and the clothes for Window of Hope Centre.
12 Dec 2020
Not many books have been sold. I bought some myself, to give away, including 17 for a project of the local Humanist Society, who will use them to read to children who have no one to read to them. In this way two projects profit, children locally and in Botswana. We have decided to buy books for children in Ghanzi. At the moment there is no contact with Window of Hope Centre. The last whatsapp that was read by them is dated 19 November, Today I called them, the telephone was not answered. With other people there is good contact. But it is still unsatisfactory.
9 Nov 2020
The first edition of the book: The story of the House Mice and the Garden Mice has been released on 4 November, in the Dutch language. (An English translation is in progress.) The story is about a little Botswana girl. She is crying her eyes out because the schoolbus did not come on time and she is afraid to be late for school. How did the House Mice and the Garden Mice get involved in this story? There are no pictures in the book, but there is space for the reader to create their own drawings. There will be information about the English translation when the book has been released.
20 Oct 2020
Everybody in Botswana is compelled to wear a face mask. Also children. Their mothers are making them for their children at Window of Hope. They have to pay for the materials themselves. Luckily I had sent them some money today. Although this was intended for buying food and not for face masks which have been made obligitory by the government.
12 Oct 2020
It remains exciting when the next journey will be. Tourism operators have asked to open the border for tourists to prevend many of them going bankrupt. They ask for a direct flight from Europe to Gaborone, Kasane or Maun in Botswana. But are these airports suitable for large planes? Our contact by whats app with a few people is going well.
8 Sep 2020
The research on the San which is mentioned on 1 September is very relevant for the voluntary work that I am going to do at Window of Hope Centre in Ghanzi. It has been done in D'Kar, 45 km north of Ghanzi and has given many answers to my questions concerning the San in Ghanzi. The preparations for the voluntary work have become easier owing to the research.
There is hope that the next journey to Botswana can be made end of April 2021, as there is a small chance that it anti COVID-19 vaccine could be used beginning 2021. I hope that by that time the Botswana border will be opened again for foreigners.
1 Sep 2020
Seeing as the whole world is still waiting for an anti COVID-19 vaccine, I am still at home and not in Botswana. What I can do is read the Botswana newspapers, which do not bring very interesting news from our point of view. The Patriot on Sunday informs: "COVID-19 ticking time bomb. Panic as Prince Marina Hospital records 31 cases in August. Ngamiland registers 4 Covid-19 cases. Even on a number of 2,2 million inhabitants compare to 17 million in The Netherlands, this is not much. Six people are supposed to have died from the virus in the whole of Botswana. Is this correct? I am also reading research papers on the problems and (living) circumstances of the San and am trying to keep in contact with a few people.
1 Jul 2020
Sunday Standard Botswana reported that there are new guidelines for keeping game for production in the fields of farmers. Everybody with a field who can provide the required documents, can apply. I saw this as a possibility for the people in the CKGR to be able to hunt for their own food. Sadly, one of the required documents is proof of property ownership or lease of the land. The people are not the owner, neither do they lease it. They only are allowed to use the land under certain restrictions. Which is particularly bitter, as several researchers came to the conclusion that the San the first people on earth are. Recently proud Batswana were standing with the researcher who had discovered the exact spot where this supposedly had happened (the Makgadikgadi Pan in the north east of Botswana) on this spot. Earlier stories pointed at the Tsodilo Hills in the north west of Botswana as the place where god sent the first human being to.
17 Jun 2020
The Botswana Sunday Standard reported: "UK based rights group Survival International renews fight against Botswana government because of arrested San in the CKGR. The charge was for subsistence agriculture (corn, beans, watermelons and pumpkins) and hunting. The government is of the opinion that there are enough natural products in the CKGR, plus the foodbasket the San are allowed to receive, to live on. Survival International refers to the High Court decision in 2006 that subsistence agriculture and hunting are allowed in the CKGR by the San." On the homepage of the SEMK Botswana website you find the link to the whole article.
With the article is a picture of a group of people performing a traditional dance. I do not understand the connection with these dancers and the arrested people, who nowadays do not wear traditional clothing. The San are not happy with being pictured in this way. This was not a correct choice, as at this moment all over the worls mass protestestation agains racisme are held.
10 Jun 2020
I broke off contact with two teachers who we were financial supporting. Two weeks after money was transferred to one of them she informed me it had not arrived. Twice I advised her to inquire at the bank. It was not there. When I sent her a copy of the inquiry I had placed on the bank's website, she wrote that the money was in her account already. According to her a fake account had been placed on the what's app by a friend, later it was another friend. (An account had been removed and another one was added by the other teacher.) She never had chatted an emailed with me, according to her. This seeme incredible to me and I wrote to them I did not want to be involved in all this. And was going to end the contact. A shame that this has happened. But it is not the first time someone informed me that the money had not arrived. After letting this peron know that my bank had started an inquiry, it was discovered that the money had come through some time before, the bank clerk had overlooked it.
27 May 2020
This week cold weather is forecasted for the southern part of Botswana, inclusive Ghanzi. The expected temperature for the night 27 - 28 May is -6 C and 2 C. The day temperature tussen 16 C and 21 C.
22 May 2020
Tents have been installed, one in three San communities in Ghanzi, with the money SEMK Botswana has sent. Firewood for 18 families has been bought. Money for the hire of portable toilets we did not give. This problem has nothing to do with the COVID-19 virus, but is caused by the neglect of the San by the government (the government took them out of the Central Kalahari Game Reserve without offering them a decent place to live and support to get aquainted with life outside the CKGR). SEMK Botswana is of the opinion that lack of decent accomodation, sewerage, clean water and firewood should not be solved by us, but is the responsibility of the government. However, it hurt us that there are people having to sleep out during the coming winter. Receiving some food but not have firewood to cook it on, so we sent some money.
4 May 2020
The Dutch Fund. Wilde Ganzen, wrote that they are very concerned about the far- raching consequences of the COVID-19 crises and is giving extra support for Private Development Initiatives and Local partner Organizations that have concreet plans to alliviate the problems of people in poverty. However, this support is only for organizations they are in contact with at this moment, or have been during the past 4 years,
2 May 2020
Mr Kahuadi indicated that the most important assistance the San Communities in Ghanzi need at this moment are: housing, food, fire wood and toilets. (see 30 April) However, these basic needs have been important from the moment they left the Central Kalahari Game Reserve. It is astonishing that at this moment there still are people living under inhumane circumstances. This is the right moment to make a plan to uplift the San Communities from this situation. A plan, that gives them the prospect for an independant and valuable life.
1 May 2020
I wanted to ask for a donation from a Dutch Fund, Wilde Ganzen, for the tents. The procedure for the request is in 4 phases and is taking a long time. By email I informed them that I hope they will set up a procedure for emergency aid.
30 Apr 2020
Mr. Kahuadi wrote: Enclosed I am sending you more pictures of our findings from the field visit that we have done yesterday. We did our own assessment and realize that there are four basic main needs identified among San communities. Accommodation, food, firewood and toilets.The law enforcement officers with police and army discourage people going to toilet or looking for firewood. They do not have firewood or toilet in their homes. This not fare treatment. We are in discussion with the company that provides portable toilets in each ward, but that will cost about P3,000.00 per month for rent. On 4 sides = P12,000.00. That will help people not to go into the bush for toilet. The fire wood is only available about 100km outside Ghanzi. One of the farmers has offered us his farm to collect firewood. The challenge is fuel to collect it at their farm.Window of Hope can assist (they have been given a permit to travel) if we can have money for fuel. Fuel cost with provision for people to assist will be about P1,000.00 per load. We will only need 4 loads per month. Which will be P4,000.00. 10 families will benefit from it. The four toilets will be placed at four locations or wards. The company will maintain the toilets.
1. P12,000.00 for Toilet Rental for a Month (about € 918)
2. P4,000.00 for firewood per month (about 306)
3. P5,000.00 x10 Tents =P50,000.00 (about € 3.820)
Mma Corrie the above information does not mean you have to do everything. We just wanted to give you bigger picture of need on the ground. We have visited the affected families and house holds and through our interview with them this is what we received from them. Your support will directly benefit the community. We will also ensure that government acknowledges your support as a Foundation. The government provides food for some of the households and free water connection which is good, but above needs are not met. The food is not sufficient for all. There are 10 -45 members of families in each home we visited yesterday. The amount of food provided and number of people in the household does not equal the food provided. We are in lock down in our homes with few support of basics needs. How can people stay in their homes without support. They have food without cooking gas. No toilets on the location. If the police and army find them on the street they are told to leave the firewood and go home. This is not fare treatment. When they made regulations they did not consider the life style of the various communities. They came up with one size fits all approach which does not work for all. I will provide you with small updates of our findings. Thanks.
29 Apr 2020
Mr. Johannes Kahuadi of the Windows of Hope Center in Ghanzi mentioned that it is impossible for the San Communities to follow up the COVID-19 rule of keeping distance with other people. They have to stay at home and live with too many people in 1 hut. Mr Kahuadi visited different neighbourhoods of Ghanzi and found that in one of the huts 35 people were living. At night they sleep outside. His wish was to buy army tents and place them in the yards of the people. This will kill 2 birds with 1 stone because after the pandemic the tents can remain and offer protection against low temperatures in winter, and rain and sun in summer. SEMK Botswana has transferred money for two tents and is starting a project to buy more tents.
15 Apr 2020
Egyptair has informed me that my flight to Johannesburg on 28 April has been cancelled. I had already informed the agent, Kilroy that I wanted to rebook my tickets to a date on which it would be safe to travel again. It is unknown how much compensatie will be given.
We have started to support three teachers financially. Two are not paid their salary now their schools are closed down because it is a private school. Government schools pay out the salaries to the staff. The other one could not combine her work at school with her teacher training course. We also sent money to the Window of Hope, for streetchildren. As there is much demand for food worldwide, prices have gone up and more children in Botswana are undernourished.
21 Mar 2020
Botswana has closed it's borders for all foreigners. It is unclear if any one in Botswana has been infected by the virus. The government has closed the schools and safety measures like in other countries are in force.
14 Mar 2020
SEMK Botswana wishes all visitors of this website (and all people who do not visit this site) a COVID-19 free 2020.
It is still unclear whether it will be wise to go to Botswana on 28 April. I do not want to take the virus with me. The question is, will people be allowed to enter the country. In spite of the reguest from the government not to travel abroad, many people do.
Implementation of education plan would have prepared schools for Corona Virus
Thursday 26 March 2020
In it's comprehensiveness , a beautifully-crafted but poorly implemented education plan developed by the European Union for public school perceptibly anticipated a situation when schools would have to deal with public health emergencies. Those who developed the Education and Training Sector Strategic Plan (ETSSP), which was to be implemented between 2015 and 2020, worked closely with the Ministry of Health and Welness. In sum, the plan seeks to "provide an overall policy and strategic framework for the education sector that will play a pivotal role in the development of a modern, sustainable , knowledge-based economy that supports inclusivenss and diversity." It notes that "occupational health and safety programmes are not visible nor is there evidence that any form of audit or safety exercises take place in the central Ministry, reginal offices or in most schools." Read more: Source: Sunday Standard. Botswana.
Budget 2020: What's in store for a Motswana child?
Thursday 26 March 2020
Part of the Childrens Act reads: "An act to make provision for the promotion and protection of the rights of the child; for the promotion of the physical, emotional, intellectual and social development and general wellbeing of children; for the protection and care of children; for the establishment of structures to provide for the care, support, protection and rehabilitation of children; and for matters connected therewith." This already sets a premise of the regard and attitude children should be given and is an even greater responsibility of the government's side. Read more on the homepage of this website.
1 Jan 2020
SEMK Botswana wishes for all visitors of this website to have a pleasant, healthy and prosperous 2020.