Little Friends Centre Serowe, Botswana

School is free in Botswana, except, that is, for pre-school. The children of those who can afford to pay pre-school fees begin primary school with a clear advantage. There are many, though, who are not so privileged. Botswana’s high rate of HIV/AIDS has orphaned many children who are, as a result, unable to attend pre-school. With the support of private donations, however, this NGO-run pre-school enables 85 orphaned children to attend for free and enjoy such fun activities as painting curtains. Here, one such child proudly displays his artwork as well as his orange-painted toes.
Photo © 2010 Patti Koenig
Peace Corps Volunteer, Botswana–present

BOTSWANA

Botswana/Lefatshe la Botswana
Southern Africa, north of South Africa. Predominantly flat to rolling tableland, Kalahari Desert in southwest. 581,730 km2 (slightly < TX), <1% arable.

Capital Gaborone (.19M)

Population 2.1M (3.6/km2)

Life expectancy 56 years

HIV/AIDS 25%

Literacy 81%

Lang(s) Setswana 78%, Kalanga 8%, Sekgalagadi 3%, English OFFICIAL 2%, other 9%

Religions Christian 72%, Badimo 6%, other 1%, none 21%

Ethnic Groups Tswana (or Setswana) 79%, Kalanga 11%, Basarwa 3%, other including Kgalagadi 7%

Gov’t Parliamentary Republic
GDP/cap $16,300

PCVs 1966-97, 2003-present; HIV/AIDS prevention/education. Volunteers in country: 120; total to date: 2,229.

Nat’l holiday Independence Day, 30 Sept (1966)

indigenous design from Botswana

Detail from woven basket.
Copyright © Julie Olsen

Map of the world

Focus word for 2012 - "Friendship"

Setswana: Botsala (boh-tsaah-luh)

Films

The No. 1. Ladie's Detective Agency, Anthony Minghella (2008)

Books

Starlings Laughing
by June Vendall Clark
Book Description
Subtitled A Memoir of Africa and published in 1990, Starlings Laughing is an account of author and naturalist Clark's coming of age during the waning days of the British colonial era in the Bechuanaland Protectorate, current day Botswana.

Kids' Books

The Great Cake Mystery: Precious Ramotswe's Very First Case
by Alexander McCall Smith
Publisher: Anchor Books, c2012
ISBN-13: 978-0-307-94945-5
73 pages
Ages 8-12