However, after some exploring I found a community in my part of town which is well suited to my almost daily ride. There is a road about a mile from my house and if I follow that road I come to a small neighborhood that has essentially no cars, no traffic lights, few people and a nice quiet area for riding. I’ve been riding there for several weeks and some of the kids who live in the area now recognize me and we chat. Our conversations go something like this:
Kelly: Dumela (Hello)
Kelly: Sharpo. (Good)
Kelly: Leina lameke Kelly. (My name is Kelly).
Today as I was riding I was approached by two men in uniforms carrying guns. I don’t particularly like guns, so this was a bit unsettling. They told me they had been watching me for weeks and wanted to know why I was there. After a short round of questioning I was told why they approached me. Apparently I was riding in a community that was part of the prison. There were prisoners who lived in small houses with their families inside the prison community and then reported for check in each day and their work assignments. The “really bad guys” were behind the BIG walls locked in cells. I had seen the big walls and recognized that as the prison, but didn’t realize that I had been riding around where the “not so bad guys” apparently lived as part of the extended prison.
Now, I had noticed the signs that said, “Photography not allowed” but I thought nothing of it as many foreign countries I’ve visited have those signs randomly scattered around from time to time. The barbed wire didn’t tip me off either. But, in my defense, barbed wire is EVERYWHERE here. This is the barbed wire along the 12 foot tall wall behind my house:
After my conversation with the two prison guards I asked them if I had to leave. They told me I didn’t have to. They said they just wanted to make sure I understood where I was and that just to be safe I shouldn’t become too friendly with anyone and enter anyone’s house or offer to bring someone over to mine. Aside from that I was welcome to ride there as much as I liked. As the one guard said, “It’s no problem. We always know when you are here and we are always watching you.” Because of that comment I assume this is probably the safest place anywhere in Gaborone for me to ride.