By Natalie Nikitas
One and one-half million in population, 30.2 percent residents below the poverty line, and 17 percent positive for AIDS: perhaps not the dream vacation for most people yet for senior Allie Radomski it was her perfect destination.
In order to complete her Bluffton University Cross Cultural requirement, Radomski had to choose from a list of places where she would spend three weeks of her summer living, working, and immersing herself in a different culture. Among the list of places were Chicago, France, and Bolivia; but for Radomski, she desired a more unique trip.
"I've always had an interest in Africa and Botswana was the only cross cultural trip that was going there," Radomski said. "I thought it was really unique that you got to live with a host family for two weeks and experience the African culture first hand." Her Botswana experience took place during the spring of 2011.
From her initial day after landing in the village of Pitseng, Radomski knew she would get to experience a culture unlike anything she had previously known.
"We went to the kgotla and it was this welcoming ceremony basically," Radomski said. "They just started singing and we didn't know any of what they were saying but it was just an amazing experience to have that connection right off the bat."
After the initial ceremony, the members of the group were assigned to host families who they stayed with for two weeks. During that time, Radomski experienced day to day differences that were anything but ordinary.
"I had zero electricity and no running water but was brought a bucket of hot water every morning to take a bath," Radomski said. "My room consisted of a mattress on the floor and a roommate who was a bat."
After her experience was over, Radomski continued to be a part of her host family by writing a letter to a villager as well as sending a blanket and pictures back to her family.
"The people there are extremely friendly and all invited me to come back as soon as I could," Radomski said. "They made me feel at home even though I was thousands and thousands of miles away from the only home I'd ever known before then."
Natalie Nikitas is a 2014 Adolescent Young Adult History Major and Communication Minor from Jeffersonville, Indiana and a student in the Broadcasting and Journalism program at Bluffton University.
Natalie is also the author of "Bluffton shock jocks create buzz."