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Posted by: Rich Rudowske 12/25/2013 5:58 PM

I can remember as a child growing up in Benton Harbor Michigan, how each winter, I would long for the return of warmer weather.  I didn't fully realize it then, but winter in Southwest Michigan was brutal.  Each year, one fine early November day, the sun would slink behind the clouds and not be visible again on a regular basis until May.  It was cold and dark with a good amount of snow cover that usually stayed from late November until mid March.  When I worked for Osco Drug, each year the employees had a pool to guess when the giant mountain of snow from plowing in the parking lot finally disappear completely.  We were forbidden to go out and touch it in any way lest we interrupt nature's course in establishing the date.  That thing held on til late April easily.  All the while, I dreamed of a day when I might live somewhere where the winter was milder.  Maybe someday I could move south.

Fast forward to the present.  It is now the heart of another winter in Botswana.  Most folks back in the States are surprised to hear that there is a such thing as winter anywhere in Africa.  And then, many think I am just speaking relatively, like my colleagues in Ghana to whom 80 degrees feels cold.  But, no, this is honest to goodness winter.  But more like the winter I would have dreamed of as a child.  You see, the sun shines all winter here.  And if you can find a way to be in it, you'll be warmed by it's rays to the tune of about 75 degrees.  Ah, but lest you think we have it too easy, we do have a feature here that always sort of blows my mind just because of geography.  We have Antartic wind.  That's right, wind blows from ANTARCTICA.  I dunno, I think that's pretty cool.  Actually, it's downright cold which means that unless you are in direct sunlight, your house is probably about 55 degrees.  That's cool enough to warrant stocking caps and hoodies around the house most of the day.  And night!  Well, it gets cold quickly.  It's easily down to the 30's and at times down to the teens by morning.  The month of June in the Tswana language is called 'Seetebosigo' which means 'don't visit at night'.  That always makes me laugh.  Since most visiting occurs outside in Botswana, it definitely is good advice.  But, as I sit here on this very cold morning, finishing a nice hot cup of Starbucks Italian Roast (thanks to a recent care package) wearing my ND hoodie and Lions stocking hat and wrapped in a thick blanket writing this blog on my couch, I am thankful that this winter is more bearable than the winters of my youth.  I can't help thinking a little, however, that maybe I moved a little too far south.  :)

Blessings!  Rich for Maya and the Crew

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