Friday, February 28, 2014

This Is Your Life

In the 1950s there was a show on television called This Is Your Life.  The premise of the show was to bring a surprise guest on stage with a live studio audience where the host would narrate various parts of the person’s life while bringing influential people related to different stories in to reunite with the guest of honor.

Today I was reminded of this show when I said to myself, “I can’t believe this is my life.”  At the time I was sitting in the dark, in my house, with a headlamp on my forehead trying to read a book.  Sometime last night Gaborone lost power throughout the entire city.  Who knows?  It could have been the entire country without power.  By this morning we still didn’t have electricity.  I went to campus thinking they had some generators running and I could at the very least charge my laptop so I could get some work done offline.  Since the entire city was without power the university decided not to run the generators because it would simply take up too much energy.  As of 9pm tonight we still didn’t have any power, hence why I was sitting in my dark house, with a headlamp reading a book.

As I sat there thinking to myself that I never imagined this becoming my normal way of life I was reminded of what happened the previous day.  Yesterday I was on campus and went to use the bathroom.  As I opened the stall door and took a step in I looked down and realized THERE WAS A COBRA ON THE FLOOR!  The think the cobra incident was the pinnacle of the “I can’t believe this is my life” realization.  I backed out of the stall and went to report the cobra to security.

The best part about the cobra situation is that there is actually a procedure in place for how to handle it.  I’ve said before that I consider safety a major low point here in Botswana.  Back in the U.S. we have annual active shooter trainings we must attend.  And you would never dream of exceeding the maximum number of students permitted in a classroom because it would be a fire code violation.  None of those things are a concern here.  BUT!  If there is a snake everyone knows how to handle it.  It turns out you call the army.

Since Botswana is considered the most peaceful country in Africa it is almost pointless that we have an army.  And in the unlikely event that we actually went to war we would be doomed.  There have been countless newspaper articles over the past year about how the army uses their weapons so infrequently that in recent training exercises only one in three soldiers can hit a target. (A 5’x5’ stationary target by the way.)  Turns out the army can’t hit targets because they are busy catching snakes.  No, really!  One of the primary roles of the army is wild animal control and extraction.  So if you have a lion in your backyard you call the army and they come catch it.  I haven’t witnessed the lion extraction, but I must say, they did a standout job getting rid of the cobra.


  1. Wow!! haha! Never a dull moment, huh?

    1. Dull moments are few and far between here, that is for sure!