Wednesday, October 2, 2013

A very Motswana wedding

What we call a reception in America, they call a wedding in Botswana. With few people in attendance, the couple gets married the day before the reception. In general, everything Batswana do is a celebration and there is always food involved. You can't hold a meeting without having 'tea', which is really just tea and food, like sandwiches and bread. If you don't offer tea, don't expect anyone to show up. Anywho, I've had the opportunity to go to two weddings here and I will say, they know how to party. If I were Motswana I imagine weddings would be awesome. It's essentially just a huge neighborhood block party with all of your friends from the ward, and I feel like there are quite a few weddings (not nearly as many as funerals, but that's for a different day). Well, I'm not Motswana so I don't think they are awesome, I think they are slightly nerve-wracking and incredibly awkward. I would throw out a guess that most PCV's feel awkward attending new celebrations/stores/streets/neighborhoods (are you grasping that I mean everywhere?) during training, and especially alone. We get stared at everywhere and no matter how fluently we speak Setswana they WILL laugh at anything and everything we attempt to say in it. We have been told numerous times that the laughing isn't meant to be mean, but it isn't exactly encouraging when they laugh every time you state your name.
Peggy, my host sister, asked me this afternoon to go to the wedding with her and we would meet mma there. I am usually really busy and unable to attend such functions, but finding my whole afternoon open, I obliged (even though I really just wanted to lay on my bed and try to nap because it's COLD today and awesome because it rained, that's right, it rained here, it's a big deal). We walked the 3 minutes across the street to the wedding and immediately we are handed a spoon and told to start serving. There are at least three serving stations full of women throwing food everywhere (which are all equally terrifying to walk up to) at this place and roughly 200 people in attendance, but it's hard to tell because people are just moving all over the place. There are seven bowls of food and you would think it would be easiest to just form an assembly-like line to pass the plates through, but no, we just randomly grab plates and scoop food on whatever is in front of us, with many plates missing multiple bowls. After about thirty minutes of scooping semp, Peggy pulls me out of the line and battles her way through not one, not two, but three serving lines to get me a plate of food she thinks I will like. I love her. The meal consisted of a meat substance called seswa that I like to pretend is pulled pork (it really looks like it after you get passed the veins, bones, and creepy trachea-resembling tubes in it), pumpkin-squash, semp, cabbage, and even fresh salad greens. After eating we walk back to her place, find some random guy in her lawn to deliver the leg and rib cage of a dead and skinned cow from the bed of his pickup truck, help him move it into her kitchen, and then went back to the wedding. As we were watching the bride walk in with her second dress on, a little kid just throws down his drawers and pees right in front of me, then the song 'Silent Night' comes on. Not one person is phased by either of these things.

1 comment:

  1. I want to make a movie about your life
    Also, I miss you
    And I want to make a late night run to Hy-Vee for some mac and cheese
    But it doesn't feel right going without you