‘Belonging’ in Francistown

I spot George Callender’s gray beard as I walk across the tarmac at the tiny Francistown airport early on a Friday morning. I am carrying my new backpack, with University of Botswana blazoned across it, my only ‘souvenir’ – a functional one – thus far.

Rev. Callender is a deacon in Francistown, the only clergy in fact, as there is no priest. He takes me to his home for breakfast. Soon he, his wife and I are eating boiled eggs, bacon, toast, baked beans, and hot dogs.

They are from Guyana. They came over as a young couple, first to Zambia, then to Botswana. They have been here ever since. Their children, now grown, were born here.

Mrs. Callender is growing herbs in pots on their concrete front porch. She and I stand next to them as Rev. Callender speaks on the ever-present cell phone. ‘I have spent over half my life here,’ she says. She smiles. Then she adds: ‘I am told that it does not matter; I will always be an outsider.’