From Botswana to Zambia and Zimbabwe
Service and Leadership in Maun, Botswana
After traveling for over 19 hours and 7,484 miles, 16 students, two administrators, two faculty members, and alumni arrived in early January at the bustling little town of Maun. Filled with enthusiasm, the students were ready and excited to embark on a two-week service and leadership adventure in Maun, Botswana.
Day One: Maun, Botswana
The first day began as soon as the airplane landed at Maun International Airport at 1:30 p.m. local time. Students were jetlagged, but the anticipation of finally arriving was good enough to boost adrenaline. Students were greeted by Koketso Seipeleng Mookodi, one of the Mandela Washington Fellows who spent the summer of 2017 at Wagner. After dropping off their suitcases, and a brief orientation, the group went to the local market to exchange money and visited the Life Center for a guided tour.
“When I first heard about the trip I had to look online to see where Botswana was. I’d never heard of it before. However, I knew that from my point of view I really hadn’t seen much of the world, but I wanted to. I came on this trip with the hope of seeing more places and cultures. I got these things and so much more. I spent three days working in an orphanage in Maun and I think this taught me the most of all. In those short three days, I fell in love with each of those children. I can honestly say that I will never forget them; I never knew that you could start to love so quickly.” –Conchetta Aronowitz ’20, Theatre Design, Technology and Management
Day Two: Maun, Botswana
The next day the group was up bright and early to begin their service project. Students were assigned to service projects based on their interest and area of study.
Some volunteered at the Lorato House Rescue while others served the community through Love Botswana Outreach Mission’s community outreach programs. Others shadowed teachers at the Okavango International School. Above, senior Quincy Rasin ’18, public policy major, leads a class discussion on personal and community values.
“My thought process before going on this trip was very narrow. I wanted to go on vacation because I have never taken a vacation before. I wanted to learn about new cultures. Shadowing teachers at the Okavango International School gave me a first-hand opportunity to learn about Botswanan social culture — ‘Botho’ — which means sharing and caring.” –Rashon Pleasants ’18, Education
Day 3: Maun, Botswana
On their free time, the students enjoyed coffee at a local restaurant in Maun and made new friends.
“The things I will carry home and through life are the beauty and hope in each face of the 16 children in the orphanages, the smiles of the staff we were able to assist, the hands of the elderly, the songs of the prisoners, the rhythm of the community, the magic of the land and cultures, and the unity of all 20 of us.” – Winona Scheff ’20, Undecided
Day 4: Maun, Botswana
Students attended church service at the life center and assisted with serving coffee and bread to the elderly.
Other students served the Sunday school children orange juice and bread.
Day 5: Maun, Botswana
Students continued to serve at their service placement. The community outreach group worked closely with social workers during their client visits.
The group enjoyed Botswanan culture through traditional meals at a local restaurant.
Day 6: Maun, Botswana
The group spent their morning at their service placement and drove later that night to the Royal Tree Lodge, where they enjoyed a horseback safari and dinner with Dr. Jana Lackey and Dr. Jerry Lackey.
They will leave the Royal Tree Lodge in the morning to go back to Matlapaneng, Maun, to continue working at their service placement.
Day Seven: Maun, Botswana
The group returned to work in the morning, and after lunch they visited the main Maun Kgotla (Traditional Court) and met the acting Paramount Chief, Kgosi Kealetile Moremi.
Director of Co-Curricular Programs Maggie Cross introduces the group to Acting Paramount Chief Kgosi Kealetile Moremi.
Later that night, they will travel on an overnight bus through the Chobe National Park and take the Kazungula ferry to enter Zambia.
Day Eight: Crossing the Kazungula River to Zambia
After sitting in the bus all night, students were relieved to be on the Kazungula ferry to enter Zambia.
The group was able to attain a double entry visa into Zambia and Zimbabwe upon arrival. As we drove, our tour guide, Israel Rupiya, gave us a brief history of Livingstone Town. Up next was a visit to Victoria Falls. But first, breakfast!
After breakfast, the group dropped off their bags at the hotel. A short bus ride later, the group arrived at Victoria Falls.
Later that night, the group enjoyed dinner at the Livingstone Hotel.
Day 9: Zimbabwe
The group spent the last day in Zimbabwe zip lining across the Zambezi River and shopping for souvenirs for family members and friends.
Later that night, the group enjoyed dinner at the Famous Boma Restaurant.
“As my days in Zambia come to an end, I leave here feeling so overwhelmed with joy, love and gratitude. Upon coming to this extraordinary trip, I’ve been seeking a way to overcome some personal battles I’ve been dealing with. And jumping into a new world, immersing myself in the culture and people has allowed me to view my world through a different lens. Gaining new perspectives on my life and the life of others around the world has been such a positive, transformative experience. I’ve learned so much about the way of life of those beautiful people living half way around the world. I’ve made new friends, found new favorite foods, and ultimately found a greater appreciation for life. There is beauty and life and love and culture in all walks of life, including my own. Coming on this trip has truly cemented that idea for me. I will never forget this trip. Thank you for your generosity and willingness to support students like myself who needed a reminder of the things that matter most. I am forever grateful.” – Genesis Rivas ’19, Arts Administration