Right outside our front door this morning were 4 female donkeys, 3 babies and dear old dad (who is a bit of a bully but today was protecting his harem ). This shot is of the youngest baby- we are guessing less than a day old (and you can see dad in upper left- the dirty white one with 2 birds on his back. ) Unfortunately, the whole family did not cooperate for a Christmas/ Hanukkah portrait.
Wishing everyone peace and happiness this Christmas/ Hanukkah eve.
Our friend, Tumelo, gave birth to a beautiful baby girl on December 14. Her name is Melissa Rethabile Nkwe. We got to see her when she was 1 week old. This is very unusual in Botswana.
Botswana tradition dictates that, after giving birth, the mother goes into seclusion for 3 months. She is attended by female relatives. Even the father is not allowed to visit. Typically a big party is held when mom and baby are ready to come out of seclusion. Tumelo is not following this tradition and allowed us to visit yesterday.
While there are probably good reasons for this practice just as many traditions are rooted in what was once common sense (no pork for Jews and Muslims for instance ), times change and cultures change. There is nothing inherently wrong with giving a new mother time to rest, recover and bond with her child. However, we now accept the importance of the father in bonding and child rearing as well .
In public hospitals in Botswana the father is not allowed to be present at his child’s birth. This is really a logistical issue- there is simply no room on the wards for a bunch of expectant fathers. In private hospitals, fathers can be present.
Another big change is that the law now allows the father’s name on the birth certificate if the parents are not married, but only if he agrees to such. While not perfect it is better than the past when his name could not appear.
Getting married in Botswana is no easy feat. If you do not have a traditional wedding many families do not recognize the wedding. A traditional wedding is expensive as lebola must be paid (usually 8 cows or their value- about P2000 each (US$200 ) and a lavish party with food for the entire village and many related gifts from one family to the other. Many simply cannot afford to get married.
We decided to keep track of some of the things that amuse us and will share them from time to time.
You know It’s Summertime when…
– You want to do laundry because it is a chance to get wet
– You linger just a little longer than necessary when looking for something in the freezer
– It’s time to defrost the freezer and you are looking forward to it
– You get to share what’s left of your cooltime (icee ) with the cute baby on the combi
-Doing laundry counts as hand exercise
-Clearing all vestiges of grass from yard doubles for a rowing machine
–Gave Gary dessert in a plastic container leftover from an event. His first comment is did they serve all of these in individual plastic containers? Yes they did. Wow- great containers. (Watch for us on a future season of HOARDERS)
– Teresa: What can we use this broken ice cube tray for
Gary: Not sure but maybe something
Teresa: Ok let’s keep it. You never know
(Now this same conversation any time in the past 37 years of marriage before Peace Corps)
Teresa: Name 3 uses for this broken ice cube tray
Gary: Uh, um, not sure, but you never know
Teresa: It’s out of here !
Strange Conversations and Pastimes :
Talking to chickens : Particularly Mama One (who has adopted us )- How many chicks this time ? There were 5 yesterday- Today there are 4- what happened Mama One ?
Talking to Goats : You can stay in the yard as long as you eat the thorny plants and not the fig tree. That’s it- out of here- We told you- leave the fig tree alone.
Our Idea of Adventure
Use a Saturday morning medical appointment as an excuse to take a new combi to two new malls (new to us that is ), find little of interest except this poor car, and end up walking 5k because we are sure that OUR combi should come along any time soon.
We wish you all a very Happy Holiday Season and New Year ! Looking forward to seeing many of you in 2017. Expected date to arrive back in Phoenix is November 10 after a 4-6 week trip mostly in southern Spain and France including 4 days at a cooking school.