If you are wondering how you take a butt load of kids on a really cheap safari, let me tell you! First, you get a huge truck-like the ones you would carry half of a house in or a wind turbine propellor (oh Iowa, I miss you). Next, you throw 35 kids in it and drive around a game reserve for 13 hours until the kids are freezing, dehydrated, exhausted, and covered with dirt from dodging branches all day. It was like a really sketchy roller coaster with absolutely no safety guaranteed. I am honestly surprised no one got hurt or fell out of the truck. We were passing white people in safari trucks all day, I tried to take pictures of them in their cars because they were taking pictures of us in ours, it seemed fair. We came across a part of the dirt road where the trees had grown together at the top and created a sort of archway that a normal safari vehicle could maneuver under but our truck was way too big. Well at this point, our driver decided to just take down the archway; branches, dirt, and spiders pelted all the lucky people in the back, who were all crouched and covering their heads, much like we had to do during tornado drills in elementary/middle school (again, heavy sigh, the Midwest). It was hilarious only because of how absolutely ridiculous everything was. As far as the safari is concerned, we got to see a surprising amount, considering how loud our truck was; you can tell the animals are used to the constant traffic. We saw elephants, hippos, monkeys, baboons, a leopard, giraffes, lions, antelope type things that I can't remember the name of, warthogs, and wild dogs. We also saw ostriches on our way home, and two hyenas on our last night at camp. Lion King nailed it when they depicted the hyena. They are very creepy and big enough to take down a cow. It had jerky head movements and I initially thought it was a wounded leopard because it's movements were so odd. He was probably only twenty feet away and didn't run away when we shown the light on it, two of them sat there watching us, waiting for us to go to sleep so they could search the camp. Hippos were constant visitors at night, we were camping down by the riverside, so we got to listen to them talk all day, too.
The monkeys and baboons were all over our camp. They knew our feeding times and came daily to ransack the grounds for our leftover food, or steal food on the table if they were fast enough, and they were a couple times. One managed to get into our store room, I could hear the screaming of the kitchen ladies to get him out. He flung poop everywhere; it was all very sanitary. I kept referring to them as racist monkeys because every time I tried to shoo one away from our food, it would come after me! Naturally, I would scream and run away. If a Motswana shoo'd one, it would leave. Damn tourists, ruining my street cred with the monkeys. They expect white people to feed them, not chase them away. Quite a few of the baboons would come with their babies which was pretty damn cute, I could watch them all day. They looked like little aliens.
Other than the camp, I have just been hanging out in my village, dreaming up some nutrition projects to start implementing. I also helped a group of women submit a grant for a machine for their water purifying business. It was a very short, simple grant, but this is Botswana, so it took about four months to complete. I understand now how some volunteers spend two years completing a grant. It took four months to ask for one machine, I cannot fathom the pain and stress of a whole building. Just the thought makes me sick.