My Last $100

ACM asked the communications assistants to keep track of how we spent $100, or about 1000 Pula for me here in Bots. I decided I was going to be super on top of it and made an excel sheet to keep track of all my expenses for a little while, but of course I don’t know how to function without procrastinating, so it took me a while to actually turn that log into a blog post for y’all.

$100 in Botswana gets you pretty far. There really isn’t much to spend money on here outside of food, so almost all of my purchases in this list are food-related. I documented my spending from Tuesday April 18th to Saturday April 29th. That included a weekend trip to Serowe where the program was paying for our lodging and food most of the time, so $100 might not normally get me through a full 12 days, but it comes pretty close. I kept track of my purchases in Pula, and then converted it on a 10:1 ratio, but that’s not the exact conversion rate, so this is actually probably more like $96 total.

Mom, if you’re keeping track of my meals with this it’s going to look like I skip meals right and left, but that is really just that I eat peanut butter sandwiches in my room quite a bit. Pap and butternut squash get pretty old after a while, but good ol’ milk and cereal will never fail me.

April 18th

$0.30 (P3) fatcake on my way back to my room after Setswana class.

-$1.68(P16.80)- Takeaway lunch at Curry Pot, the dining hall closest to our dorms. This gives you a giant blob of starch, meat (if you’re a meat eater), and a couple scoops of cooked veggies. See my food blog for more on that.

-$8.50 (P85)- I got some groceries at the on campus convenience store: three liters of long-life milk, a liter of orange juice, and a bottle of aloe vera juice for a little treat.

April 19th$1.53 (P15.30)- Dinner at Curry Pot

$3.65 (P 36.50)- Loaf of bread and a box of Rice Krispies

April 20

$1.68 (P16.8)- Dinner at Curry Pot

$3.98  (P38.80)- I was feeling kind of sad and frustrated that a lot of my comfort shows aren’t available on Netflix in Botswana, so I bought my two favorite episodes of Parks and Rec on Amazon. It was a great decision.

April 21

$0.7  (P 7)- Kombi ride (basically a large van that operates like a bus here) to and from the hospice for my community engagement work.

April 21 to 23rd we were in Serowe with our whole program, so I didn’t have as many expenses. 

April 23

$2.55  (P 25.45)- chips and cookies at a gas station on the way back to Gaborone

$8.14  (P 81.4)– Grocery run to Spar, one of the large grocery stores at the Riverwalk Mall. I got a chocolate chocolate chip loaf of bread (my favorite indulgence here cause it’s one of the only things I can get easily that feels like real dessert), some brie, and two aloe vera drinks.

$14.05 (P 140.45)- Got some more groceries at Pick and Pay, the other grocery store at Riverwalk with a slightly different selection. Bag of carrots, saltines, boxed custard, a cucumber, 3 avocados, a bag of oranges, and two lemons to make my water more fun.

April 24

$0.35  (P 3.5)- One way kombi ride to the hospice cause I was cheap and impatient on the way back, so I decided to walk instead of ride.

$1.53 (P 15.3)- Dinner at Curry Pot

April 25

$0.3 (P 3)-Phapata bread from the Hot Spot food stand for a mid-morning snack.

$1.68  (P 16.8)-Takeaway lunch from Curry Pot.

$1.53  (P 15.3)-Dinner at Curry Pot with the group after our development seminar.

April 26

$0.35  (P 3.5)-My walk back from the hospice the other day showed me that it’s actually possible to walk from there in under 40 minutes, so when I got tired of waiting at the bus stop and having taxi drivers yell at me, I decided to walk instead. This was a one-way ride back from my community engagement a few hours later.

$1.53  (P 15.3)-Lunch at Curry Pot after our Urban Africa class.

April 27

$1 (P 10)-Egg and cheese sandwich before Setswana class

I am in LOVE with these things. It’s just an egg and a slice of processed cheese on phapata bread, but they are fantastic.

$1.68  (P 16.8)-Takeaway dinner at Curry Pot

$14.61 (P 146.1)-Grocery restock! Three liters of milk, a liter of orange juice, sleeve of Oreos, yogurt, and a box of cereal

April 28

$0.7  (P 7)– Kombi ride to and from the hospice

$0.3 (P 3)– Fatcake before class

$0.35 (P3.50)- Kombi ride to dinner at Airport Junction Mall

$7.58  (P 75.8)– Shampoo, conditioner, and a loaf of banana bread at the gocery store there

$10 (P 100)-Dinner at Cappuccinos restaurant. I got penne pomodoro and a milkshake! Delicious!

$2 (P 20)-Half of the cost of a cab ride back to campus, my share among our group this time.

April 29

$0.3 (P 3)-Phapata bread

$5.13  (P 51.25)-Three liters of milk from the convenience store.  I go through a ton of milk here. My secret is that I got a little container of chocolate Nesquik powder, which makes kind of weird-tasting long-life milk (it doesn’t have to be refrigerated until after opening) taste great for a late night snack.

$1.68  (P 16.8)-Lunch at Curry Pot

$1.5 (P 15)-Dinner of beans and samp from the gate. For 15 Pula you can get a small container of food from the informal vendors around campus and load it up with whatever you want. I usually just go for beans and samp cause it’s delicious and I figure I can’t get food poisoning from beans, but there are lots of other great options too!

That brings us to a total of $100.86. I know none of these things are exceptionally exciting, but it goes to show that $100 can take you pretty far in Gaborone!

My original concept for a featured image of Pula to go with this post. Kind of failed when a 50 Thebe coin fell in my eye while selfie-ing, and I realized this all just looked very weird.

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