August 25, 2011
We’ve had a lot of Swazi cultural experiences lately.
Last Saturday, our principal took us to a traditional wedding. They typically last three days and we went on the night of the second day which involves singing and dancing. The bridal party dresses in traditional attire and performs which the entire community gathers on the homestead to watch (I felt like a wedding crasher until I realized just about everyone shows up). The traditional costumes involve a wrap and animal skins for men and several different wraps for women. Boys wear animal fur around their ankles, waist, and biceps. Girls wear beaded skirts, anklets made out of seed pods that rattle when they dance, and what looks like yarn necklaces. The bride wore a headdress of feathers. The singing was very beautiful, there were only a few drums for music. Most of the dancing involved simple foot stamping and moving back and forth but some of the younger boys performed a dance involving a lot of high kicks. It was a really interesting experience to have. I thought sometime in our two years here we would be able to attend a traditional wedding, but I did not think it would happen so soon.
Oliver and I are also planning on going to the Reed Dance which takes place this weekend. It is one of Swaziland’s claims to fame so we really want to see it and it will be good for us to get away from site for a couple of days and get some groceries (and we also hear we might have free wifi at the backpackers we are staying at!).
It’s been very, very quiet here at the school because we are on break. We only see the principal, his family, and the night watchman around the school grounds. It even feels quiet when we go for a walk in the community because it is very rural and sometimes there just aren’t very many people around. As such, we’ve been doing a lot of walking. This morning we took a two hour round trip to the store and bought bread and spinach. Last Monday we walked to Noah’s homestead, the closest volunteer to us, and it took a total of 5 hours. So yes, I will be a champion speed walker when we get back to the States.
Rebecca is Currently Reading: The Two Gentlemen of Verona
Oliver is Currently Reading: An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations
We are Watching: Modern Family, Season 1; West Wing, Season 4