March 31st, 2012
My oldest host sister is expecting her second child. She lives in the capital city Mbabane and kindly invited me to her baby shower this past Saturday. Turns out Swazi baby showers are the exact same as American baby showers: tons of food, fun games, presents, and an afternoon with your best girlfriends.
They say Americans are loud, but I think Swazi women could give any group of American women a run for their money. I had never been with so many Swazi women indoors before. Most Swazi events are held outside and the noise isn’t evident, but inside I would have never believed how loud it could get. It was all sounds of happiness though… tons of laughter. It was really fun to just hang out with a bunch of women all afternoon.
I unfortunately didn’t get to experience the full shower. Keeping with true Swazi culture the event didn’t start until 3:00pm, when it was scheduled for noon. Since I had to catch public transport back to site before dark I had to leave at 3:30pm. Even with the effort I still didn’t make it home until way past dark.
I caught the last bus home and let me tell you once the sun sets public buses basically become party buses. I am fairly certain every single man was drinking and we even had an aisle dancer. Of course I didn’t go unnoticed, a loud outburst of excitement roared through the bus as I made my way from the back to exit. Many “I love yous” and shouts of “white person” followed me. However, I survived the experience and my host family met me with a vehicle at the bus stop so I didn’t have to walk home alone in the dark. There just so happened to be some male family members visiting my host family and they had a truck that they let my host mom borrow to fetch me. She told them she needed to collect her daughter and when they saw me they were perplexed. The only explanation my host dad gave them was “she has my last name, she is my daughter,” meaning don’t be rude to her.
Sometimes belonging to a family here is the best thing about this whole experience.