LobatseLobatse is the ward we attend every Sunday and where we serve as teachers, YSA leaders, Primary leaders etc. Lobatse is a beautiful town in the hills about 80K (50 Miles) away from Mogoditshane where we live. Towns are differentiated from villages by having tar roads on more than just the main thoroughfare as well as having businesses, not just a couple of grocery stores. Towns are normally bigger and the villages are where the ancestral homes are. Villages can be as large as town but don't have the infrastructure. Many homes in villages don't have power and cooking is done outside over a fire.Molepolole and Mochudi are very large villages.
We travel a two lane highway to Lobatse (Low-bought-see) or as our Garmin says "La-bats" several times in a week. Normally during the day we see baboons in several locations and lots of cows, goats and donkeys by the side of the road. Usually, day trips are pretty uneventful and it takes us about 50 minutes to get to Lobatse. It is customary when an animal is passing in front of you or is really close to the road to slow down and put on your hazard lights so that people behind you know there is a danger; Night time driving is another story!
We have YSA Friday nights from 6-7:30pm. Actually, we leave about 8 or so when it's pitch black outside. The drive home takes us about 1 1/4 hrs. Traffic has it's own interesting ways of moving. If there is a back up of cars it's not uncommon for cars to pass. They just don't care if there are cars coming the other direction. We had a heart thumping experience this week when a one-headlight car passed another car while we were coming towards it. Luckily, Elder Gubler had pulled far enough over to the edge of the road for that car to go between us and the car is was passing. We had no idea how wide the vehicle was that was passing because the light was out on the side closest to us. Yowzers! Remember when your "mom" used to say, "keep your arm in the car, not out the window or you'll get your arm cut off." Well, here it's not an idle threat. When we pray to travel in safety every day, it isn't a rote request! We're always grateful to get home safe and sound. Today on the way to church we saw 7 vehicles, including buses and combies that were off to the side of the road because of flat tires and mechanical problems.
Another "fun" thing we have here are "Green Guys". They are actually police, but they have on fluorescent green vests to identify them when they are out and about in traffic. We see the "Green Guys" directing traffic in the morning and late afternoon to help "speed" us all along. (Sometimes it's not very helpful). Another thing they do is take pictures of speeders (like Phoenix used to do with speed cams) or one will use a radar gun to identify a speeder and another will motion the speeder to the side for a ticket. I guess this works better than patrol cars chasing down speeders. We have learned to identify the "Green Guys" and where they are usually located. Another thing they do is during the holidays when people are traveling, they set up traffic stops to check registrations on cars and look for illegal aliens and stolen vehicles. They are usually pretty nice guys, and gals.
Lobatse is one of the first towns that was settled in Botswana and is just over the border from South Africa. Mafakeng, just over the border, is the site of one of Baden Powell's military victories. He held a fort using strategy against overwhelming odds. (Baden Powell started the Boy Scouts). We have a branch in Mafakeng and 4 elders serve there. One of the big border crossings, Pioneer, is about 20K outside of Lobatse. One of the High Courts of Botswana is located here just as you enter Lobatse. Just down the street on the right is our Church facility while across the street from the church is a huge mental health facility. I'm not sure what that says. Anyway, Lobatse has the first branch of the Church when the Church was brought to Botswana.