In the summer of 2023, Logan Bonn '25 (Global Development) was a participant in the CALS Global Fellows Program in Maun, Botswana. Logan divided time between 1) grant writing and harvesting at his host organization, a sustainable agriculture farm named GoFresh!, 2) developing a project marketing strategy for a local social enterprise, Travel for Impact, and 3) coordinating activities at Bana Ba Letsatsi, a rehabilitation center dedicated to serving orphans and vulnerable children. This photo essay aims to reveal the narratives, lessons learned, the individuals met, and the landscapes encountered through Logan’s Global Fellows experience.
Prior to my departure, I drove up the lake from Ithaca to visit family and friends in my hometown of Trumansburg, New York. Before traveling, I always visit Taughannock Falls to reflect and ground myself at home. I was fortunate to share this moment with two close friends from Cornell, Claire and Nicole.
After a long travel journey, I arrived in Maun on May 21st. With a population of over 50,000, Maun is the fifth largest town in Botswana, situated in the far northwestern corner of the country. The town is a tourist hub, acting as the gateway to the world-famous Okavango Delta.
Over my first week, I met new faces, tasted new food, and adjusted to a new environment. Traveling from summer to winter; days were hot, reaching temperatures upwards of 90F, while nights were cold, often dipping into the low 50s.
A few days after my arrival, I joined the team at Travel for Impact for an introductory adventure. Over the course of three days, we visited the numerous non-profits and ecotourism and cultural initiatives in the communities (EICs) that Travel for Impact supports.
One of my favorite memories from this trip was visiting Shorobe Baskets, a weaving cooperative located 90 minutes north of Maun. After conversing with the women about their involvement in the cooperative, we received a basket-weaving lesson. This experience was followed by a traditional Setswana meal, consisting of pap (maize porridge) and a variety of pounded meats.
Life and wildlife.
My residence and host organization, GoFresh!, was 15 minutes south of Maun Center. The farm sits on the Thamalakane River, one of the only distributaries of the Okavango Delta. I stayed in a small cottage on the farm, with a window that overlooked the Thamalakane, a view that provided stunning sunsets almost every evening. Various wildlife, including birds, horses, donkeys, cattle, and goats, would visit as the sun went down. Life on the farm took a much slower pace than what I’d become accustomed to during the spring semester. I enjoyed the change, grateful to finally relax.
Bana Ba Letsatsi.
Through the internship at Travel for Impact, I was connected to Bana Ba Letsatsi (BBL), a center for orphans and vulnerable children. Translating to Sunshine Children, BBL provides psychosocial support and educational opportunities to children aged 5-17. After meeting with the director, the teachers, and the students, I returned weekly to eat lunch with the kids, teach a game, and learn a game. From playing soccer in the sandy driveway to teaching two-hand-touch football, some of my happiest moments from my time in Maun are from the afternoons at BBL.
The People’s Path.
At Travel for Impact, I was primarily tasked with assisting in the implementation of the People’s Path. This initiative, co-funded by the European Union (EU), aimed to create a viable, market-oriented cultural, heritage, and ecotourism circuit in northwestern Botswana. This was an invaluable experience to learn how NGOs function, better understand cross-cultural communication, and engage with local community members. Furthermore, I was given a unique insight into the Southern African tourism industry - an aspect of my internship that became an overarching theme throughout my time in Africa.
One of the EICs supported by Travel for Impact through the People’s Path was the Glass Project. Melting recycled glass bottles, an all-women team produced jewelry for sale in-town and online. During my time in Maun, the ambassador of both the EU and France visited the glass project to witness its progress.
My host organization was GoFresh!, a sustainable agriculture farm specializing in vegetable and herb produce. Over the course of our internships, Albert, another Global Fellow, and myself, became very close with the Growers and farm managers. Although I spent the first half of my internship conducting funding research, it wasn’t until I began harvesting with Albert and the Growers that I felt most immersed in the family of GoFresh!. Cold mornings were made warmer through the laughter from impromptu language lessons, karaoke sessions, and dance competitions.
After many weekends spent on the farm, Albert and I embarked on our first trip beyond Maun, a mobile safari. Riding in the back of a rigged-out Land Cruiser, we traveled two hours north to the Moremi Game Reserve. During several game drives, we witnessed an array of wildlife. We locked eyes with lions, stared up at giraffes, and saw hippos hunt. At night we camped within the Reserve, under the stars, sharing stories with our guides and fellow tourists by the campfire.
Our second weekend trip took us to the world’s largest waterfall, Victoria Falls. After a short flight to the northernmost city in Botswana, Kasane, we took a van across the border into Zimbabwe. On our first evening, we befriended two locals who gave an impromptu walking tour of the town. The next day, we hiked through Victoria Falls National Park, before crossing the Victoria Falls Bridge and walking into Zambia, where we hiked through Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park. We witnessed (and felt) the breathtakingly powerful waterfall, tasted Zambian street food, explored the deep gorge, and met monkeys on a cliff edge. A long weekend of adventuring added many more stories to tell and two more stamps to our passports.
Upon returning from Victoria Falls, I had one week left in Maun. This period was utilized in completing projects and bidding my farewells. At BBL, we played our final games of soccer, football, lion vs. hunter, and bocce ball. At Travel for Impact, I issued People’s Path market research surveys regionally and virtually to aid in creating a marketing strategy report. Furthermore, at GoFresh!, I conducted interviews with the growers as part of an employee empowerment program report. Saying my goodbyes, this group photos was taken at GoFresh!.
Engaged Learning in Global Development
The undergraduate curriculum in Global Development encourages students to think critically about development challenges and provides them with the tools to foster positive social change. At the heart of the major is an eight-week internship that challenges students to apply classroom learning in and with communities all over the globe.
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