3 Day Camp With 4-7 Year Olds.

   Monday morning we gased up the vehicles, loaded up the kids and drove 2 hours to a game farm south of Lobatse.  The farm is more of a ranch than anything.  It has all kinds of animals from the deer family as well as Wort Hogs, Wildabeast, Zebra's and even two Giraffes.  The farm also raised lots of beef cattle and has its own butcher shop on site which is an extension of a larger operation in Gaborone.  The farm is massive.  You can drive the trails for hours looking for animals and never leave the farm.
    Much of the reason I was asked to go was to do the "man" things such as drive one of the vehicles, set up the tents, take the kids in the canoe, BBQ over the fire, take down the tents and drive the kids around the farm looking for animals.  All things that were in my field of knowledge.  It was nice because I was still part of the team but never had to plan anything to do with the kids.  
   The farm owners are building this cool retreat chalet thing back by one of the watering wholes.  The kids love it there and the people are good to us.  They let us stay for free and gave us meet both nights to cook for the kids.  Also when they found out I had never had Biltung (Botswana Beef Jerkey), they gave me two big chunks to share with the other leaders and a small package of chilly bits (hot Biltung).
   The workmen were there pouring more concrete and finishing a thatched roof.  Concrete I have done but thatched roofs, no.  So I was talking with the workers and learning some of its properties and ins and outs.  One of those suckers can last over 60 years if installed right and not in an area that does not allow it to dry well after a rain.  Then men had to cover the entire roof with chicken mesh wire so that the monkeys would not be able to pull out the grass.
    Every plant here has thorns, Serisouly!  Katie and I were setting up for a game and had to do some bush whacking.  We were both in sandals.  Her legs were bleeding when we were done.  I brought one of those red cactus fruit back to camp and asked the workmen if I could eat it (I thought I saw on TV that you could) but they were nice enough to tell me that I would barf if I ate it.  I appreciated that insight.
    The guy doing all the conrete and brick work is from Zimbabwee (his helper is to).  He has been working on this project for 3 years and has been in Botswana for 6 years now.  Due to finances he returns home to his wife and children only twice a year.  His children are still in school.  One is 3, the next 9 and the oldest is 10.  When it is summer break for there school the children come and stay for a month.  His name is Adam and he was the nicest guy ever.  Very respectful and always smiling when he talked to you.  I know how hard it is for a family when the father is gone a week or two at a time.  I am not sure I could imagine only seeing my dad only two or three times a year.  Or how about his wife only seeing her husband a 2-3 times a year.  The situation in Zimbabwe is so hard for these people.  It makes my dad being gone so much when I was young... not so bad.
   As for the animals, we did not get to see that many.  Since it is a game farm (people can hunt there), the animals are very secretive and run when people or vehicles come around.  My favourite part was taking the kids in the canoe.  All there was to paddle with was these two little plastic paddles, one of which I broke.  The canoe had no seats and the other guy that took the kids out could not swim.  So picture this.  A 16 year old Botswanan boy, who cant swim, paddling a canoe with a 5 year old, who cant swim, and neither of them have a life jacket. 
    The same goes for traveling.  On a 3 person seat, 4 kids sit and not one wears a seat belt but its cool here.  A truck can have 20 people in the back and be roaring down the highway.  I know rules and regulations save peoples lives but sometimes the North America is a little much for me.  These kids cry less, whine less, fall less and need less entertaining because they are expected to be little people.  They climb all over stuff and dont fall and no one worries.  I love that mentality... as long as its within country/redneck reason.