Good morning everyone; happy day-after-Christmas! Wow...talk about culture shock...okay, here's what happened in Tabola yesterday...the day started off normally. Kimiko and I slept in until almost eight, a nice change in routine for me. We had a lovely breakfast of French toast and then began the day. Children came to visit all morning; that was fun. We were invited to have a Christmas meal with the Ramoabis...traditional Basotho food. So, at 2:00 P.M. we joined them for lunch; we brought all our baked goods to share. The food was wonderful, and M'e served us on her best china...here's where we began to see the diversity of cultures...we were served in the dining room. We ate with Ntate and 'M'e, while everyone else waited on us. The only time we saw a child was if he or she was asked to serve or do some other errand. There was no family Christmas meal. That was kind of okay because Kimiko and I got to ask many questions that we probably wouldn't have asked at a family meal. We talked about politics, culture, traditions, etc. Kimiko had brought her violin to Tabola, so she played Christmas songs after lunch, and the children began to trickle back into the dining room; the girls seemed to know all the words to the Christmas songs.
the Christmas sweets Kimiko and I made
Ntate and 'M'e sitting with their wedding picture
Kimiko playing the violin
the Christmas plate...egg salad, beets, rice, chakalaka (kind of an onion-tomato sauce on the rice0, moroho (chopped greens...usually cabbage), beet root and. carrot salad
Me, 'M'e Mamoabi and 'M'e Mansthohle
Me and Kopanu
The rest of the day became very strange. We were a bit disappointed that our friend Katie couldn't make it to Tabola; she encountered transportation problems and ended up sitting in a Volunteer Resource room in Mokhotlong all by herself for the entire day...in fact, she had to lock herself in and sleep there.
As the day wore on, the sleepy little village of Tabola became louder and louder. People were beginning to celebrate Chirstmas with joala (homemade brew). In the late afternoon we went to say hello to my supervisor and bring her a Christmas gift. She was so surprised and overwhelmed with being given a gift that we had to explain that it's an American Christmas custom...she didn't even know what to do about untying the ribbon on the gift...back to the day: on the walk to my supervisor's house, we noticed so many people out on the roads...filled with "Christmas Cheer." Children as young as two and three were just wandering around together...people were dancing and singing all over the town, in streets,m the fronts and backs of houses and huts...and cars were driving with reckless abandon. It seemed as though even the little children were filled with joala. By the time we left 'M'e Mathabo's house, the outside gatherings had more than doubled. Everyone seemed to be outside...dinking or drunk. It was then that we realized that Christmas is a simple family gathering for a quick meal, maybe church in the morning, and then drinking, dancing, singing for the rest of the day and all night. When my son called, Tabola sounded like Times Square on New Years' Eve. It's before eight A.M., and the music has already begun again. I think we're in for another day of heavy 'celebrating". Have a peaceful and quiet day-after-