I’ve been traveling in Southern Africa for the past week and a half–my first time back to the region in over twenty-five years since serving in Botswana as a Peace Corps Volunteer. Between visiting old friends and interviewing people about the effects of climate change, I have way too many stories to report in a blog post, but here are a few one-liners:

Highlight: seeing old friends.

Most Poignant: visiting my old school and house in Bobonong and seeing how they’ve changed.

Most Ridiculous: repeatedly turning on the windshield wipers when I want to signal a turn because everything on my rental car is on the opposite side.

Biggest Surprise: how impressed I was by the diamond mining town, Orapa.

Realization: Botswana’s early decision to see its mineral wealth as belonging to all the people has made a tremendous difference in people’s lives and changes how the mines are run.

Most striking: how every single person I’ve spoken to in Botswana and South Africa says the same things about how the weather has changed and farmers are suffering.

Fear: the effects of climate change will be more than either people or governments can handle.

Question: how to move to a model of poverty-reduction that doesn’t rely on extractive industries and growth.

Inspiration: reconnecting to South Africans and their history makes me want to be more courageous in my activism.

Personal: experiencing African hospitality makes me want to be more generous in my own life. 

Anticipation: seeing my family and sharing all this with them.