Wednesday, August 4, 2010


Part of getting settled into my new community is a project that all volunteers must do. The report is quite detailed and covers topics such as socio-cultural context, political structure, economic outlook, demographics, environment, and the current HIV/AIDS statistics. All in all, it is a very detailed report and it has been challenging to compile the information.

One tip I got was that the museum here did historical walking tours of the city. The museum happens to be a block away from where I work. Perfect. We took the tour with the director of the museum, a woman named Stella. Stella is a second generation white African and is fluent in Setswana. Overall it was a great experience.

Francistown has a really fascinating history. Settlement in the area dated back for thousands of years. White explorers passed through the area in the 1860's and discovered gold. They quickly opened a gold mine which was the first in Africa in 1868. Control of the city was granted to the mining company, called Tati Company. Tati owned a huge swath of land in northeastern Botswana and administered it until independence in 1966 when the city was given and/or sold the land.

The museum. It is around 100 years old and first served as the city administrator's house.

The original jail.

The jail warden's house. Rumor has it that he lived alone and so whenever a European was detained at the jail, the warden would him over for dinner and drinks.

This is all that remains of the first doctor's house. It served originally as the guest house and then was the dispensary for the hospital. I walk by this on the way to work every morning.

This rail line runs from Zimbabwe through Francistown, before continuing on to the south. When it was built, settlers in what is now Zimbabwe badly needed supplies. The men that built this railroad averaged laying over a mile per day. At one time (and still may be), it held the record for the fastest built railroad.

The home of Daniel Francis. Francis was the president of the Tati Company and the city was named after him. His house has been restored to how it looked when he lived there and is the only restored building in Francistown.

Inside the Francis house with tour guide, Stella.

Central Park. I can never quite figure out when it is open to the public (there is a large fence that surrounds it), but it is really beautiful.

Interesting statue in Central Park. I cant figure if they are trying to keep thieves from taking the statue or if it has a more subtle meaning.

Boabab Tree. These are my favorite trees in Botswana. They are commonly referred to as "upside down trees" because of the rather large size of the trunk and its short stubby limbs. This one is still relatively young, but here is what it may look like someday: Click here

And speaking of that Boabab Tree, it was planted in Central Park to mark the day Botswana became an independent nation - 1966.

The first Anglican Church in Francistown.