Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Re a leboga (many thanks) from Botswana!

UT Study Abroad Botswana 2016 has come to a close. The majority of students departed Maun today to their respective destinations. Some are heading off to travel in northeast Botswana, Zambia, and South Africa, while others will be headed back home to Texas.

Many many thanks to our students and everyone involved for making the past six weeks an incredible and enjoyable experience.

We would like to give thanks to the great people and organizations that made this trip possible:

Thakadu Bush Camp
 Thanks to Jeanette, her family, and their staff for their gracious hospitality during our time in Ghanzi.

For running our base camps in Ghanzi and Maun, and for providing their guidance and knowledge while on safari in CKGR and Khwai. Thanks to Colin, Daryl, Zebra, and the rest of the Kitso staff.

For months of planning, advertising, and endless support.

Lastly, thanks to the UT Department of Geography & the Environment for their continued support in this program.

We will post a short video in the next few days on our time on safari in Central Kalahari Game Reserve and the Okavango Delta. Stay tuned!

Last group photo with all our students and Daryl.

Lecture on Botswana health & Peace Corps opportunities

Peggy Flynn, a second-time Peace Corps volunteer, explains the challenges and opportunities in improving health in Botswana. Her work with the Ghanzi District has included improving management infrastructure and creating a youth group for children born with HIV. Top on her list of action items include alternative activities for youth, teens, and young adults and continued multi-media educational messages for promoting positive physical and psychological health for both individuals and communities. She also discussed long-term career and personal growth that comes from working with Peace Corps at multiple points in one's career and life and how in general our students can work to make a difference at home and abroad.

Peggy explaining how health statistics are collected and assessed, and how to read behind the numbers.

Guest Lecture II

We had 3 more guest lecture yesterday. Sven Borquin, a local researcher, presented his Ph.D. research on crocodile conservation, behavior, and diet. Andrew Stein, an American researcher and professor at Landmark College, presented his recent project on how to involve local communities in order to lessen lion-livestock conflicts using new advanced GPS technologies. Tshepiso Rankho, a local tourism operator, described how tourism benefits Botswana and how eco-tourism informs tourists about local cultures.

Sven describing how to catch, take scientific measurements, and release a crocodile safely.

Andrew telling us how he has been able to involve local communities in wildlife conservation.

Tshepiso explaining the tourism industry in Botswana.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Student Presentations III

Everyone has now done both of their student presentations. Here are a few photos from Mary's, Mariana's, and Katie's recent presentations.

Mary presenting on factors influencing wildlife in Botswana.

Mariana presenting on basket production for rural communities.

Katie presenting on human-wildlife conflicts involving elephants.

Art Making

Yesterday we went to visit Melton and his art workshop. We learned several different art techniques and everyone made their own flower and animal keychain out of wire and glass beads.

Melton showing us how to shape the wire for the flowers.

Everyone putting beads on their wires.

Melton working on a giraffe keychain.

Elizabeth's flower.

Group photo with Melton in front of his art workshop.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Basket Weaving

Today we visited a local basket weaving cooperative in Maun, where we learned how to make baskets out of palm leaves. Different types of wood bark are used to dye the leaves in combination with complex patterns which makes for beautiful baskets. Everybody made their own little basket over the hours we spent there.

Thitanya Kushonya getting everyone started.

Mariana, Kevin, and Mary concentrating.

Josie working on her basket.

Carolyn making great progress.

Mariana's beautiful little basket.