Stopping by Bonolo’s Village

Nolie reading the the creche.

Nolie reading the the creche.

A few weeks ago, I was invited to host a workshop at another PCV’s school in the NorCape province. Since the workshop was to be Wed-Fri, I thought the weekend before would be a great time to visit another PCV who lives in the general area (aka province). So on Saturday, I hopped aboard the bus, visited Tsiamo in Ganyesa, had a hilarious encounter with a delightful Afrikaner family, caught a ride to Vryburg, then settled into the 3-4 hour ride to Nolie’s village.

After one of the most ridiculous bush taxi rides ever, I stumbled off the taxi in an oasis-like village. Nolie’s village has elevation, built along a ridge that once border a massive pond/lake, but which is now I dried up salt pan. There’s a cave there, though it was too hot to walk the 1.5 hours to), and bushveld which looks like a scene from the Lion King, which I pretty much have around my village. And there are lots of cool rocks, which my village certainly doesn’t have. It was nice to see a real NorCape village.

Bonolo’s village is a lot like mine in the sense that nobody speaks English. This is actually pretty rare in SA, and thankfully I know enough Setswana to handle this, after living in this reality for 1.5 years. Unlike my village, hers has cool rocks everywhere. I like rocks, can you tell? 🙂

Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes.

Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes.

I was spending 2 full days in her village, before heading to the next village for the workshop. On Sunday we thought we might walk to the cave, or into the veld a bit…until we realized how hot it was. We lazed around all day, watching movies and sweating. Hello summer! The next day, we headed off to the crèche around 9am, which is a preschool. Nolie was starting to read with them for 10-15 minutes everday, just to introduce them to English. After her inspiration, I am doing the same in Grades R-3 at my school. The crèche kids were adorable, as most 3-4 year olds singing and listening attentively are.

Mma Bonolo in English class.

Mma Bonolo in English class.

Helping learners answer some NS questions.

Helping learners answer some NS questions.

After we read and sang, we headed off to the school, just in time for Nolie’s classes. She’s a real teacher here, responsible for English and NS in her multigrade 6-7 class. She’s set a beautiful classroom, and her kids were pretty great, considering it was the first week of school. I took lots of photos that she could have of her teaching and in the classroom, and was impressed by how well she handled her class. I joined PC and found out I am NOT a teacher, but some people find out they are great teachers. Mma Bonolo is one such person, even if she hasn’t realized it.

I took some clippings from a few succulents in her garden to grow back in my village, and shared a few seeds I had along with me, as well as some tips for her garden counterpart. After school, the learners ran home to get their traditional clothes and did some great dances for me. I certainly felt like a guest of honor. All the kids seemed bummed to hear that I was leaving the next day, and I really hope to visit again.

Boys dancing.

Boys dancing.

The next morning I woke up early and found a taxi to Kuruman, ready for the workshop the next day! The first taxi I was in was the most full I’ve ever been in-the 14 person kombi has 24 people in it, only 2 of which were kids. Me, 4 adults, and a baby were shoved into the back seat. Thankfully we reshuffled about 20-30 minutes, and some people got out. Crazy!
-Jen

Follow me on Twitter here!

Or check out my other blog, Growing in Faith!

Girls dancing.

Girls dancing.

This boy was particularly awesome.

This boy was particularly awesome.

Advertisements

Lenyalo

Lenyalo=wedding

I was invited to a wedding last week, on a Friday night.  Now, you Americans think of weddings in a very different way than South Africans do.  So, here’s how a typical wedding goes.

An invite to a wedding is rarely extended in an invitation form.  Basically, if you hear of a wedding and decide you want to go, you go.  They are very much open to the community, and I could have gone without my principal, but that probably would have been a very awkward and confusing experience.

Wedding receptions are nearly always held at the house, in a big tent in the yard, and this one was no exception.  Cooking is done in huge black pots with three legs, over a woodfire.  The menu is usually a variation of: beef, goat/sheep, chicken, rice, pap, sour pap, samp, squash/pumpkin, a spicy cold salad, a not spicy cold salad, and some sort of gravy.  Give or take a few dishes and you have about every wedding in SA. 🙂

Cars park all willy-nilly outside the family compound, and you wait for the bridal party to come from the church, or wherever the ceremony was heard.  In my case, this time was spent being stared at intensely and being shuffled from one area to another.  Once the bridal party arrived, an older woman lead the way, sweeping the ground, and an older man walked in front dancing, carrying a stick, and wearing a bloody animal skin.  Don’t ask me why, I have not learned what this means.  The bridal party dances in, with the bride in a stunning white dress.  They head into the tent, and then, as honored guest, Lorato and I are shoved through the crowd and pushed through the mosh pit of people to arrive (slightly beaten down) in the bridal tent where we merit a seat near the center.

Oops, I forgot the part where I was chased down by the brass band, almost trampled by them, and probably received some permanent hearing loss.  Oh well.

Next comes a plethora of speeches-all in Tswana-along with songs and dance.   A few prayers later and suddenly the place explodes into motion as people rush towards the buffet.  Lorato and I elbow our way through the crowd and manage to get some delicious food.  In my absence my seat has been taken, my cup disappeared, and my fork went missing as well.  The seat thief hops up, I pilfer a fork from someone else’s plate, and steal sips from Lorato’s cup as I down my food-SO GOOD!!  The food is always a reason to accept an invite to anywhere, as it is always very good.

As darkness descends, we prepare to leave, but are held up by the prospect of seeing the traditional dance of the bridal party, all in traditional clothes.  They finally dance out to some more crazy (but good) brass band music.  This time the bride is in a strapless dress, done up in traditional colors and patterns.  The guy wearing the bloody skin is nowhere to be found, but the dancing continues. We make it out well after dark (oops), but full and happy at being exposed to another incredible SA experience.  I shall post pictures in the next post, so check them out.

-Jen