During our third weekend in Botswana, we participated in a homestay visit in Kanye. Kanye is a village located 90 minutes from the capital city, Gaborone. Each student was assigned a host mom that took them through their daily lives in a rural environment. Despite common misconceptions about what constitutes a village, we got exposed to a variety of living conditions. In an area with over 50,000 residents, our host families were all from different socioeconomic backgrounds. For example, I had the privilege of staying in a large house with running water, an internet connection, and a family maid. On the other hand, there were students who got to use a bucket of water to manually start the toilet and others who had to go outside to use the restroom. There is a water crisis in Kanye that has been occurring for many years. We got to experience some of the struggles that families face because of their lack of access to basic human rights. Apart from the hardships that many families face, there are still many similarities, between urban and rural lifestyles, that we experienced. For example, we attended a local wedding. Apparently, wedding traditions began the day before, so what we observed was the ending of the ceremony. Since we are all predominantly white, we immediately stood out as foreigners upon arrival. There were many locals interacting outside the main ceremony–we even ran into a worker from our motel. The bride and groom were under a large tent space with the rest of their family and friends. Because we stood out in the community, we were treated as guests and seated in the center of the aisle, near the bride and groom. It was an uncomfortable interaction at first, but it pushed me to make the most out the environment I was in. I grew to understand that the hospitality behind their actions is deeply rooted in the culture. This was evident the following Sunday morning when I attended church with my host mom. Not only was everybody very welcoming, but the pastor even announced my presence and convened the room to pray for me. Overall, my time at Kanye was fulfilling and helps me remember to see the beauty in the little things.


Nicole Ibrahim