Friday, May 2, 2014


No, not the concessions you have at a baseball game.  Though a hot dog sounds really good right about now.  Concessions as in, “What is your list of demands that will convince you to accept another Fulbright and remain in Africa for another year?”

In case you missed yesterday’s post, I received another Fulbright award which is a huge honor.  However, if you have been following my blog for any amount of time you know that living in Africa is a bit more challenging than home, or any western country for that matter.  But Fulbright, and the U.S. Embassy here, really want me to stay, so much so that I was told, “Tell us what we can do to make this deal happen.”

Today I gave that proposal a little bit of thought.  I’ve spoken to a few friends and gotten lots of email messages from people trying to convince me why I should return to the U.S., why I should stay another year, or what concessions I should ask for.  Here is the ultimate list, compiled in conjunction with one of the (many) co-Presidents of my Fan Club:

Dear Ambassador:
Thank you for your support for my Fulbright award.  As requested, I have compiled a list of concessions I would require to remain in Botswana for the next 14 months.  Please find the list below: 
  1. Embassy-sanctioned housing.  I am aware from my friends who work in your office that all embassy homes have their own power generators, water tanks and fuel which are maintained by U.S. government resources.  In an effort to provide a more comfortable standard of living and professional existence, the avoidance of power cuts, water rationing and Internet inconsistency would be ideal. 
  2. Diplomatic mail privileges. During that past year I have had a particular challenge attempting to receive any mail from loved ones.  There was the time my package was impounded because I needed to obtain a beef permit from the Ministry of Agriculture for a box which contained a package of beef jerky.  Another time it took nearly two months for a postcard to arrive from Namibia.  I could have walked to Namibia and back in a shorter amount of time.  I still haven’t received my Christmas cards and I know my Dad sent me one that sings- he always does. 
  3. PX shopping pass.  I would like to shop at the PX with all the other embassy workers.  There is no such thing as toilet paper shortages or lack of fresh fruit at the PX.  And you don’t have to buy dead people’s clothes either. You guys get your stuff shipped in from the U.S. every week!  I also know there is a Subway franchise.  I got that information from a very reliable source.  Given the lack of restaurants or real fast food in Botswana, this would be a big plus for staying here another year. 
  4. A seat at the table.  I think the U.S. needs a Secretary of Tourism.  I’m your girl! I went to the UNWTO Conference.  No one represented the U.S.  I already made lots of connections and have buddies in all the tourism ministries all over Africa.  I could work on your visa facilitation programs, development initiatives and spearhead homeland security and safety training in the tourism sector. 
  5. Naming rights.  I realize Phelantown may be too large a request.  But how about a lake or a river?  Queen Victoria is long gone; she won’t know if we rename her lake.  Actually, on second thought, you really don’t need to make me happy.  My mom’s the important one.  Let’s say we just name a shopping mall after her.  Now, that’s definitely doable
Looking forward to your response,


  1. I hope you get all you have asked for in your reply. For one I need a viable address to ship you a box of condoms as the ones waiting in your office may not suffice should you stay another 14 months. I think the opportunity would be very rewarding & where would I get my Kelly/Botswana fix?

  2. HAHAHA. Thanks Michael. The "Kelly/Botswana fix" may be one of the nicest compliments I've gotten.

    Just in case you are reading this and wondering what Michael is referring to with the box of condoms comment, read this blog post:

  3. These all seem very reasonable to me. Although, if you had more westernized living accommodations with a generator, I'd be sad to see the head lamp lose its place as a piece of daily attire (from dead people or otherwise)!! Btw, Michael is not kidding about the Kelly/Botswana fix! You and your adventures have become part of our conversations - I'm afraid we might go into withdrawal when they end! Here's an the beginning of this week a huge storm and massive flooding hit the Pensacola, FL area. Of course, while my family blames my black cloud for disasters, I've only rented a house there but haven't moved yet...18 days! We've been told (from no credible source) that the flooding is good to eradicate poisonous snakes. Hmmmm....didn't realize there was a run on poisonous snakes in the area, but here's where you come in. As were hearing all this stuff, we have an entire conversation on the cobra episode and imagine if there really are snakes like Kelly has and they get in the house. Who would we call bc we don't have the army from Botswana? I doubt we'll ever have monkeys enter our house but it seems there are quite a few bears in the area. Maybe we need a stun gun? Well, we know we can't outrun a bear or try to climb one of our palm trees. What do you think Kelly would do? Other than buying a generator when we arrive (hurricane preparedness) what else do you think Kelly would recommend for survival in a natural disaster area (other than the headlamp)? Nope, not making this up! We have definitely decided if we only got to pick one person to take with us on a survival expedition, it would be you! So, whenever you return to the US, you're more than welcome to come take part in R&R at our place :)

    1. HAHAHAHA! Lisa, that is too funny. I am so excited for your move to FL. My brother lived in Pensacola when he was in the Navy and I remember visiting him. It's so nice there; I'm sure you will love it. Are you planning to go to CHRIE this year? I will be there even if I do remain in Botswana because I've already committed to doing a presentation. I would love to come visit at some point and hear all about your new job and catch up with Michael and Kaleigh. Based on your Facebook stories, Kaleigh sounds like she is growing up to be quite a character! Good luck with the packing and the move!