Le Weekend: Part 1

So I spent the end of my first week here doing some really fun things!


Professor Lacks brought to Botswana one of the senior design projects from Case Western this past year that uses mechanical power to charge a cell phone.  It is a bike with different attachments that can generate electricity and then convert that to power to charge a phone (5V).  So the bike was brought over, but all in pieces, and with some missing pieces (handle bars, a front wheel, and a bike stand because it is a stationary bike) so he asked us if we could put it together and also find the extra pieces needed.  We finally got the bike bag and took a look at it Saturday morning after breakfast.  Here are some pictures of what we did.

We had to straighten out one of the hooks on the frame of the bike for the back wheel because flight bent it a bit (yes we used bricks!  We couldn’t find a hammer so those were the next best thing).

We finally got the wheel and chain on the bike and this is what it looked like.  We propped it up on the side of the little gazebo/courtyard area outside of our dorm buildings.

This is the added equipment the senior design group made that Professor Lacks brought along to collect energy from the bike.

We didn’t really have the right tools to attach this metal part to the bike frame, so we improvised.  Mallory rows for Case Western and happened to have a wrench in her purse because you need it for crew, which was super handy, but Andrew thought to bring out a knife and wedge it so that the bolts at the top wouldn’t spin while you screwed in the bottom ones.

We finally got the parts on, but then realized that one of the rectifiers used in the circuit was broken (probably in transit) and we didn’t have any welding materials on hand to fix it, so we stopped and went to lunch instead!

After lunch, we went out on our hike of Kgale Hill.  It doesn’t sound too bad because it’s a hill right? Well this is what the start of the trail looked like:

The beginning was fine, because there was definitely a trail where we were going, but slowly it started getting steeper and steeper, to the point where I had to use my hands to grab on to things to make sure that I was going forward.  You definitely had to lean forward as you hiked.  At one point, we heard some screeching/screaming and the Botswana students (they came along with us) told us that we might encounter baboons and that we have to stay together as a group in case we do (so that we’re like a big pack and will scare them).

Right after they said that we stopped and let some boys lead the way (for the beginning, it was Amber in front, and then Maren, me and then Mallory, so we decided some boys aka testosterone would be good at the front).  While I waited for some guys to make their way to the front, I looked out and saw the Gaborone Dam

We continued our high ascent up Kgale Hill, including one point where we had to literally scale rocks that kind of look like this:

But we made it!  Not entirely to the top yet, but here was the view after we climbed up/over the nearly vertical rocks:

We also found a lizard on one of the rocks.  Not sure what it is, but maybe someone reading this blog will (like Mommy knew about the flowers!)

 (not a very good picture, but I was scared to get too close, in case it was poisonous and could kill me…)

We continued our hike, wanting to make it up to an antenna that was much farther up than where we were before.  I didn’t get a picture of the antenna, so I can’t show you how much more we needed to go, but believe me it was farther.  We had to again, scale more rocks, this time looking more like this:

But once again, we got a really nice view of the city/dam when we made it up:

But we weren’t all the way there yet!  It was an easy hike up to the antenna though, although we climbed under a fence to get there.  We knew right away that we had made it, because there was a summit post!

We got a really great all-around view of the city.  I decided to try out my panorama feature on the camera I bought here and it turned out to be pretty good! Except that I botched the first frame and moved the camera so there was a different lighting for the rest of it…

I don’t know if you noticed, but on the left, there is a quarry.  Not sure what they mine there, but here is a better shot of it

I could also see the University of Botswana campus from all the way at the top.

I had to zoom in quite a bit, but it’s the tiny blue building pretty close to the middle of the picture.  Do you see it?

Group picture of research on the hike!

We came back from the hike at around 4:30pm and I took a nice nap (my first nap I’ve taken here!) until dinner, where the researchers were the only people there because the Thermo students went to dinner at the house of some people from Botswana who had studied at Case Western.  These Botswana people ran into the Thermo class last year and were really excited and so they invited the class over for dinner this summer too.

After dinner, we went to a soccer match at the UB stadium, where the national Botswana soccer league plays some of their matches (not sure what the league is called) and it was fun!  It was kind of weird watching a soccer match live, because I’m so used to watching on TV where you can get instant replays of foul calls and shots on goal, but in real life, you have to pay attention all the time, and that’s weird…Just not used to it.

All of the research students went which was fun to hang out with everyone (I really like everyone who is doing research!) but unfortunately none of the UB students went with us, other than Lebo and Kevin, who are kind of our guides for our time here.

The group!  It’s a little bit blurry, because the guy who was taking our picture, a friendly fellow soccer game spectator, was also holding Brian’s camera in his other hand.  He was also really nice because he took pictures, trying to keep his shadow out of the frame.  He did a pretty good job with mine, but you can definitely still see it in Brian’s pictures.

We left the soccer game after half-time and headed back to the dorms to go to a nearby cafe to watch the Champions League final.  The cafe, News Cafe, is in a courtyard with a nice hotel, so it was pretty swanky and americanized (american food and drinks).  We walked there (about 15 minutes) and the walk there was actually very quiet (quiet neighborhood) and very well lit, which made me feel very safe and comfortable.

News Cafe from across the street.  They only had two TV’s in the whole place and we sat kind of far from one TV, but it was nice to hang out with the research kids and kind of watch the game.  I stayed there for the first half, which was not too exciting anyways.

I don’t know if you can tell, but the TV is all the way by the glass in the background.  We were deciding on what to get to eat.  I got a mango smoothie, which wasn’t really even a smoothie, but more of a shake.  It was really yummy and tasted like mango and ice cream.

My mango smoothie!

We also ended up running into three other Case Western students from the thermo class who wanted to watch the game at the cafe (the other group of Case students went to an Irish pub) and were closer to the TV than we were, so I moved over there to watch the second half (which was more entertaining.  The better half to pay attention to).  I was surrounded by Chelsea fans in the cafe, so everyone cheered and were super excited when 1) Chelsea tied it up with 3 minutes left 2) when Robben missed the penalty in extra time and 3) when Chelsea won in PK’s.  It was fun and exciting and I had a good time.

And when I got back, I got to hangout (Google+) with the family!  I don’t have very many good pictures, but here is one:

It was nice to finally get to talk to the family, even if it’s only been one week.

Sunday is up next!


4 responses to “Le Weekend: Part 1

  1. Yep, I recognize that lizard. It’s the Gaboronizard. And it can poison you, but only if you take pictures of it… Oh wait.

    Nice knowin’ ya.

    What language was the summit post in? Seems very random!

    And sports/soccer seem to be a big thing over there. Would you agree?

    • LOL AV!!!! Nothing to see here folks, I’m just a regular lizard. Move along please 🙂
      Is the tiny blue building actually a soccer stadium next to UB?
      AV, Daddy did invite you to hang out but you weren’t around.
      Bayern Munich dominated the Champion League Final but couldn’t close the deal. Chelsea deserved the win since as they bent but didn’t break. Btw, love your pictures and blog. Very informative and fun to read.:)

  2. No idea about the lizard. Gaboronizard sounds good…. The vertical rocks seemed treacherous, especially for the climb down, and the sign must say “antenna” — Nhu Nhu said she knew right away when she saw it! 🙂

    Kiwi could have told you to borrow Ominiculars from Harry, Ron, or Hermione. You’ll get instant replays and in slow motion, too! I came home in time to watch penalty kicks and it was definitely exciting!

  3. Pingback: Travel Day(s) | nguyeninbotswana

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s