BOTHO. It is a word I have heard so many times since coming to Botswana 20 years ago. For those of you who don’t know the word, it seems it is difficult to get one answer, but it seems to embody basic compassion and community.
When a nation has botho, people think about how their actions impact others and act in a selfless kindness to help their neighbour. Although I have heard it spoken about for decades, to be honest, I rarely see it played out in reality. Generally, neighbours stay behind their huge concrete walls and electric fences sometimes not even knowing each other and certainly not selflessly serving one another.
In business, the norm seems to be a cut-throat style in which you are never too sure who you can trust because everyone is trying to get ahead no matter what the cost.
Corruption flourishes as people don’t consider the harmful implications on society when they unethically and illegally line their pockets. Sometimes, to be honest, it can be depressing to see how little on a day-to-day basis we actually do consider others when we go about our day.
That is why this past week, words can’t contain the excitement I felt when I saw this principle played out before my eyes in the exact utopian way it has always been described to me. Back in August, the Chief of Rakops invited my husband and I to come to his village and teach the healthy family principles we taught in our marriage show, Talking with the Thabas.
Positive testimonies abounded in the village with those who watched the show and read the book we wrote which explained everything from the show in detail. With Boteti region leading in cases of domestic abuse, they realised that an effective tool to fight gender-based violence (GBV) was to teach people in detail and with very practical examples what a healthy family should look like.
The campaign to teach these principles has finally been set for March 8 to 25. The ink had barely dried on the paper where we confirmed the date when my phone started to ring! Youth who are not working were saying “Can you train us to go and teach?
We want to be of service and we want to help others.” One lady, a director in her company, said: “I have asked the other two directors if they can cover my load so I can go the 18 days and teach healthy family principles and share God’s wonderful plan of love in some of these homes where violence and hatred persist.”
I have never even met the lady. I was blown away that someone would leave work to go and serve and love others she has never met. Botho! Another friend of mine from a weekly Bible study my hubby and I lead said she wanted to help fight GBV and play her part in strengthening families. She volunteered to sponsor three youths who wanted to go but couldn’t afford the trip. Botho!
A corporate came on board and said they would donate prizes to incentivise people in the village to come to the 13 days of training. The idea is we tell people, “If you come to all 13 days, your name will be entered into a draw to win….”
We are doing this hoping to have the platform and the time to teach more people practical tips to strengthen their families.
By the way, please email email@example.com if you would like to donate to our campaign as we would love more prizes so we can get more people to participate in an effort to help more people learn how to strengthen their families and resolve conflict in a healthier manner.
Another guy who is excellent in media volunteered to come along and film the teaching sessions so that anyone can see them live on our Facebook page Talking with the Thabas. That means he will leave work to make sure others can watch these without having to leave their work. Another friend called and said that she and her husband would be available to pray and encourage people who are going just so they know they have a “cheerleading” squad walking by their side as they walk into the village to teach. One lady called me from a village 10 hours away from where I live and said she has a degree in psychology and counselling and had been praying for a way to use it to bless others. She said being able to go to Rakops was an answer to prayer. Imagine — thanking me for an opportunity to leave the comfort of her home to go serve others. Botho!
People, most of whom I have never met are coming out of the woodworks to join the mission. Strengthen the nation by strengthening one family at a time.
I am so honoured to be a part of this great team and so excited to see what God is going to do in Rakops in March. Be encouraged. Botho is alive and well — there are still people all over the country who are seeking opportunities to love their neighbour and selflessly give of their time and resources to bless people they have never met. May God bless them and our country as we work together towards a brighter future and stronger families.
- Ashley Thaba is a popular motivational speaker, team-building facilitator, author and the producer of a hit TV show offering practical advice to strengthen families and improve marriages! Episodes of her show can be downloaded from her website — www.ashleythaba.com. You can view some of her work on her YouTube channel: Ashley Thaba. You can buy three of her books, Dive In, Making Marriages Fun, and Conquering the Giants, on her website. You can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Facebook at: Talking with the Thabas