The Good Ladies' of Magoriapitse....


The road to Magoriapitse...

"Travelling-it leaves you speechless, 
then turns you into a storyteller." 

Ibn Battuta

Today was a day for the Henriques storybooks, we travelled 100kms to a remote village outside of Gaborone, Botswana....where my daughter, Miss Claire, has been living for the past year as a Peace Corps volunteer. One year down and she is totally immersed into the culture and rhythm of village life... and the hearts of The Good Ladies' of Magoriapitse.

The Good Ladies of Magoriapitse, Miss Claire and me 

Mr. H and I were the honoured guests for the day, where we met Claire's extended family...a large part of the village, and enjoyed traditional Botswana hospitality. We walked, we talked, we laughed, we prayed and had a delicious traditional homemade feast on mdombi (boiled bread), seswa (pulled beef), tswana chicken (traditional spices) and beans with corn. It was one of the most genuine welcoming experiences Mr. H and I have ever had the pleasure to be a part of. 

Laundry day...Magoriapitse

Miss Claire speaks the Setswana (Tswana) language with a natural 'hip' ease as she greets men with "dumela rra" and women with "dumela mma".  In my mind, to fully appreciate the rhythm of the language, you need to slow down the pace and kick into 'Botswana time' with ...ddduuuummmmeeeellllaaaa mmmmmaaaaa...and say it in the sing 'songy' kind of way that leaves you wanting more. If only I could..but I reckon the only way you could get me to slow down my speech pattern (which at times has been said to be faster than the speed of lightening) is to hit me up with a valium. I love the way Miss Claire rolls with and into the language. Does a mama proud!

Mindful Mama Elephant
South Luangwa National Park

Speaking of mama' was a matter of minutes into my first introduction of the Good Ladies' of Magoriapitse that I learned I was not Claire's only mother. I was told she is the daughter of many and sister to more and proudly so. I was delighted to see and hear it but admit to feeling a bit jealous as I tried to assert my ultimate role as 'the mother'...of all mother's to the Good Ladies' of Magoriapitse. By the end of the day, I was ready to embrace all the men and women we met as sisters, brothers, aunts and smile is all it took.

Mentoring Mother and Miss Claire
One of the Good Ladies' of Magoriapitse

Miss Claire and Little Donna,
sisters in arms.

Throughout the day, I couldn't help but think of the Alexander McCall Smith book series, No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency. The characters in the book came to life all around me.. the heroine of the novels, Mma Precious Romotswe and her fastidious assistant Mma Grace Makutsi, the gentle soul, Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni and the list goes on. I was grinning from ear to ear...pure elation. If you haven't read the series and are curious or if you have read them and like me want to read them all over again, you can discover them here and better yet, watch the HBO TV series here and enjoy Alexander McCall Smiths 'Author's Diary' while on the production of the TV series here.  In my mind, you can never get enough of Mma Precious Romotswe and her adventures.

Village life...a homemade clothes line, a gentle warm breeze and an ax.
All in a day's work for The Good Ladies' of Magoriapitse.

"I would like to be known 
as an intelligent woman, 
a courageous woman, 
a loving woman, 
a woman who teaches by being." 

Maya Angelou

PS...Yes...that fast talking, squinting lady in the back row of the picture above is me. I had the brilliant idea to place everyone ourside of the shadows and in full blare of the sun...which managed to work for everyone but me. Ha! Lesson learned. ;)

More to follow
from our safari days in Zambia...

An elephant comes calling...

OH...the stories they tell!



  1. I knew you would love Botswana - my favorite of the African countries I've visited, twice! You all look fantastic (how about a nice safari shot of you and Mr. H soon - we'd all love that!) and it's amazing that Claire has been there so long already. My visits to villages have always been life changing - and oh how we come away feeling so privileged, somewhat helpless, and will never forget the experiences we have with the beautiful people who are always so happy and pleased to welcome us.
    You will enjoy Zambia too Jeanne - hoping you see the 'big five' and more, and get to visit Victoria Falls. I long to return - it already seems so long since I was in Kenya last year!
    Great photos - thanks for sharing your trip.
    Hugs - Mary

    P.S. I've read all of AMcS 'The No.1 Ladies Detective Agency' books (set of course in Botswana), and watched the TV series - all fantastic!
    Just read that the Fall foliage in New England will be spectacular this year - hope you get back to NH to enjoy!

    1. Thank you Mary! We had a fantastic trip, enjoyed our time in Zambia, the perfect compliment to our safari previous safari experience in Botswana. We have already planned to return in's all safari talk in our household these days! I am going to catch the end of the fall foliage (I hope)...but there will be a Thanksgiving turkey and a Christmas one too, I am very excited!! xx

  2. precious! What a wonderful sight, beautiful souls...and you squint quite nicely I might add! Thanks for taking us along! ;)

  3. Hello Jeanne,
    Lovely to see you united with beautiful Claire. How interesting that the locals feel they are all Claire's mother too. That must have taken a bit of getting used to, however, it must be wonderful to know she is very loved.
    Continued joy.
    Helen xx

    1. It is Helen and thank you! She is happy and well looked after which is a comforting thought especially as we are so far apart. xx

  4. How wonderful to see the people and life of Botswana through your eyes...Claire is a gem and giving and learning so much of what it is to be a part of a broad, wide world of people and cultures...blessings all around. My work here in Montana as a tutor to children and women of DRC (Congo) is a time to learn and listen and be loved deeply...but absent the life of a true village I must imagine much..and they share their home and stories and food more and more as English is easier for way to change the story that is hanging over so much of the world's people today...looking forward to more of your stories and experiences in Botswana.

    1. Thank Kristin, what a wonderful service you provide, I imagine they are very graterful for the time you spend with them and can understand that it would be equally rewarding for you. xx

  5. Your photographs are outstanding. Thank you, it has been a real treat to see them. I'm amazed that people in Africa walk where there are wild animals.

    1. Thank you May! I can tell you from our experience in our guided walks that we were very aware of the animals that we couldn't see. We had specific instructions on how to walk and what to do if animals became curious and wanted to get closer to investigate. We stayed very still and quiet until they passed and they always did. ;)

  6. Lovely photos. It's nice to hear from you again. I am sure you had some unforgettable experiences that I hope you will share with us soon.

  7. So lovely are all of your postings.
    Always leave smiling and happy
    Love Jeanne

  8. I have read all of the No. 1 Ladies and own most of them. Like you, I am waiting to reread them. One of the things I love about the books is the rhythm of the language. I detect that same rhythm in Out of Africa and Cry the Beloved Country. It is poetry to me. How lovely for you to be able to experience it firsthand. Love the photo of you and all of those traditionally built ladies.

    1. Thank you! I couldn't agree with you's the rhythm...magical. So glad you mentioned Cry the Beloved Country, I will check that out, it sounds familiar but I am not sure... :)


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