This blog represents my personal reactions to my experience as a Peace Corps volunteer. It is not an official communication from the United States Government or the Peace Corps.

Sunday, January 16, 2011


I have found that reactions of friends and acquaintances to news that I am going to Botswana in the PC are varied and interesting. The words "You're kidding!" can mean everything from "Wow, how exciting!" to "You couldn't be so dumb as to do that, now, could you?" By and large people are positive. The ones who think it's a dumb thing to do surprise me in who they are.

Want to see a diamond mine? If you have Google Earth, which is easily downloaded, turn the earth to Africa. Just north of South Africa, and landlocked, is Botswana. Zoom into the country until you see cities named. The Capital, Gabarone, is on the south-southeast border with South Africa. Look west of Gabarone, zoom west some more, until you see what looks like a pale blue smudge on the map. Center that smudge and zoom in some more. Pretty soon you have a huge, open pit mine, with stepped sides. That is where diamonds are mined. No miners digging in dark tunnels, but earth graders the size of small houses picking up tons of earth at a time, and taking it to graders. Since diamonds don't break, they drop out of the crushed earth and voila, one has diamonds to sell. Botswana is so smart in owning these operations with the DeBoers company. One owns the land, one knows how to mine, cut and sell them, and everyone makes money.

If you are really into learning about Botswana, and I obviously am, watch the #1 Ladies Detective Agency series from HBO. Filmed in Botswana. The first episode of The Planet Earth,  narrated by David Attenborough, also has a nice segment on the elephant migration every year. Wow. I get to go there. I'm still processing.