Sunday, October 16, 2005

Gaborone News (Oct 16)

Newscafe: The only place in Gabs with free wireless connection! Very exciting for weekend outings, but I have become a little jittery with all the coffee I have to drink to stay here…

Immigration: Thursday I had to wait 3+ hours in line to renew my visa as I am still waiting for my work permit (which I may get by May). There were tensions as ‘consultants’ for Zimbabwean workers kept cutting in line. Surprisingly, it very much reminded me of when I was applying for my green card at the immigration offices in SF.

Timing: As I was reading Cully’s blog (, I laughed as I could very much relate to his “Timing” entry. Here in Gaborone, there are only 3 times of day: in the morning, in the afternoon, and in the evening. I have made several attempts to ask for more specific times when scheduling appointments, and just ended up making people uncomfortable. When there are fixed appointments, one must keep in mind that 8am really means 8:30. Having said that though, the Harvard Institute is very much run American style- sometimes it’s quite difficult imposing this work ethic in Botswana, and has been the cause of some tension. But I feel that neither of these work ethics is bad, just different. And I really do appreciate a fixed lunch hour…


Blogger Jose said...

Hey Melissa,

I stumbled across your blog and it makes me smile to read some of your experiences. So classic. You might find my blog interesting, it's about Viagra and Viagra-related webpages. Just kidding! I love comment spam.

I just wanted to say hi, and put in my $.02 about timing: On Friday I got an email from the Gabs library, responding to an email I sent them in September 2004. Nothing sums up the Botswana timing paradigm like "just now". I.e., any time between "now" and "never".

Anyway, good luck!

Jose (Fogarty Botswana O.G.)

11:40 AM  
Anonymous Geoff said...


I ma truly sorry that you had to experience work permit lines that were similar to the INS lines back in the US. Those are mind-numbingly painful. I hope you had someone to talk to or something to read.

Congrats on the free wireless connection--is that how Christiane is connecting to the internet?


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