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My updated itinerary for Namibia and Botswana, to the end of the tour.
The PROPOSAL TO THE PRESIDENT for your perusal.
To watch Buddy and Me in real time click here, select South Africa under “Global Fleet Logins:” in the left hand panel, enter cellphone number 0822549129 and password Buddy.
To make a donation to or information on any of the organisations involved in assisting victims of child rape and abuse, please click on one of the following links:
This morning (Wednesday the 2nd June) was a bit of an early rise and rush to have breakfast, stop off at the Beares store to say farewell to the Beares staff and head out of Selebi Phikwe at a rush at 7:45am so that ‘Buddy and Me’ could drive the 188 kilometres to Serowe in order to make our 10am appointment to visit the Beares staff there. Fortunately the sky was clear but in-spite of the blue skies it was very chilly and even with my gloves on my hands were frozen, not to mention the rest of my body.
At Palapye we made a right turn and covered the last 48 kilometres in record time and actually arrived at the Serowe store dead on time. Buddy thoroughly enjoyed the cool weather because he hates being driven cold and also hates being driven hot, so the reasonably quick drive in the cool weather suited him perfectly and on arriving and after a few minutes time to rest, my check revealed that he had not lost a drop of oil, really impressive Buddy, I hope the rest of the journey is going to produce the same results, although I would preferably drive slower in warm weather.
I had a great time chatting to the staff of Beares in Serowe and they produced some really great opinions and comments on both the child rape situation in Botswana as well as opinions on the project. From all the comments that have been made by various individuals, it is apparent that child rape in Botswana is definitely occurring at an increasing rate, and not like a few officials like to believe that teenage and adult rape is occurring on a much larger basis. Also there is no professionally trained support structure anywhere in the country for child rape victims.
I think the comments made by the ladies of Beares Serowe say it all, and for the second time in this project after visiting 190 Beares and Lubners stores on this project since the 3rd of August 2009, the Beares ladies of Serowe specifically asked if I would photograph their comments page they made in my Beares staff/management comments book and show it on my blog, so ladies your wish is granted. Not only that, I think it is worth including it in my blog, so this is what the ladies of Beares Serowe had to say:
We personally feel that it is very traumatising to have a child, 12 years and below raped! We think that every country should definitely have a zero tolerance for such barbaric and uncouth bizarre behaviour. We strongly feel that Beares/Lubners should set up structures to fully take care of such victims and the government should make it a point that such unbecoming practices are completely scorned and such culprits be taken to book. We strongly believe that such people should be treated like out-casts and do not deserve to live within the community.
Compiled on behalf of the staff of Beares Serowe by: Pina Mothowabarwa
From Serowe ‘Buddy and Me’ headed back to Palapye where I had a really magic time with the Beares staff there and got to attend a meeting with the Board Members of the ‘House of Hope’, which is an NGO that provides support to a total of some 800 children in various projects mainly consisting of orphans due to the huge HIV/Aids epidemic as well as other challenged kids.
All my discussions so far have revealed the fact that here in Botswana there are many NGO and government organisations providing tremendous support to orphaned children due to the fact that this is a major problem facing the country in the face of the massive HIV/Aids epidemic here. But in spite of the fact that it is well known and acknowledged that the rape and sexual abuse of children is occurring at a really high rate, and particularly, as it is occurring in South Africa, by immediate family members as in fathers and uncles etc, I have not found one single NGO or government organisation that provides the necessary support to child rape victims. The general attitude is, ‘Well that will have to wait until we sort out the HIV/Aids problem first before we tackle that problem” and a blind eye is being turned. The problem of course is that the HIV/Aids problem will be around for many, many years to come, and in the mean time because the barbarians raping the children are getting away with it, due to the mothers not reporting it, due to the fact that they have no support structure, they will continue to do so.
Based on the information I have been given, particularly over the last few days here in Botswana, although tremendous legislation has been promulgated, and the punishments are being dealt out correctly, and the prisons are doing their bit, the problem will continue to escalate at the same rate as it is occurring in South Africa if the Botswana government does not implement the same Care Centres and support structures for the mothers to encourage them to report the rape of their children, as I have identified in my proposal to the president on what needs to be done to eradicate the rape of children from our societies immediately. (Click on the link for the ‘Proposal to the president’ on this website)
From Palapye ‘Buddy and Me’ once again took to the road and drove through to Mahalapye where we arrived at 4:20pm and where once again that amazing man Yame Kgarie, the Beares Operations Executive, (Regional Director) for Botswana had arranged for some comfortable accommodation for ‘Buddy and Me’ in the form of the ‘Oasis lodge’, I can’t wait to get to Gaborone tomorrow evening and finally actually meet up with the man again.
This morning (Thursday 3rd June) both ‘Buddy and Me’ woke refreshed from a good nights sleep and visited the staff of the Beares Mahalapye store. On our way to the store I thought I should rather first stop and fill up Buddy’s tank, again! A never ending function, and so pulled into the Engine filling station where as usual Buddy caused quite a stir with his entrance. Usually when ‘Buddy and Me’ pull in to fill up with petrol we create quite a stir and have everyone come around making comments about this crazy little car and on discovering how far Buddy has travelled are quite amazed.
But this morning when ‘Buddy and Me’ pulled into the Mahalapye Engine garage, we almost caused a riot with all the petrol attendants calling for me to drive to their pump. After I had made the final decision on a pump and pulled up alongside the pump, everyone wanted to serve me and the pump jockey appointed to that specific pump had to fight off about 6 other pump jockeys to be able to help me.
The Beares staff of Mahalapye turned out to be yet another really great bunch and I once again had a wonderful time chatting to them and getting their opinions on child rape and Beares involvement in the project.
I was hoping to be given the opportunity to meet the local prison staff as I did on my last visit to Mahalapye on the ‘African odyssey’, project back in 2006, but unfortunately due to the fact that I had a 200 kilometre drive to Gaborone where I had to meet up with Yame and find out where I would be staying for the evening, I was restricted by time and so could not make the 3pm appointment, much to my dismay. But what a wonderful bunch of people the Beares staff of Mahalapye are and led by the amazing lady, Shinny Moyo.
After bidding everyone farewell, until next we meet, ‘Buddy and Me’ once again took to the road and drove the 200 kilometres to Gaborone. About 50 kilometres outside of Mahalapye, we once again crossed the Tropic of Capricorn, and to ‘Buddy and Me’ we were starting to feel like we were back on the ‘African Odyssey’ project again when our zig zagging through Africa had caused us to cross the Equator about 9 times, I think we have crossed the Tropic of Capricorn, on this project alone, four times.
Once again I was reminded of that great South Africa adventurer, Kingsley Holgate, who I one day hope to meet, who circumnavigated the earth following the Tropic of Capricorn, and whose adventures together with his family can be read in his book “Capricorn, the invisible line’.
On the small plaque identifying the exact line of Capricorn is the following notice:
“This point is on the Tropic of Capricorn, which is the most southerly latitude reached by the sun. Here the sun will be at the zenith each year on Midsummer Day at midday local apparent time which is on the 22nd December at approximately 12 minutes past twelve o’clock noon. At this time the sun will shine directly down the tube above this notice”.
The 200 kilometre drive to Gaborone took ‘Buddy and Me’ four and a half hours to complete and so we arrived at Yame’s office at a little after 2:30 in the afternoon, and after being pointed in the direction of the lodge ‘Buddy and Me’ are staying in, ‘The Riverside lodge’, we did not hesitate in finding it and getting settled in.
Tomorrow, Friday, I hope to meet up with some intriguing people in the form of local authorities and NGO’s who can further enlighten me on what is occurring in Botswana with regard to the rape and sexual abuse of children in Botswana and what the authorities are doing to eradicate this scourge from their society.
So until next I get a chance to write up my blog, and get some kind person to help me to email it to Gail in Jo’burg so that she can get the blog’s up to date, which believe me is a daunting job, ‘Buddy and Me’ will wish you well, stay safe and of course keep all children safe, it’s their right as the future of our countries.
So, until then?
Caring regards from
‘Buddy and Me’ (Steve Heath)
Comments and opinions are welcome at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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