I went to the Maun Police Station the other day, which has very little to do with this post. It's part of a bigger episode we'll get to later. Boxes of free condoms sit on counters in every room. Eagle Island Camp keeps theirs by the employee message board. The condoms come from the Botswana government. It's all part of the plan to reduce HIV in the country.
Current estimates put the infection level at 25% of the population. Some experts say that that number is way too low because infected people receive the same drugs each month at the free clinic that have kept Magic Johnson alive for the last twenty years.
Problem is, the drugs mask the symptoms of HIV/AIDS and people unwittingly have sex with infected folks. Condoms are unpopular here. If a girl wants you to take her home, she whispers in your ear that she wants you to give her "some of your power." She doesn't want you to put your power in a plastic bag, ya dig?
The dowry system still rules here. The Botswana gubment set a maximum fee of six cows just last month. Prior to that, some families wouldn't let their little princess go for less than a dozen, especially if she had finished high school.
But what if your family works in liquor store instead of the fields? Then you need to give her family dikgomo kgetsi. That literally translates to pocket cows. It's gonna set you back 3500 pulas if you knock up a girl (for the first time only, if she's already had a kid, the subsequent ones are worthless) out of wedlock or 6000 to marry.
So here, you might as well buy the cow cuz you won't get the milk for free.
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