We have been in Gabane a little over one week now and we have experienced so much. This post turned out long so it is offered in 3 installments.
Security: We never thought security was such an issue but it is. We have locks and burglar bars that would put any New York apartment dweller to shame. We also have a security system with whom I have spoken several times. They do not want to drop the previous PCV from the list so are still contacting her and don’t seem to be sure who we are. Apparently despite the strong family relationships and sense of community, there is a problem with thievery- probably related to the extremely high unemployment rate. Young people, even with education, can’t get jobs which results in high levels of drug and alcohol abuse which we know is tied to criminal and other risky behaviors. We even left some clothes on the line after dark. Our neighbor called and told us it wasn’t safe to leave it there over night- it might get stolen!
There only seems to be one set of keys for everything everywhere. We experienced this in Molepolole during the homestay but it wasnt an issue because we were always together. Here is our journey to get a second set of keys made:
1. First shopping trip to Gaborone we went to a locksmith. He could only duplicate one of the keys.
2. First week we shared one set. Thought we’d be smart and Gary would come in the back door. It isn’t on the alarm bypass so it triggered the alarm (My first call to the security folks including a visit from them!) So, Gary would come by my work on his way home and get the keys.
3. Went to Gabs yesterday, went to a hardware store that copies keys. Their machine was broken. they sent us to Gaborone Garage- nearby. The person who makes keys was at a funeral and they didn’t know when he would be back. (also, the person who sells the electricity also wasn’t there). They referred us to Kenny’s Locksmith. (for my Santa Cruz friends- guess all locksmiths are some derivative of the name Ken). Since we had to take a taxi to get there, I convinced the clerk at Gaborone Garage to call (using my air time of course) before we made the trip since this would now be our fourth try. She obliged (people are really very nice and helpful). They had the blank and the clerk told me the taxi should only be P4 each. So, when offered a special taxi for P25 we pressed on until we found the shared taxis and off we went.(Shared taxis fit 4 people plus the driver and doesn’t leave until it is full). Kenny’s made the keys for us and to our utter astonishment- when we got home- they actually worked. Better than my experiences at Home Depot with key making. The added bonus was we got to see the African Mall which is basically an area around a central square (aka parking lot with a tree in the middle) with one fabric store after another. We did manage to get some fabric to cover our dining room and living room coffee tables.
Electricity: We then went back to Gaborone Garage to buy electricity and he still wasn’t there so we went next door to another store and bought it there. Problem was, we got home and our meter hadn’t changed. Apparently you have to enter a 20 digit code into your meter to get it to register. Who knew? Apparently many of our fellow Bots 16ers as one posting on our Facebook Page and within minutes we were trained and thoroughly electrified- at least for about 40 more days.