Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Happy New Year

To celebrate the end of 2011 and the start of 2012 I stayed on my homestead in Malindza.

All of my host siblings but one came back to the homestead for the holiday.  Each of my four older host sisters have a son so there were four young boys, with endless energy, running about.  It made for a very busy homestead.

For New Years Eve, we all stayed up, had a mini dance party, and then lit off small fireworks at the stroke of midnight.  It was full of the usual excitement and the night was flashing with blurbs of light as all the homesteads welcomed 2012.  We got the fireworks off just in time to, a very heavy rainfall came at 12:30am.  Rain is a perfect way to start 2012, we need it bad, lets hope its a sign of more to come!

On New Years Day my host sisters spent all morning cooking a feast for lunch.  I helped a little, but lets face it I’m not the best in the kitchen.  I did make some pretty tasty Kool-aid however.  We had grilled fish and chicken, local mushrooms picked from the field, rice, beans, and vegetable stew.  Then we spent the rest of the day napping off the heavy meal.

It was really fun having all my host siblings home.  I got to talk with them individually and really connect with them.  Its very weird not being the oldest (in this family I am the fifth born).  For the first time in my life I have older siblings and I’m not totally sure how to act being a younger sibling.  I’m not so sure I would have enjoyed not being a first-born. 

In this family I have three very successful older sisters.  They are really good role models for Swazi girls.  They all have sustainable careers, are married, and waited to have kids until they were married.  That’s somewhat of a rare combo here so I am proud that my sisters are proving that Swazi women can be modern, independent, successful, yet still respect tradition. 

Anyways back to New Years.  They don’t really do New Years resolutions here.  They know of them but they aren’t so committed to making or breaking them here.  I have made the resolution to just keep on surviving Africa.  Even though its been seven months, there are still battles everyday here that take fighting.  For example like not freaking out when I came home after Christmas to a snake in my house.  Not a big one, and in the snakes defense I think it was just resting under my door and I pushed it into my house, but still.  One of the boys killed it right away and honestly it wasn’t scary, just makes you very aware about what you might be living with.  I also resolute to keep my house neater.  This factor did not contribute to the snake getting in but the neater my stuff is the easier it will be to see a creature hiding within. 

I am also trying to speak SiSwati more.  I realized when going back to Khiza that there are accents within SiSwati.  I could understand so much more in Khiza because they are influenced by the Zulu language, which is more enunciated and the words are more broken apart.  In Malindza they speak “Deep SiSwati,” meaning they string all of there words together, no breaks, and talk very fast.  Its no wonder I spend most of my time say “angiva,” which means I don’t understand.  I honestly can’t understand.  I have gotten a tutor to meet with every other week.  Hope it helps some.

So here is to a New Year; a new whole year in Africa.

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