Entering northern Botswana by crossing the Zambesi River is a magical experience. Bags are transferred to the aluminium dinghy and the motorboat roars into action. Half way across the river — the point where Botswana, Zambia, Namibia and Zimbabwe meet — mobile phones join in a cacophony of international competition.
When we reached the other side we headed for Kasane, the tourist capital of Chobe National Park. The town pathways and roadsides are shared with warthogs, and at twilight, elephants come into town looking for food — especially the fruit of the marula tree. The park is world famous with its huge elephant population often struggling to find food, sometimes wandering too far from water and dying in their attempt to return. Lions begin stalking at twilight making impala very nervous.
Kasane Primary School has been a training hub for the African Children’s Stories program for teachers from many surrounding schools. Pandamatenga Primary School is an hour from Kasane, located in the middle of dense lion country. The drive there is like a personal safari with elephants crossing the road and gambolling monkeys.
The program promotes involvement between parents and dikgosi (chiefs), with many stories focusing on village life, the love for country, the environment and the amazing animals with their associated myths and legends. Over 30 schools are involved in the program, and the Foundation has published four collections from Botswana.
Education is highly valued and Kemofitlhetse Letshwenyo celebrated this gratitude when he wrote,
“Education is like a strong tree planted in good soil”.