Day 14. (Day 2 Mathiba)October 10 in Botswana ⋅ ☁️ 35 °C
We are now used to the routine of getting ready for school & breakfasting prior to departure from Sitatunga. This morning - a cloudy, cooler day to start with - we set off before 7.15 and drove through Maun centre, passed the airport, to Mathiba Memorial Primary School. The school is at the end of the airport runway and we had frequent small aircraft, delta lodge bound, take off over us in the course of the morning.
The 1000+ students started lining up for Assembly as we arrived and once we were in position in front of them we were treated to a whole-assembly dance and song, which was a fabulous African greeting. They were remarkably rhythmic and intensely focused, the little ones keenly determined to do their best.
At the end of Assembly and introductions from their Executives and Stephen Marnoch, they started singing “When the Saints go marching in” and year groups peeled off and went to their classrooms .
The remaining Standard IIs were divided into small groups, which found a shady spot, and Oxley began its teaching morning.
The pairs of Oxley students spent the next 2 hours teaching, swapping groups every 40 minutes or so for the variety. It was great fun and everybody enjoyed the experience.
After break, we walked out of the ‘Oxley Gates’ the 400 metres to the local clinic. After a bit of a wait, while the waiting room emptied, we entered the HIV Aids section where we listened to a talk by a male nurse and an administrator. We were given an overview as to how the clinic dealt with their patients.
Returning to Mathiba, we sat in the shade of an admin building corridor and ate our packed lunch.
After lunch, we were invited by the Standard VIs to a ‘cultural welcome’. It was a most interesting hour or so. Mathiba have really worked hard to make our visit memorable and their organisation has been impressive. It is obvious they value their link with Oxley.
Staff spoke, children acted in traditional costume, singing and ululating occurred, a gift was given and games played (a local traditional board game) and skipping took place. It also gave Oxley the opportunity to handover the books and games each student had brought. It was a great ending to our visits to Mathiba this trip and we were sad to say farewell to the friends we had made.
While we waited for our transport to arrive, the wind gusted, a storm blew up and there was lightning and thunder. A few raindrops fell - Oxley’s first in their visits to Botswana - but nothing really came of it. We hope that it is the start of a much needed rainy season.
The usual ‘Choppies’ supermarket stop occurred on the way home to camp and we were back by 5.00. Everyone relaxed until our guest speakers arrived at 6.00. We had a fascinating evening with Drs Leanne van der Weyde and Jess Isden sharing their experience in cheetah (Leanne) and lion (Jess) conservation and mitigation. This was the third time the two had shared their experiences with Oxley groups and it is really appreciated.
Jess and Leanne joined us for dinner - as did Edward of the Sedie Science Department - and it was an interesting conversation.
We broke up about 9.00 and slowly headed for bed, exhausted. It had been a busy, rewarding and overwhelming (by the enthusiasm of the Mathiba staff and students) sort of day.Read more