Last Thursday, I had mixed feelings about the weekend ahead. As it was Easter Weekend, Friday and Monday were public holidays, which meant a four-day break from school. To be honest, four days in the village without school can quickly become boring and would usually be the perfect time to travel, but deep down I knew that this was an important weekend to be with my host families. Easter in South Africa is most comparable to Thanksgiving in America: nearly everyone travels to see family or hosts family visitors. It was particularly important for me because all six of my host sisters were home for the first time since December and most likely the last time before I leave at the beginning of June. So, despite the lack of excitement, I decided it was best to hang around the area. Which was especially a shame, because a good friend of mine was unexpectedly headed back to America. Her mom became ill and she decided it was better to be with her back home. Because of where she lived, she first had to travel to Durban and spend the night before carrying on to Pretoria. And while I could have tried to rush down and see her, I realized that it was going to be a lot of traveling for a very short good-bye, and I know that I will see her again in America. But it was still sad to know she was on her way home and all I was doing was twiddling my thumbs in the dark. Such are the challenges of Peace Corps.
|In the front yard with my host sisters on Family Day,|
the Monday following Easter.
The rest of the weekend turned out to be even more uneventful than I imagined, but the weather was at least nice. I spent a bit of time at school labeling books and re-watching episodes of Downton Abbey for about the fiftieth time. Much of my other time was spent at home hanging out with my host family – when they were awake that is. I had no idea just how important (and time consuming) church attendance was going to be until I saw it first hand. For those of the Zion faith, like my host family, there is a church service on Friday afternoon, then again on Friday night from 11pm until 6am, then again on Saturday afternoon, with a final service on Saturday night from 11pm until 7 or 8am. Then Easter Sunday is spent sleeping. When my host sister explained the schedule to me on Friday morning, I said I was going to have to pass on the Zion celebrations, and that perhaps I would try one of the other village churches on Sunday. Although in the end, I did not bother. At least I had a few chocolate bunnies to keep me company. Luckily, by today everyone had caught up on their sleep and was out and about in the village. There still was not a whole lot to do, but I had a chance earlier in the afternoon to take pictures with my sisters one last time and play a few card games. By all accounts, it was what Family Day was for and there really wasn’t any place I would have rather been.