Group Study Exchange April 2010

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From the 15th to the 17th of April 2010, our Club was blessed to be able to host the Group Study Exchange Team from Connecticut, USA, District 7980. The team was made up of: John Bradshaw (Team Leader), Frank Silva, Joedi Brown, Nicole Thomas and Jamie Randall. To view their profiles please see their web site on:

Day 1 - Thursday 15 April 2010

On Thursday morning Rotarians; VP Gary Lord, Barbara Butchart, Sandra Stonehill and ADG Bill McLellan's son, Arthur McLellan, drove to the Ramotswa Border Post to collect the team and their luggage. On the South Africa side we met up with Ronnie and Chris from the Rotary Club of Rustenburg and after the Customs Officials had searched cases were able to take the team through to Botswana. We drove back to Gaborone stopping at VP Gary Lord's home for a lunch break and time-out. Then off to Botswanacraft for a quick shop-stop before arriving at the Bull & Bush for the Rotary Club of Gaborone's Meet & Greet. RCG turned out in force and spent a pleasant hour greeting and talking with the team. The hosts then collected up the team members and took them home for supper.

Day 2 - Friday 16 April 2010

Hosts and team were up bright and early for a hectic day spent visiting RCG projects. First stop the Gaborone Sun to meet with transport. PP Mike Lakin and Rtn Sandra Stonehill took the team to Mochudi to visit the Mochudi Resource Centre for the Blind and then Stepping Stones.

At Mochudi Resource Centre for the Blind (which offers accommodation, early stimulation, spiritual growth and rehabilitation services to children who are visually impaired) we were greeted by the Executive Director Sophie Moalosi and taken to meet the Board who were delighted to meet the team. Sophie gave an overview of MRCB and then we went on a quick tour before having refreshments. Next stop Stepping Stones.

Stepping Stones International (a non-governmental, non-profit organization dedicated to creating an enabling environment for orphans and vulnerable children to grow and build their futures). Here we met with two students and then with the Project Advisor/Director Lila Pavey who gave the team a brief overview of Stepping Stones followed by a tour of the centre. We also met up with Operations Manager Tinny Seitei who keeps the centre on its toes, and volunteer Megan. The team were very impressed with SS and what they are achieving.

Back to Gaborone for the team to have lunch with RCG and to give us their presentation. A full-house in the tiny back room of the Gaborone Sun Conference Centre. All went very well and President Mark Lane-Jones exchanged Rotary banners with the members of the GSE team. After lunch President Mark Lane-Jones, VP Gary Lord together with Rtns Keinee Kwerepe, Derek Jones & Sandra Stonehill and the GSE team visited the Tshedisa Institute (the Institute provides care for the care giver) a first in Gaborone.

At Tshedisa we met with the Director, Ava Avalos and Dr Diana Dickensen who is the medical adviser to Tshedisa and has also provided the building (currently rent free). We were given an overview and tour by Ava including the beautiful 'Calming Garden' which was landscaped with a donation from RCG. Discussion and tea followed.

From there we went to the Gaborone Yacht Club for a Sundowner and light meal, where we were joined by more Rotarians, their spouses and friends.

We finished the day with 16 Rotarians/Spouses/Friends/GSE Team attending the BIFM/EU Concert at Maitisong where the Sedebeng, KTM & Gaborone Music Society Choirs, Soloists and the Johannesburg Festival Orchestra entertained us. 

Day 3 - Saturday 17 April

Team and Hosts up early, lunches packed and off to the Gaborone Sun to meet with the transport. Rtn Itamar Azoulay's wife Abigail had kindly lent us her Volkswagen Mini-Bus for the day, this seats 8 with plenty of room for luggage and was much appreciated. RCG VP Gary Lord was recruited as the driver with Rtn Sandra Stonehill riding shotgun. Rtns Chris Sharp and Barbara Butchart and John Stonehill waved us off on our journey to Mahalapye where we would meet up with the Rotary Club of Selibi-Phikwe.

En-route we stopped for a photo opportunity at the Tropic of Capricorn where VP Gary described what happens with the sun and the metal tube.

Arriving at the pick-up point in Mahalapye we met up with Mokobiri from RCSP who had some Sugar Cane on board and explained to the team how it was prepared for eating. 

The team boarded the RCSP executive bus and we waved them off before returning home to Gaborone.

An excellent GSE visit where the 3 'F's' were definitely met.

Rtn Sandra Stonehill


Please see below for a quick whistle-stop photo tour of the visit. If you would like to see more photos, and there are plenty, please email Sandra who will invite you to look at her web album. Email: 


Click HERE to view a Photo Slideshow of our interaction with the Team