I like Botswana. The capital Gaborone with only 250,000 people (out of around 2 million in the whole country) is in the southeast of the country and only an hour's flight from Johannesburg, South Africa. Diamonds were discovered after the colonial era ended and the result is that much of the wealth that diamond exports generate has actually benefitted the country. As a result of this export product they are considered a middle income country. Most of the country (about the size of Texas) is the Kalahari Desert. We tend to recognize third world (emerging) nations and first world high income ones. The middle income segment seems to fall off the map for many people in the world. Many folks in South Africa seem to assume that this small stable democratic nation is just a northern suburb and part of their country which it is not. We sometimes hear about Zimbabwe their Eastern neighbor or Angola to the north when there is trouble but Botswana and Namibia seem to go unnoticed. It feels like a relatively quiet oasis in a sometimes turbulent region.
One night David (Austrialian) and I went out to Pakalone a suburb of Gaborone to have dinner with Mel and Evelyne (American and Swiss) at their home. These are people who have traveled as much or more than I have and Evelyne told us about bringing their children up in a variety of cultures starting with Indonesia. It was a long night of swapping stories and experiences and sharing how travel has changed our lives. While I am fully an American the travel and working with people from so many different countries and cultures has made each of us citizens of the world in a way that transcends our country of citizenship.
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