What did take time was getting Hope connected to the brailler. When I approached the community library with the idea of donating the brailler to them so that other vision impaired people in the community could use it, they decided it was best to present it to the library during culture week, specifically on the day of culture week devoted to education. Yes, I thought, a good idea. So I told Hope it was on the way and could she join me at the library for the presentation. Unfortunately Hope could not come, as she is now in school during the week. I was disappointed that no one from her family could be there either, but when I stood up to present the Brailler I told the community that it was actually a gift from Hope, whose strength and energy had mobilized my friends at home to make this possible. I spoke of my writing group, The Great Darkness, and other friends who contributed, and the community was excited to be one of the first, if not the only, community library to have a brailler.
I handed the brailler over to the librarian and she said "This is now the property of the Botswana Government." My heart sank to my dusty shoes. And, if any of the photos that were promised to me ever arrive, you would see my face had fallen that far as well. This is one of the quiet problems here in Botswana. A country that 40 years ago did not have a single paved road, much less a community library, has managed to become one of the most developed bureaucracies I've ever experienced. I had visions of the brailler being stamped with a number and put into a store room where it would never be touched by human hands.
On the walk back to her place Hope told me she remembered Big Son's face from when she was sighted, ten years ago. We have been talking with an NGO in the capital, Gaborone, about working on information for blind people. "I will have work," Hope says, and is very excited about being able to create a newsletter in braille. It will take time, I know, but somehow the bureaucracy has aligned: Hope had applied to go to school in merchandising, but the government powers that be only had one place open for her: journalism.