On Friday, November 2,
held a Farewell
Feast for ‘M’e Neo… me. It was intended
to be a joyous occasion, filled with memories of my past three years in Lepholisa
Primary School ,
funny and sad stories, traditional songs and dances, traditional Basotho food
and gift giving. Lesotho
The day was all of this…and more. It was a tearful day of facing reality for me…the reality that I shall soon be leaving the Basotho people and my beloved second home,
The ceremony was stressful because I tried to be as strong as a Basotho woman, but failed. I was unable to control my tears the way the bo ‘m’e do during all their trials and tribulations…but at the same time, I realized that that’s okay! I was reminded that I am an American woman, strong and capable…capable of showing and sharing these emotions with those who are dear to me. This was a gentle reminder of my origins and my home,
As difficult as the day was for me, I must say that everyone else had a wild and happy time!
The food: setampo- creamed maize kernels, papa- a maize like corn bread, likhobe- corn kernels, khoho- chicken, nyekoe- beans and sorghum, lipabe-maize (which has been roasted, ground to a flour–like consistency and mixed with salt and sugar, then put into the palm of the hand to be licked), and motoho- a sour, loose porridge to which sugar is added before drinking. The feast was scrumptious!!!
I was also presented with traditional Basotho clothing: a red seshoeshoe- a dress, a tuku-matching scarf, a tjale- a small blanket that the women wear over their shoulders or around their waists, and a Basotho hat.
Many other small gifts were presented: a statue of King Moshoeshoe the first king of
, a diary, a
clay pot and a small purse made from local mohair! Lesotho
There were speeches, speeches and more speeches…all in Sesotho of course; my friend and colleague, Nthabeseng,was kind enough to sit next to me and translate.
Then the students in each grade performed a traditional song or dance in my honor.
After all the formalities were finished, the crowd of students, parents, dignitaries, etc. began to feast, drink, dance and sing.
The highlight of the dancing was when many of the ntate (fathers) formed a circle around me and began to dance and sing…it was lovely!
Lepholisa, I shall never forget you!
Ah, tomorrow there’s another farewell at
. Maybe I won’t
cry!!! Mopeli School