Saturday, January 30, 2010


Pictures from my first few days here! My comp is about to die, but I will write soon! Hope everyone is doing well, cause I ceratinly am! Africa is beautiful!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

2 Finals Thoughts

2 things I thought of:

1. Here's a really cool photo gallery from previous semesters in Botswana with SIT

2. My address for letters in country is as follows:

Tim Van Loan
c/o Stewart Chirova
Private Bag T010, Suite 91
Postnet Tlokweng
Tlokweng, Botswana

I would love to get updates from the states about how people are doing, plus I will write back! And who doesn't love getting mail? Just no packages, as, according to my academic director, packages can take months to get through customs, and often don't come out with everything that it came in with.

Hope to hear from you all!

Getting Started

Welcome to the blog that will document my semester in Botswana! I've known I was in this program for close to 6 months now, and in just 48 hours I will be on a flight across the Atlantic Ocean.

I'm starting my trip from Phoenix, AZ on the 26th, where I will fly to London on British Air, switch planes and fly to Johannesburg, South Africa. On the 28th I fly from Joburg to Gaborone, Botswana where my program starts.

There are 10 other students in my program, all of whom are form around the US. My program is titled Community Based Natural Resource Management, which essentially means I will be spending the semester looking at ways communities go about taking care of, or taking advantage of the environment, flora, and fauna. While I do have 4 classes that I will be receiving credit for, they aren't your typical, single professor, rigidly structured classes. Instead, all courses are supplemented by field excursions, hands-on lab and experimentation, and home stays. Some highlights I'm especially excited for are learning to track rhinos, lions, and hyenas in the field, identifying and using medicinal plants, and working with an organization called Living With Elephants, where we will observe the effects local elephant populations can have on farming communities, and explore solutions to allow for coexistence between human and elephant populations.

My program lasts from January 28th to May 12th, after which I will be traveling around the African continent. Although specifics of what I'll be doing in each location are still a bit up in the air I have a basic itinerary worked out. On May 12th, I will fly from Gaborone, Botswana to Inhambane, Mozambique. Mozambique is 172/182 on the Human Development Index, one of the lowest in the world. While there I will be taking advantage of my recent SCUBA certification by spending 7 days diving with Manta Rays, Hammerheads, Whale Sharks, and a massive variety of tropical reef life.

From Mozambique, I will fly to Livingstone, Zambia, one of two access points to Victoria Falls. While the falls are neither the longest or tallest in the world, they are considered to be the largest based on the area of falling water, making it the largest sheet of constantly falling water in the world. I'm planning on doing some bungee jumping, going on an elephant back safari, and who knows what else while.

The final leg of my trip takes me form Livingstone to Cairo, Egypt. I'll spend my 21st bday in Egypt, going to the pyramids, Sphyinx, and possibly the Valley of the Kings, time permitting.

On the 29th of May I'll leave Cairo at 5am, and land in Seattle at noon the same day.

I didn't write much about Botswana itself, cause I figure my time in the country will lead me to write more about the people, culture, and land. I am unbelievably excited for my trip, I can't wait to get started!

I'll have limited internet access, so my school email, comments on here, and Facebook will be the best ways to contact me, but don't expect a reply for a few days! I'll write again once I'm in country!