28 December 2009

Christmas in Gabs

It has been a very low-keyed Christmas season for me here, partly because Christmas isn't as visible and commercialized here - so there have been very few decorations or signs of the holiday in town - and partly because it is summer here - it was 95 degrees on Christmas day. Most people in Gaborone leave the city for the holidays. Shops close until the week (or two) after New Years and people either go back to their villages or travel to South Africa or any other nearby holiday destination. Lots of staff from the hospital have left until after New Years.

The two holiday-type things I did before Christmas were to attend a concert at the #1 Ladies' Opera House by the University of Pretoria Choir. They sing songs in each of the 11 languages of South Africa. They finished the concert with a few Christmas sing-along songs. Their call and response harmonies and dancing reminded me of one of the things I love most about this continent.

Nancy Chescheir took these pictures. She really captured how lively this group was. I only wish you could hear their singing.

The second holiday event I attended was the Hospital Employee Christmas Party. About 250 of us gathered in the large outside courtyard located in the center of the hospital for food, caroling and some great dancing at the end!

On Christmas Eve 4 of us went to a small local game park in Gaborone that I had not visited before. You can drive yourself around Gaborone Game Preserve so we had a leisurly drive and spent a lot of time watching monkeys.

We found one of the biggest termite mounds we've seen so far. Way too many termites here, which is why there are hardly any wood-based buildings.

Here I am with my buddies Abigail and Jane with a herd of warthogs in the background.

On Christmas Day a few of us left at the hospital staff housing held a Braai (BBQ) in our complex. It was small, but there was plenty of good food.

I hope you're all having a great holiday. I miss you!!!


  1. Fun pictures- the termite mound is most impressive. Do the locals eat insects? The singers look really cool- as a previous singer myself I would love to hear them. Parts of NC had snow and ice for Christmas but it was pretty mild here. Love your blog, and love you.
    Hello to Jane:)

  2. Hey Julie, its me Nancy......SURPRISE!!! All I can say is WOW!! I am so happy for you and I marvel at how you are really "feeling" the experience based on how you draw the pictures through your words. I am still considering a road trip to Africa. Just a quick update. I completed my Masters in Managment and Org. Leadership. I am going on to pursue my DM. (Doctorate in Management). I start in April. Anyway you look great, the apartment is very small but cozy. Until next time. Happy Holiday's, love you much. Nancy

  3. Hey Julie- What WONDEFUL photos! (Such the opposite of Israel - you'd never know it was Christmas in Jerusalem.)

    As a transplant/immigrant, I can really relate to being away that first year. I love reading your blog and continue to send love and hugs. Best of luck on a fantastic, (and smoothe) hospital opening January 4th!

  4. is it true that you will fly back for Madeleine's Bat Mitzvah in August????? That would be amazing but I don't know if it is just a crazy rumor. How did the opening go? We think of you often and love to read of your adventures.

  5. that was really from Jesica but I am signed in on Dennis's acct. Hee hee hee