Though dinner with President Festus Mogae was one of the highlights of the 2008 Friends Trip to Botswana, several travelers cited the small meetings with participants in the Botswana-Harvard Partnership’s (BHP) clinical trials as the most valuable experience. It is one thing to read about HIV-positive women receiving antiretroviral drugs during pregnancy to prevent their children from being born with HIV. It is an entirely different experience to sit next to a young mother in an examining room and have her tell you with a shy smile, that yes, her baby was born without the virus, is doing fine, and is just now learning to walk.
In addition to meeting with participants in clinical trials, Friends also toured the lab at the BHP, heard presentations on studies and training programs, and met with doctors, graduate students, and government officials. One morning was spent touring the village hospital in Mochudi and meeting with residents under the Kgotla, the traditional thatched-roofed meeting space.
The trip was not all science and medicine. Friends also enjoyed a bus tour of Gaborone and a sunset game drive at Mokolodi Nature Reserve, followed by African dancing and a bush braai, the local version of an outside barbecue.
The 2008 Friends trip included Robert Preyer of Lexington, MA, and his three daughters, Jill Preyer of Raleigh, NC, Liz Adamson of Brevard, NC, and Sally LaVenture of Boulder, CO. Also on the trip were William Haseltine of Washington, DC, Sofi Bergkvist of Hyderbad, India, and Jorge Dominguez, Vice-Provost of International Affairs at Harvard. If you’re interested in joining the 2010 trip, please contact Martha Henry at firstname.lastname@example.org.