Dumela bagaetsho! (Greetings everyone!) Things are going really well here in Botswana, and I know so much of that is directly related to prayers. I'm so grateful!
Yesterday was quite an interesting day, I have to say. I started the day at 5:20 am, heading to my first Botswana funeral with three other representatives from Love Botswana Outreach. It was for a young, disabled 14 year old girl named Kenaleone that LBOM had helped with therapy and food baskets. The funeral was quite a cultural experience for me. It actually starts at sunset the previous day when the coffin is brought to the house and the family spends the night in prayers and song. The funeral then starts at 5:30 a.m. with the viewing of the body and then the service. We arrived at the house, went in to see the body, and then waited outside the house until it was time for the coffin to be closed. At that time, the coffin was brought out and placed in the middle of the group of people there. Speeches were made, songs were sung, and prayers were said. We, as guests, were given very special treatment. We had front row seats, special recognition, and a translator provided for us. It was quite astonishing, really. We then all piled into vehicles and went to the gravesite. Here, the family lowered the coffin into the ground and placed the first bit of dirt on top. The rest of the time was spent by men taking turns with two shovels, shoveling all the dirt back in while everyone else sang various songs. It was quite a moving time. After that we all went back to the house and the family and special guests were presented. Then a meal was served, and we tried to leave at this time. However, it was almost insisted that we stay and we were the first to be fed, as the special guests there. The hospitality and welcoming here are so amazing! We asked for only a little since we were going to have to leave, but we received a large plate full of food. I actually ate my first authentic Botswana meal there! I wasn’t able to finish, though, and they just passed my plate on to someone else. While eating we talked to our translator who told us that all the people there did not know Kenaleone, but in the Botswana culture, the community really comes together for each other in times of loss. Therefore, at funerals there will be many people who do not even know the family but are there as support. I think that is beautiful! We finally left the funeral at 9:45…over 4 hours after we’d arrived!
After the funeral my day was pretty free until church last night (which is always amazing!) Also, yesterday I spent some time with Siw (from Norway) discussing the preschool. I found it is not actually in operation right now because of some complications with the city government. They are hoping to open it again soon, though.Today I was able to go with Siw around the community to deliver food baskets. I loved this time with the people and the precious kids! She also took me to some shops and I was able to buy the “Learn Setswana” books I wanted the last time I was here. I didn’t buy them and have been kicking myself since then. I also bought a Setswana Bible and hope to be disciplined enough to learn some verses from it. That would be so neat!
The rest of today has been pretty low key and I will go to the youth service tonight. The weekend will offer much time to relax and then I start at the school on Monday. I am so curious to get into the classrooms. I have learned that the school is actually not a Christian or mission school (even though it is at the mission), but is an international school with 16 nations represented! The curriculum is not Christian based, although there is more freedom to talk about Jesus in the classroom and they do have chapel once a week. I can’t wait to see some classrooms and see how it is all done.