30 Apr 2016
Finished knitting 1 pair of socks yesterday and worked on jumper.
In the afternoon we took a car load full of stuff to the 2nd hand shop. In exchange for that we were offered a cup of coffee, which we reclined, but it was a nice gesture.
Mmegi reported that the World Health Organization, which published this week a report to mark World Malaria Day, has counted Botswana among the six countries in Africa which could be malaria free by the year 2020.
The Dutch newspaper Trouw reports: ” No bearskin or tusks to be taken in a suitcase on return from a holiday. State secretary bans import of trophies of protected animals”. Trouw continues: “people who at any price want to go to countries to shoot an elephant or a lion, will have to arrange that with the authorities in these countries, according to Van Dam. But if those self-appointed Big 5 hunters arrive at Schiphol with tusks or other trophies, they will find the state secretary obstructing their way. The objects are not allowed to entry the country.
From 2012 till 2015 there were 27 requests for importing hunting trophies of lions, bears, elephants, panthers, several kinds of bucks and monkeys, wolves, lynxes and other cat like animals. 17 Requests have been refused, according to Van Dam. But even a mediocre hunter can think of landing in Dùsseldorf and drive home in his car. When Van Dam´s colleagues might visit him for a checkup he will say that the trophy has been in the family for generations. But the state secretary has anticipated on that. He takes it for granted that the surrounding countries will soon follow his example.
29 Apr 2016
Worked on the socks yesterday.
Enclosed in our newspaper we received a begging letter from Amref Flying Doctors. Striking was the foto on the envelope and the leaflet inside of an African woman. The foto was a resemblance of our foto of the Girl in Botswana, in mirror image. Our foto was created spontaneously; when I had returned home it turned out to be very much like the painting of the Girl with the Pearl Earring, by Vermeer. Vermeer probably would not have thought his painting would get that many followers. Otherwise he surely would have included in his will
that his ancestors had to open a face book page for the painting.
BASARWA WANT TO INITIATE OWN EMPOWERMENT PROJECTS
MPHO KELEBOGE, SUNDAY STANDARD, 27 MARCH, 2016
Councilors for CKGR and New have dismissed Minister of Wildlife and Tourism Tshekedi Khama’s decision to entice residents of CKGR with photographic tourism activities.
The two leaders argue that their tribesmen have no knowledge of photographic tourism and therefore called on government to stop misleading the public that there has been an official meeting aimed at consulting Basarwa on the benefits of doing Photographic Tourism.
“We hear about it from the media but we have not been officially briefed about the matter. We suspect that they are discussing it in Parliament because at council level we have not yet received any official communication about the initiative,” said Gantsi Township East Councilor Bashi Thite.
Although they appreciate government’s recent decision to provide them with services like water, the residents are against Photographic Tourism saying they have little knowledge about it.
Thite accused government of coming up with initiatives that are not comprehensible to Basarwa.
“Government has never consulted us about Photographic Tourism and the benefits behind the idea. It is unfortunate that the decision was made without our input; at least to hear from us what we believe can be the best for us as Basarwa community,” he said.
Thite added that “Government made the decision alone and is now telling Parliament that we have agreed with them but the fact of the matter is that she has never consulted us. We think Cultural tourism is better than Photographic because we have talents and we can showcase our culture to tourists,’’ said Thite.
Basarwa Community through their leaders believe that government should consider Cultural tourism first and Photographic as a second option. They said they have not even been trained on how to run photographic tourism businesses.
They argue that government should train them to be tour guides professionals and other available jobs which are related to tourism in CKGR and not to subject them to difficult initiatives that they are not interested in.
Thite said they were expecting government to hold workshops in different settlements in CKGR to train them on tourism activities but that has never happened.
“We are only aware of a planned meeting by the Commissioner of District Development Committee from Gantsi which is aimed at discussing amongst others the Patron of CKGR Trust, Board members and its trustees. Government owes us an explanation for all these things. Even the 1993 initiative whereby some Basarwa were recruited to study Tour Guide courses is yet to bear fruit. Government has never explained anything to us about the status of their studies and my understanding is that some of them did not do well,” said Thite.
He further observed that “I’m afraid the photographic tourism they are talking about will fail unless government has some trained people who are going to do it and not the Basarwa community. But it would be unfortunate and sad for a Democratic government like Botswana to do that without consulting residents of CKGR,” said Thite.
His main bone of contention is that they want government to train them, provide them with all the necessary skills and show the sustainable long term benefits of undertaking such an initiative. He expressed confidence that with Cultural tourism they are best suited to do it as they have done that before to some tourists who have been to their settlements.
“I foresee photographic tourism failing because there are no animals available except a few of them which are far in the northern part of CKGR in particular, in the kweneng area. We suggest that government should consider starting a Cultural Village where tourist can come and seat down with the Basarwa and we showcase our culture whether in the form of music, Poetry or dance just to sell and share with them our culture,’’ said Thite
Basarwa said that they need a cultural village which they could use as a tool to benefit themselves.
“If at all the Photographic Tourism they are talking about is planned properly we should see tourists coming to view a cultural village which should be built in the centre of CKGR. We expect tourists to come and inquire about where to look and take photos of their preferred animal; which season of the year and that should be done by Basarwa. Some of our children should be taught to be Tour Guide professionals to enable them to acquire skills so that they could assist and guide tourists to different places within CKGR and not employees coming from outside,’’ said Thite.
Councilor for New Xade and Basarwa Spokesperson Jumanda Gakelebone also shared the same sentiments. He argued that government should take Basarwa community seriously and share information with them regarding anything about CKGR.
“Although we have been relocated from CKGR to New Xade we still remain residents of CKGR and no one will stop us from benefiting from resources that are found in CKGR,” said Gakelebone.
He said the Photographic area the Basarwa are expected to operate on does not have enough animals except the Northern area which he said is already occupied by President Ian Khama and his family.
“I believe we should be allowed to practice Cultural Tourism than the government initiative. We want something that can benefit us because we have skills on how to showcase our culture through, dancing, and Poetry not photographic tourism,” he said.
Gakelebone said due to lack of education on Photographic Tourism they will continue to advocate against it until government comes out clear and explain to Basarwa how are they going to manage it and the benefit from it.
When answering a parliamentary question on behalf of Minister of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism, Minister of lands and Housing Prince Maele said government has plans to assist the residents of Central Kalahari Game Reserve (CKGR) to benefit from photographic tourism.
He told Parliament that some of the activities have already begun. These include
mobilisation of residents to create awareness and educate them on tourism and related activities as well as establishment of a Joint Community Trust of which accrued benefits would be shared amongst the residents of the reserve.
Maele said the trust will generate employment opportunities for Basarwa and improve the livelihoods of them and at the same time conserving the environment.
He said potential community campsites and lodge sites have also been identified in consultation with the community.
Maele said plans for the tourism infrastructure have not yet been completed and therefore impossible at this stage to determine the actual budget that will be required for the development the project.
Member of Parliament for Ghanzi North, Noah Salakae had asked the minister if there are plans to assist people of CKGR to benefit from photographic tourism..
28 Apr 2016
Worked on jumper and socks yesterday.
I have made a request to the owners of the three safari camps where the book “You run you die” was created, Dereck and Beverly Joubert, to sponsor early schoolleavers to continue their education. There are youngsters who deserve a chance for a better life. The lead to ask this question was the conclusion of the author that if one wants the local people to take care of the environment and the animals, the proceeds of the safari camps should go back into the communities. While in Namibië there are safari camps which are managed by the local people, the president of Botswana does not want to hear of it. In spite of local people, and even Botswaanse NGO’s supporting the indeginous people, trying to set them up. Permits simply are not given. The president rather sees the proceeds of the camps flow abroad. Tax evation? That conclusion is too easy. Might he be scared that the local people are not capable ot running a safari camp? If that is the case, they couild be trained. As advisers to protect the environment and the animals he rather uses Amricans and not the locals in Botswana, who would be able to understand best off all the changes in environment and number of animals.
27 Apr 2016
Worked on socks and jumper yesterday.
Because our second hand articles were difficult to sell, I shall take them to the second hand sales shop in Hoogeveen. The shop has got several goals; one of them is to train people who find it difficult to obtain a job for themselves, to find work. I have started packing the stuff into boxes. Things that can be used for the theme “mice and other animals” may stay.
From Nampol we received the joyful news that they will take me to visit Gaone in September.
26 Apr 2016
Finished the scarf yesterday, knitted as piece to the jumper and made a start on a pair of socks for a client.
25 Apr 2016
Worked on jumper and scarf yesterday.
24 Apr 2016
Knitted 5 mice yesterday, that is a total of 870. The fun of knitting mice and chickens is completely gone. As the sale on 27 April probably will not go ahead, and there is doubt about the sale at the Kuna Festival in July, and there has been no offer for a vacant shop, I have decided to stop making mice and chickens for the moment. The next planned sale will be in November, there is enough in stock for that. There is still a scarf and a jumper to be finished and I am going to concentrate on teaching at Nampol Vocational Training Centre. Find out how far they have got with the preparations of the setting up of the pre school, in which the students can bring the theory they learn in practice. And what I want to teach them. Which materials can be bought in the shops and which also are affordable. Which waste products are available to suitable to be used. In September the students can assist with this.
The Sunday Standard reports:
“TK gives heads up to EU for plan to ban trophy hunting imports.
The Telegraph Reporter 22 Apr 2016
The minister of Environment, Tourism and Wildlife Tshekedi Khama has expressed approval on a call by the European Union to ban the importation of products of trophy hunting.
The USA imposed a ban on trophies hunted from the SADC region and the EU Parliament intends to move a motion to ban the importation of trophies hunted from the region as well.
Whilst minister Khama admitted that they have not formally received an official document, he said he welcomed the move.
“They haven’t informed us officially and we are waiting to hear from them as to what exactly it is that they intend to achieve.”
Whilst other countries such as Zimbabwe and Namibia have expressed concern over the planned vote to ban trophy hunting imports, Botswana has remained unmoved reiterating that trophy hunting is bad for conservation efforts.
“They should do more on poaching especially the control of guns which are used by poachers,” said minister Khama.
The European Parliament last month hosted a discussion in Brussels calling for a complete ban on trophy-hunting imports into the EU or for current legislation to be tightened. Concerns and debates around the role of trophy hunting in conservancies raged last year after the killing of ‘Cecil the lion’ in Zimbabwe and an endangered black rhino in Namibia.
These two incidents triggered demands to ban trophy hunting throughout Africa, and according to international reports, several airliners last year banned the transportation of hunters’ animal trophies aboard their planes.
“I think it is a welcome move; they should go all the way and see how best they can help in anti-poaching,” concluded Khama.”
23 Apr 2016
Knitted 1 mouse yesterday and part of the jumper. I have send a letter to Nampol for Gaone.
22 Apr 2016
Knitted 3 mice yesterday.
A letter has arrived from Gaone (we sponsored her to follow the Early Childhood and Education course). She wants me to be present at her graduation on 13 May. I want that very much too, but Botswana is too far away for a day trip. She mentioned that she has got a job at a primary school and teaches the reception class. I shall try to visit her in the beginning of October.
Sponsorship education by Debswana.
Taken from Wikipedia:
“Debswana Diamond Company Ltd, or simply Debswana, is a mining company located in Botswana, and is the world's leading producer of diamonds by value. Debswana is a joint venture between the government of Botswana and the South African diamond company De Beers; each party owns 50% of the company. Debswana operates four diamond mines in central Botswana, as well as a coal mine.”
Taken from Debswana’s website:
“DEBSWANA SCHOLARSHIPS TAKE OFF
The first batch of students in the re-introduced Debswana Diamond Company scholarship programme has begun their studies at both local and overseas institutions. Thirty-six (36) students were placed at local institutions; with 13 students admitted to Maru-a-Pula School and 12 at Legae Academy for A-level studies while the remaining 11 enrolled at University of Botswana.
Fourteen (14) of the students will be studying in the United Kingdom at Chelsea Independent College and Duff Miller College. It was a cheerful moment for the parents, who were proud to see their children leaving for their studies. Students were all smiles to have successfully earned the coveted Debswana scholarships.
Since the launch of the scholarship in March 2015 and the selection of the top 50 students, Debswana representatives from the Organisational Effectiveness & Talent office held a number of briefing sessions with the scholarship winners to remind them of the expectations of the sponsor.
Speaking recently at the send-off ceremony for the students going to the UK, Debswana representative, Mr Johannes Motshegare said "as your sponsor, we expect you to maintain high grades during your studies and upon completion, come back to honour your contract agreement." The sessions were held in partnership with British Council, which has been selected as the Scholarship Administrator.
In March 2015, Debswana announced the reintroduction of the scholarship programme, as part of its dedication to the development of human capital in this country as well as to ensure the mining industry future skills demand and supply are met. The Debswana scholarship programme exists to augment government's efforts through the Human Resources Development Council of ensuring targeted development of skills that are critically needed in the economy.”
Mmegi informed on 20 April:
“Debswana injects millions into education
JWANENG: Debswana Jwaneng Mine, through their Debswana Government Schools Development Programme (DGSDP), graduated teachers from seven primary schools around Jwaneng over the weekend.20 April 2016.
The programme, a partnership between the Mine and government, focused on enhancement of leadership and supervisory skills. Experts were dispatched to assist schools in fields such as Science, English and Mathematics.
The Jwaneng Mine general manager Albert Milton revealed they channelled P3.7 million towards their CSI projects and P1 million in DGSDP. He said the aim is to improve the pass rate in these subjects and since the implementation of the programme in 2002, the targeted schools have continuously registered an increase in the pass rate.
“I greatly support excellence especially in children’s education and I would like to see Jwaneng area taking the lead and excelling academically,” he added.
Milton said they will award prize money and trophies for the top three students and teachers and an overall award for a school that will take position one in the 2016 primary school leaving examination.
The Mine also unveiled two refurbished libraries for Dinonyane and Kgalagadi Primary Schools to the cost of P800,000 so as to promote research and readership among learners. The upgrade included installation of audio visual equipment, furniture and books.
The Mine’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) committee chairperson Tumelo Ntlhayakgosi stated that Maboane, Jwana, Kgalagadi, Teemane and Betesankwe primary schools were sponsored P200,000 to improve performance of schools in the agriculture subject. Part of the fund was used to purchase garden equipment.
Additionally, 200 study desks were donated, which are suitable for remote area set-ups and will be distributed among less privileged students who will be identified by their schools. Ntlhayakgosi added that an information centre was set up at Jwaneng public library at the cost of P500,000 and will be used as a point of contact for members of the public on any information related to Debswana and Jwaneng Mine.”
It feels good to know that education is supported directly by a diamond company. After all, the diamonds belong to all the inhabitants of Botswana, and in this way many Batswana (name for inhabitants of Botswana) share in the profits.
21 Apr 2016
Knitted 5 mice yesterday.
Sales are not going well this year. We probably will not attend the Kuna Festival, because it is not allowed to sleep in tents on the site. The alternatives (on camping, distance 3 km, or going home) are no option. There is an offer to stay in the safari tent, but it is not clear to me what this is and where it is situated. The requests to use vacant shops have been rejected. However, we are waiting for an answer from one estate agent. The sale during the King’s birthday celebration (27 April) probably will come to nothing. The weather forecast predicts 80 % chance for 12 mm rain.
I think it is a pity that the exhibition is not realized. I enjoyed making plans for the setting up of the “animals” in funny situations. Who knows, maybe next year there might be a chance to set it up. In the mean time I keep looking for other sale places. The good news is that my thyroid gland seems to be working slower, I feel a lot better anyway.
20 Apr 2016
Knitted 5 mice yesterday.
I have sent a letter to the commission of the Foreign Trade and Development Aid in the Dutch House of Commons. Recently the General Audit’s office had announced that the money given to large organizations for development aid was too much frittered away and inefficient. My request to the commission is to give small organizations that work efficiently and use their money only for aid support finances to increase their help.
The book “You run you die” is becoming more interesting and exciting. There are stories about how many things can go wrong at the same time and how extreme the expectations of the guests sometimes are about the services that are provided in the camp. I can recommend the book to everybody, that is, if it has been translated into English. I cannot discover if this is the case.
Visitors to Botswana will have noticed the absence of toilet paper in most public toilets. In “You run you die” it mentions that staff members get one roll a month and someone who wanted more was told to make do with it. Most of them manage with one, maybe they brought some with them from their homes? When I am in Botswana I always carry some paper on me.
In Mmegi was an article about a shortage of beds and matrasses in some boarding schools. According to the schools the culprits were the students.
“Quality sleep, hygiene, consummate effective learning.
With the education system at its worst and endless appeals made for involvement of all stakeholders to resuscitate it, it is saddening to learn some students stay in deplorable conditions.
In yesterday’s edition, we carried a story revealing how students in some boarding schools sleep on the floor due to acute shortage of beds and mattresses. The report focused on three schools in the Mmathethe/Molapowabojwang constituency - Mmathethe Junior Secondary School (JSS), Ntwalwang JSS in Digawana and Mogale JSS in Maokane. The situation there has been going on for a year now, and the political leadership is aware of it. Consequently, students at these institutions, especially male learners, share beds while some sprawl on the floor at night. It is an unacceptable condition in which these learners live with. Furthermore, it is not conducive for learning at all. Lack of proper rest by being squeezed into a tiny bed has the potential to interfere with learners’ concentration levels leading to disrupted attention spans. While school management attributes this state of affairs to vandalism, it is disturbing that the area Member of Parliament, Alfred Madigele is on record saying the shortage is due to the boys using the foam mattresses in the loo as a last resort whenever they run out of toilet paper.
There is an element of vandalism, we agree. However, above all else there is negligence on the part of the school management, boarding masters, parents and whoever is responsible for ensuring that the students have their basic needs met. Provision of toiletry should be elementary, especially at a time when it is unnecessary for students to be burdened while their rudimentary needs are being overlooked. We understand boarding students are provided with toilet paper; one roll per student monthly by boarding custodians, but it is also evident that one is not enough. For students to resort to using mattress foam, as a utility in the toilet must mean they really are in great need.
One wonders what parents are doing to ensure their children’s welfare is taken on board along with their learning. Parents must ensure that students have all they need to attend classes in a hygienic way. Besides providing bath soaps, body lotions and more, it is necessary to provide the essentials that take care of nature’s call. We understand that not all parents can afford to provide the best care for their children, but honestly as critical players in education, all effort must be made. In fact, parents must be the ones coming after boarding authorities in these schools and knocking on doors at the Ministry of Education to demand good living conditions for their children. How often and how many of the affected learners’ parents have seen this situation first hand? This is not to say we condone the use of foam mattress as toilet paper by the boys. ’Thuto ke boswa’ meaning education is heritage.
Today’s thought (which is published in the paper every day):
“Sleep is the golden chain that ties health and our bodies together.” -Thomas Dekker”
Botswana as a whole seems to have a shortage of toilet paper. In nearly all public toilets you will not find it. Once I visited the offices of a large political party. I was given a roll of toilet paper before going off to the toilet and was told to bring it back, in case someone might go off with it.
19 Apr 2016
Knitted 5 mice yesterday.
The book “You run you die” is still interesting and breathe taking reading. There is advice on what to do when you stand in front of an animal that wants to attack you or want to use you as a meal. But also the ins and outs of a safari camp far from the civilized world where the wild animals walk in between the tents, especially when it is dark.
18 Apr 2016
Knitted 3 mice yesterday.
A friend has lent me the book “You run you die”. It is written by a Dutchman, who together with his girlfriend became the managers of a super lux and small lodge in the Okavango Delta in the north of Botswana. The description of the events is original and surprising.
17 Apr 2016
Knitted 2 chickens and 3 mice yesterday. (Total 841 mice.)
16 Apr 2016
No knitting has been done yesterday.
An estate agent informed that the owner of the shop which we wanted to use for our sales did not want to offer it for our use. The estate agent pointed out another vacant shop.
15 Apr 2016
Knitted 6 chickens yesterday and continued with the jumper.
14 Apr 2016
Knitted 1 chicken yesterday.
I have contacted two estate agents to let them know that we are interested to use a shop of which they are the mediator, for an exhibition and selling point of our knitwear.
The question “what can it mean that 1 person out of the 2 million inhabitants in Botswana has been discovered in the Panama Papers, compared to hundreds of Dutch people out of 17 million fellow inhabitants” no answer has come up yet. All I can do is ask two more questions. Are Batswana better in hiding their money, or do they not have sufficient money to make it worthwhile to hide? There is another question I cannot work out. Why do people have the need to own such large quantity of money? More than a normal person can spend in 10 lives? Might they be scared that one day they could be reduced to poverty like so many other people are already? I invite you to give your opinion on these questions by using the contact form on this website.
Yesterday the Guinness World Records replied to our question made in August 2015 to be mentioned in the book for having knitted the largest family of hand knitted mice.
“Dear Corrie Scholtheis,
Thank you for sending us the details of your proposed record attempt for 'largest family of hand knitted mice'.
Unfortunately, after thoroughly reviewing your application with members of our research team, we are afraid to say that we cannot accept your proposal as a Guinness World Records title.
Unfortunately, we do already have a record for this category and what you have achieved does not better this. The Largest display of knitted animals is a minimum of 1000.
For information on what makes a record, we would advise before submitting an application to visit http://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/FAQ/what-makes-a-world-record. This page will provide you with helpful information if you are thinking about breaking or setting a record.
Once again thank you for contacting Guinness World Records.
Records Management Team
Please be aware that as your record application has not been accepted, Guinness World Records is not associated with the activity relating to your record proposal and does not endorse this activity in any way. If you choose to proceed, then this is will be of your own volition and at your own risk. Guinness World Records will not monitor, measure or verify this activity.”
If they had mentioned this earlier, it might have been possible to knit more than 1000 mice.
13 Apr 2016
Knitted 4 chickens yesterday and part of the jumper.
12 Apr 2016
Knitted 3 chickens and part of the jumper yesterday.
An article in Mmegi of 8 April announces that after a visit to the CKGR by ministers of three ministries, the government has decided to pump Pula 20 million (about € 1.750.000) in the CKGR. The ministry of health also has become involved and shall send a mobile clinic to all the settlements to check up the people. Water will be distributed with a water tanker and in three settlements tourism projects will be set up (There was no mention of what this involves.) The spokesman for the First People of the Kalahari, Roy Sesana, has been appointed by the adjacent council as contact person between the council and the inhabitants of the CKGR. He will be the chairman of a committee, consisting of one member of each of the six settlements. He is going to have a secretary.
A Mmegi reader’s reaction I did not understand correctly. It gave me the following idea. “The settlements in the CKGR were closed in 2002 because they were not fit for humans to live in. They were forced to move to resettlement camps outside the CKGR. Now the settlements in the CKGR are going to be renovated. Might it have been easier to have had them renovated in 2002 and left the people and the services where they were? Probably my imagination went off the track to come to this conclusion. The question what the reader exactly meant stays.
From a good source I understand that a start has been made to repair the water pump in Molapo This pump produces salty water. The rest of the promised services are still only plans. As someone mentioned: “It takes irritatingly long for the services to arrive.”
The British human rights advocate told in an interview with Mmegi that in 2002 the government arbitrarily withdrew services from the CKGR to make Basarwa vacate the area against their will. “This was an abuse of power. If the government now intends to restore some of these services, it needs to show the Bushmen (Basarwa) and the Botswana public that it will not do the same again. It should agree that in future it can terminate services only on reasonable notice and for proper reasons, and that the Bushmen should be able to challenge these reasons before an independent tribunal. This is the only basis on which the government can hope to rebuild the Bushmen’s’ trust and confidence,” says Bennett. (From Mmegi. 8 April 2016.
11 Apr 2016
Knitted 4 chickens yesterday and a piece of the jumper.
In our nearest large village many shops are unoccupied. An empty shop would be a good place to sell knitwear and create a kind of exhibition with the theme “mice and other animals”. I wanted to set this up at the Kuna Festival in Lheebroek, but because it is still unclear whether I can stay the nights there, I am now seriously going to consider setting it up in a shop. Wednesday I am going to have a look at the empty shops, make notes of the estate agents and contact them. Advantage of a shop is that one is out of the rain, which cannot be guaranteed for the Kuna Festival.
10 Apr 2016
Knitted 2 chickens yesterday and more of the jumper.
“Luxury is: Endless nothing around you. This one can find in Namibia, of which the greatest luxury is space, a lot of space.” This is announced by a luxury travel organization. They also mention where one can find the most super luxurious lodge in Namibia. However, they are forgetting that the lodges clutter up this well praised space, making it not so spacious any longer. I think one gets quickly fed up with an empty view.
9 Apr 2016
Knitted 4 chickens yesterday and added a bit to the jumper.
In The Netherlands there was a factory that made good working medicines to get a slow working thyroid gland back into balance. In the beginning of this year this factory was closed and moved to Germany. It will take half a year for the medicine to be in stock again. This created a great problem, as there was no stock made up to bridge this half year. I decided to use another brand after my supply was finished, to avoid suffering from possible side- effects during my stay in Botswana in September. Six weeks ago I started with the other brand. It should not give any problems, so I was told. But after three weeks there were complaints, one of them was that I felt extremely tired. A blood checkup showed that my thyroid gland was working too fast. Reducing the quantity of the medicine was necessary. This brought another problem to the light. The manufacturers of other brands could not cope with the extra demand and one of the two tablets I need was not in stock at the chemist’s. Another brand was offered, which I declined, because yet another brand might mean even more unbalance. It will take some time to get the right amount of medicine to get the thyroid gland back in balance anyway. If trhis does not happen before 30 August, I might as well stay at home, because with an exhausted body I can accomplish little or no work. Luckily, I did get the tablets, it was discovered that yesterday morning a fresh supply had been delivered, and I could start with them this morning. There are thousands of people in the same predicament, which is going to cost a lot of money with giving information, extra checkups, wasting tablets that are useless because they are the wrong ones. It also gives patients physical and mental discomfort as it can make the whole body go out of balance. It made me knit less chickens than normally. What I want to make clear with this story is that a thoughtless/ short-sighted decision can have consequences as far as in Botswana. Knitting less means less to sell and less income to sponsor people in Botswana. In case this story is slightly incomprehensible, the reason for this is clear.
8 Apr 2016
Knitted 3 chickens yesterday and added a few rows to the jumper.
7 Apr 2016
Continued with crocheted scarf yesterday.
No news about the boy with the epileptic attacks. What can I do during my next visit, beginning of October I shall be in Ghanzi. In the first place find him. Then try to take him to the hospital and make enquiries about the checkups that have been done on him already. Possibly ask for a new checkup and see to it that he is given the right medicines. But everything depends on whether he gets regular adequate meals so he can take his medicine on time. And whether his living circumstances are adequate and he does not have to live in a corrugated 2 x 2 x 2 meter hut, wearing old dirty clothes and sleeping under dirty blankets. And that he attends school. The idea to take him for a visit of three month to The Netherlands occurred to me, but after that he will be in the same situation as before. First I have to find him and then make plans for the next steps.
6 Apr 2016
Knitted 5 chickens yesterday and a piece for the jumper.
5 Apr 2016
Knitted 2 chickens yesterday and started to knit a jumper.
Mmegi reported about the Panama Papers, the research into tax evader’s paradises, that the name of one Motswana was discovered in it. According to our Dutch newspaper, hundreds of Dutch people have been discovered, maybe 400. For convenience’s sake we shall use this number. It means 23,5 people for every million inhabitants make use of these paradises. (The Netherlands consists of 17 million inhabitants.) Botswana has got 2 million inhabitants, that is 0,5 for every million make use of them. The Dutch consider it apparently more important to put away their money in a shielded off place than Batswana. What could this mean?
4 Apr 2016
Knitted 4 chickens yesterday.
3 Apr 2016
Knitted 6 chickens yesterday,
In our yesterday’s Dutch newspaper was an article on Development aid. “The effect of aid money is vague. Also the new way of “development aid through trade and industry” has been frittered away and was inefficient.” This was the opinion of the General Audit Office. The Ministry of Foreign Trade and Development Aid finances dozens of regulations and projects for Dutch businesses who want to support the poor part of the world to improve themselves, by setting up a business. But it is unclear how many jobs have been created in this manner, whether labour circumstances have been improved and whether innovations have been made. The costs for implementing and maintaining the projects should preferably be about 10%, though for some this is 15% and at least for one 30%. The other thing is, that the Dutch businesses are letting themselves be guided by “market opportunities”. SEMK Botswana has asked twice for a donation for educational projects from the Ministry and has been given nothing. In spite of the explanation that small organizations might be able to work more efficient than large ones. The implementing- and maintenance costs for the projects are paid for by the committee members of SEMK Botswana, so that all the incoming money is spend on the projects. Three people have found a job because of an educational project. This is very clear.
2 Apr 2016
Knitted 5 chickens yesterday.
Article in Mmegi 24 March 2016.
“On Tuesday the nation celebrated the official launching of the new passenger train by President Ian Khama in Lobatse. The air was thick with excitement from Batswana as Botswana Railways (BR) unveiled the BR Express. It was obvious that Batswana and other travellers longed for the passenger service train after it was discontinued in April 2009. Although the authorities explained their decision to stop the passenger train service seven years ago, Batswana were not convinced. Some of the reasons were that the passenger train was not economically viable and that the coaches were dilapidated and exposed passengers and the BR to high levels of risk. The resultant stoppage then led to traffic congestion in our over used main roads especially during the public holidays. This also led to unnecessary accidents. But this is in the past, now we celebrate the launching of the BR Express, our pride as a progressive nation. The BR’s primary mandate was not complete without the provision of the passenger train service. The world over, the railway transportation is cost effective and BR is not an exemption. The prices charged by the organisation for the passenger service, in our view, are reasonable. And the BR is more likely not to make profits out of the provision of the service. We are reliably informed that the passenger service will consist of the following classes: standard (economy) class coaches; business class coaches; sleeper (first) coaches; buffet car; and the generator van as well as the luggage van. The train, we have been informed, will stop at six strategic stations being Lobatse, Gaborone, Mahalapye, Palapye, Serule and Francistown. We think this decision to stop at only six stations is not fair to other Batswana living along the railway line. The BR Express as a state property belongs to all Batswana. They should all enjoy the experience of travelling in the train. We plead with the powers-that-be to reconsider this decision. More stations along the railway line should be included. As an inclusive country that does not discriminate against our fellow citizens, we should be mindful of those living in rural settlements. On another score, we plead with customers to take care of this train. We do not want to see a situation where the train is vandalised and more money spent on unnecessary maintenance. Anybody who vandalises this train should face the wrath of the law. So much was spent on this train so that BR provides its customers with good and efficient service. We join the rest of Batswana in welcoming the BR Express!
Today’s thought “I am happy to announce that the re-instatement of the Passenger Train Service also forms part of activities or projects lined up to celebrate our 50th Anniversary as a country.”
– President Ian Khama
1 Apr 2016
Knitted 2 egg cozies and 2 chickens yesterday.
It was a great disappointment to find that the knitting yarn stall in the market had discontinued selling yarns. I had a look on the websites of knitting yarn wholesalers, but found nothing suitable. The colors I am looking for (orange and sky blue) were not for sale.