"It's all new...!"

My cousin Yolande and her husband Keith visited us for a month in 1981. Here is Yo's diary of the visit, with some of her photographs...

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The old Gaborone Airport

Arriving at (the old) Gaborone Airport
6 September 1981 Sunday

Only got ½ hour snatches of sleep. Watched the film about Elvis Presley. Touched down at Nairobi, then 3 hours later landed at Jo'burg. Caught a plane to Gaborone where Dave & Pru were waiting. First impressions of Africa - it's all new - different trees, buildings & people & accents.

7 September 1981 Monday

Went around with mouth agape - it's all so totally new. Met Martha, who does the washing up, daily clothes washing & housework & babysitting. Had a look round the Mall at the shops - everything's here. Keith got a temporary Radio Ham licence A22GW. Looked around Radio Botswana.

Radio Botswana driveway

The view inside Radio Botswana towards the main gate in the early 80s
Gaborone dam

Yellow weaver birds enjoy a lazy view over Gaborone Dam
8 September 1981 Tuesday

Keith maintained that the altitude made him dozy. Sat out in the garden, reading. After lunch, Pru took us in the LandRover down to see the lake and the dam. Saw lots of different birds. Had a nice evening talking. Planned the Safari Camp trip.

9 September 1981 Wednesday

We had the use of the Chevrolet all morning to get us around Gaborone. Visited the very interesting museum & art gallery and had drinks in the President Hotel. Read a lot. Played with the children. Dave finished tuning the piano.

The National Museum

A giant zebra welcomed visitors to Botswana's National Museum
10 September 1981 Thursday

Got up late and sat out in the garden. Got a photo of two Blue Waxwings but the Red-Eyed Bulbuls hid behind leaves to annoy me! After lunch walked round to the club to see if the Pool is opening soon. Played the piano.

11 September 1981 Friday

Had a shower. Walked round to the Hyperstore and bought a few things. Managed to keep awake in the afternoon but Keith succumbed to a snooze. It's because Gaborone is 3000 feet high. Went to a very good party (Pauline & Reg Glew). Really enjoyed the chat.

12 September 1981 Saturday

Spent the morning giving thought and practice to piano music to be provided at a Club/Pub night. The children went to a party. Pru, Keith & I went on a birdwatching session at some nearby water (Sewage ponds!) Saw lots of different birds. Went to the cinema.

Barbeque with Ted and Kinnear

Seven dinners/barbeques in three weeks? Surely not! Ted Makgekgenene and head of transmitters Kinnear MacDonald responding to the hunter-gatherer instinct. Note the beers defrosting on the barbeque, an occupational hazard associated with trying to cool them in a hurry...
13 September 1981 Sunday

(Boring details of illness) Helped Pru get a barbeque together to which 7 adults and 4 children came. Later had a practice Club Night - my first time playing with a real drummer! It was great!

14 September 1981 Monday

Felt better. Keith stayed 'home' resting, but I went with Pru into town and the museum. After lunch we went 25k north of Gaborone to Mochudi. Bought sandals, a belt and looked around the museum. Saw more birds.

Rural life in Mochudi village

Rural life in Mochudi village, September 1981
Weavers at Oodi

Framed behind her loom, a skilled weaver creates a tapestry depicting her home village, Oodi
15 September 1981 Tuesday

Tried sitting out in the sun but after 15 minutes it was unbearable - even the wind is like a hairdryer and this is Spring! Left the kids with Martha and went to Oodi to see the weavers. Bought a skin rug.

16 September 1981 Wednesday

Sian's 4th Birthday. Walked up to the bottle store. Helped Pru with the 12 children that came. It was an education coping for 3 hours - really admire the playschool teachers now! Saw a Hoopoe!

Sian's 4th birthday party

Sian had plenty of help to blow out the candles on her 4th birthday
17 September 1981 Thursday

The hottest day so far. Even Dave was muttering about putting the fans on. Went into town to take the home movie back. Slept all afternoon whilst Keith and Dave went to Sebele to look at Radio Botswana's new transmitters. Had a nice evening and ended up playing Scrabble.

Gaborone Mall

The spacious feel of Gaborone's shopping Mall in the early 1980s
18 September 1981 Friday

Got up very late, but walked to the Hyperstore and bought some plimsolls for walking. Went with Pru to get some shopping as she had a dinner party. As usual abroad, the people are very interesting and we had a great evening.

19 September 1981 Saturday

(Details of illness) Saw the hoopoe and a flock of red-faced mousebirds. Revived ourselves and went to the Lions Fashion Show at the American Ambassador's house. Won 4th prize in the raffle - 3 cases of beer! About £20 worth which will see us through the next 2 weeks nicely!

20 September 1981 Sunday

(Details of illness) Everyone went to Ted's barbeque.

21 September 1981 Monday

Felt a lot better than yesterday. Read magazines, the South African Sunday Times and books.

22 September 1981 Tuesday

(Relapse of illness) Read Wilbur Smith's "The Falcon Flies". Wrote a letter to my grandparents.

23 September 1981 Wednesday

Played the piano till lunchtime. Went in the LandRover to Gabane which we enjoyed, and stopped by the reed bed. Saw new birds including a Sacred Ibis again. Practised in Moth Hall, piano & drums.

Road to Gabane

On the road to Gabane, south of Gaborone
24 September 1981 Thursday

Went birdwatching with Suzy and Karron Bower. Went home to Karron's house to see her superb bird paintings. We all went to dinner with Sheridan and Norman Burns.

Club night at MOTH Hall

Yo giving Dave a break as resident pianist and making music with local schoolteacher Dave Prince at a Capital Players club night
25 September 1981 Friday

Went up to the Hyperstore, then into town for the last shopping spree, buying lots of little presents. Practised my piano playing. The Pub Night was terrific - had 3 offers of jobs and someone asked if I was professional! Really enjoyed playing with a drummer (Dave Prince) who is a jazz/blues fan too.

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