Monday, May 16, 2011

Deaths, riots, violence? Peaceful country?

There has been a civil service strike in Botswana for 5 weeks now. Teachers, nurses, etc have been striking to get a raise. Students have been left in empty classrooms and are expected to pass exams at the end of the year, with no guidance. On Friday, the students finally got fed up with teachers not being at school so they decided to counterstrike. Unfortunately this has led to violence on that day and continued today.

Today Botswana government shut down all schools in Botswana. Apparently, the riots have gotten out of control since Friday. Students being tear gassed, students beating teachers with bricks, one teacher was stabbed in Gaborone which is only 25K from my village. Police cars lit on fire, school's trashed...and it's only Monday. Of course, rumors can spread like wildfire and no one is sure as to what is true and what isn't.

Deaths, riots, and vandalism? If so, my safety is in jeopardy, the safety of fellow volunteers are in jeopardy, the safety of students, teachers and innocent by standers are in jeopardy. I feel crippled.
Though I feel safe I live close to Gaborone and Molepolole where the violence has been the worst. Who is to say that the people in my village will not react just as the others in surrounding places have been acting. Students were told to go home today and that schools are closed indefinitely, they were told to go peacefully. Now, all over Botswana there are students who will not be in school, students who are frustrated that their education has been stripped from them and we expect that they will just stay silent? One can only hope that they make the right choice and stay calm but the worry is that they will follow suit and become violent like the students in other villages have been.

I will stay safe by laying as low as I possibly can. However, I was due to go to Gaborone to get much needed groceries tomorrow. I have 1 apple, about 2 cups of rice and half a jar of peanut butter.

I hope the students and civil servants find a way to make their points without violence. I hope the police learn how to stop all this destruction and madness. I hope we all remain safe. I hope.


  1. Thanks for sharing this, Mary. I'll be thinking about you and the people in your village. Stay safe. -Austin

  2. Oh my god Mary, that's terrifying. I'm so sorry for everyone. I really hope the violence stops immediately. I love you so so much and I want you to stay safe!

  3. Thanks!
    Apparently a lot of the stuff is rumor though I know for fact that police are in riot gear, students are throwing bricks, at least one teacher is dead and that all schools are closed. It will be interesting to find out what was rumored and what is not.
    Until then, don't worry because we are safe and things will get worked out.

  4. Mary, please keep us posted and up to date....Just got off the phone with Tija, she's going to talk to her director when she goes to training today to see if she's still going to your village tomorrow. I told her if she does go, she needs to bring you food, and she said she will. I'm sure the PC will keep you all safe, it's just scary not knowing what's really going on.

  5. Hi Tina, don't worry because everything in my area is fine and actually we are now being told that the death at least were rumors thankfully! I will definitely be able to get food (this is always a problem for me and I've learned to adjust haha)
    She'll definitely come tomorrow and I'm excited to show her around!