The Botswana Baylor Fun Run was a huge success! This past Saturday 19 November, Notwane Grounds buzzed with a great turnout of energetic and determined runners and dedicated volunteers. Runners, joggers, strollers and dog-walkers pounded the pavement for 13K in support of Botswana Baylor’s plans to build an Adolescent Centre. Gold, silver and bronze medals were given to the fastest runners, and prizes were announced for lucky raffle winners! Generous sponsors made the day go smoothly and safely with donations of water, fruit and sports drinks.
THANK YOU to the over 200 people who registered! We are now one step closer to meeting our goal and building the Botswana Baylor Adolescent Centre!
Keep an eye out for our Fun Run next year!!
One might be surprised at how much effort was put into preparing for such a short event. From clearing the proposed site’s overgrown plot to designing the mural to-be, volunteers from Botswana and around the world worked relentlessly to make the event a success. While we had a great deal of volunteers, there are some extraordinary workers that deserve special recognition.
We here at Baylor COE feel especially privileged to have worked with the talented, enthusiastic and incredibly impressive students from Catlin Gabel. Coming all the way from Portland, Oregon USA, the students arrived ready to work in any and all capacity needed. Their alacrity towards service for the proposed Adolescent Centre site was overwhelming.
Only their second day in country, the visiting volunteers had no qualms about getting their hands dirty. They cheerfully worked together raking the dirt and cleaning the site’s current structure. Not only did the Catlin Gabel students work to physically prepare the proposed Adolescent Centre, they even helped to design some teaching methods that will be used in the tutoring programme to be housed at the Centre once it is funded and built. On top of all this, the Catlin Gabel teens were able to spend time with some of Baylor’s own Teen Club members at the proposed site for the Adolescent Centre. The students partook in June’s Teen Club and shared different American games with their Batswana counterparts. All these contributions were phenomenal and made a significant impact in the lives of the teens.
Still, with all the Catlin Gabel students did, perhaps the most impressive was their work on the mural that was completed by US First Lady Michelle Obama. While she did not have the opportunity to meet with the students, Mrs. Obama was undoubtedly awed by their talent. They sketched. They mixed paint. They painted. They laid the foundation for the First Lady’s experience at the site of the proposed Adolescent Centre.
All of the students’ hard work on the mural was coordinated by local artist Lesedi Tshenyego of the Thapong Visual Arts Centre in Gaborone. Mr. Lesedi not only directed the students, he taught them different painting methods and encouraged them to use their natural talents. Most importantly, Lesedi envisioned and designed the mural that the Catlin students and Mrs. Obama all helped to create. His art is exceptional and his altruism remarkable as he undertook this behemoth project pro-bono. If you are interested in commissioning and purchasing artwork or taking lessons from Lesedi, please contact us BotswanaTeenClub@gmail.com.
With all the work done by Lesedi and the students of Catlin Gabel which lead to a successful visit by First Lady Michelle Obama, we at the Baylor COE are incredibly excited for the proposed site of the Adolescent Centre to evolve to an actual location where our teens feel safe and comfortable. If you are interested in helping, please visit our Donate page or email us at BotsBaylorAdolescentCentre@gmail.com.
Immediately after arriving in Botswana, on her recent official trip to Africa, USA First Lady Michelle Obama made her first stop at the proposed Botswana-Baylor Adolescent Centre where she and her family helped paint a sun on a mural that included scenes of children playing, homes and blue skies signifying a sign of hope and bright future for adolescents born with HIV in Botswana.
After painting the mural, Mrs. Obama remarked to the Executive Director and government officials ‘we are here to highlight the work that you do in this country, that’s why we are here’. She hinted that she will have to come back to paint the rest of the mural when the proposed adolescent centre is completed next year.