Maun: G-Mix’s Rotten Tomatoes


April 1
I changed places to sleep today and made my way to The Old Bridge Backpackers where I had spent my time yesterday.  I was pretty comfortable where I was, but I needed a hostel where they could accommodate my desires to see some of the Okavango Delta, which is right here!

On the walk, there was a really nice looking dog having a nap on the side of the road.  He awoke when I got close to him.  I picked up a big stick that I was going to throw for him to see if he would fetch it and we could be buddies.  I thought he would be excited and it would break up the walk for me and maybe he would not be so disappointed in having his nap ruined.  But, when I picked up the stick, it scared the heck out of him.  He gave me a dirty look, let out a funny noise, which seemed to be a swear word he was calling me in dog, and he trotted off in the direction I was not heading.  Apparently, the last stick bearer he met did not play games with him…

Imagine wearing this backpack... Wow! That is two 'circumcision' messages in two days. They are really pushing that here...

Imagine wearing this backpack… Wow! That is two “circumcision” messages in two days. They are really pushing that here…

So, when there is one rotten tomato, they think that all of the tomatoes are bad…
I bought a few groceries and then stopped at a local bar that looked busy.  I made friends with a guy who called himself G-Mix and drank beer with him.  We talked about how I was the only white person around and how all of the rest of the whites never associate with the locals.  He wanted to know why this is.  I told him that people are scared of life. They hide in their little white utopias of hostels and resorts, where they only associate with the working staff and the other white patrons.  The rest of the world watches the news, and when something bad happens somewhere in Africa, they assume it applies to all of Africa.  He said, “So, none of us are the same as the other…  We are not Nigeria.”  I told him, “Unfortunately, the media makes it seem like the lines are all blurred and Botswana, Rwanda, Ghana, Nigeria, Somalia and Tanzania are all the same.  I explained that the foreigners want to see the animals so they “risk” to come here, but they are nervous of where they are so they hide out in numbers and everyone they know at home thinks they are crazy for coming.  He said, “Botswana is one of the safest countries and most stable in Africa,” and told me that the president walks around alone in Botswana. G-Mix was disappointed when he realized, “So, when there is one rotten tomato, they think that all of the tomatoes are bad…”

Unfortunately, his analogy could not have been more accurate.

G-Mix works as a game warden on the nature reserves.  I asked him about poachers.  He said that the biggest fear is when foreigners are here hunting and poaching.  He said that foreigners are always armed, so when you see flashlights on the game reserves, you just shoot, because if you do not shoot, they will shoot you.

People are really horrible.  Getting on a plane to fly across an ocean to shoot a majestic elephant…  Lately, I have been pretty ashamed of my race…  I am learning too much about my own people by being in Africa.

As all of the other foreigners were hiding out in their hostels and their resorts, that very wonderful man, G-Mix went out of his way to drive me 7 kilometers back to my hostel where my pack of whites were.   I got out of the car in the dark, thanked my new friend and then had to cross a footbridge on a path that was about 100 meters long.  G-Mix waited patiently with his car headlights shining on my walkway to make sure that I got home safely.

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1 Response

  1. Ricky Garmon says:

    Rotten apple = rotten tomato in Botswana. Interesting cultural differences in expression

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