I must admit that I am very much in denial…not only at the fact that I am 24 years old now, but also that I have been in Lesotho for so long that this was my second birthday celebration in this country. I say that I was destined to be Mosotho because my birthday is also Lesotho’s Independence Day! Being a teacher, it’s awesome having my birthday on a public holiday because it means that I get the entire week off from work (the schools have an Independence Break…SCORED!) The whole week was beautiful; I was in Maseru earlier in the week so I was able to buy a couple bottles of red wine, cheese, crackers and chocolate at the grocery store. Once I got home, it seemed like the festivities never ended. I had fellow Peace Corps Volunteers coming in and out like tidal waves of company.
Yesterday, my actual birthday day, I was showered with indescribable love. In the late morning my family came by with a huge pot of samp (a traditional corn dish), another hug container of steamed and baked bread, a few baked goods wrapped in the most precious of ways, and this was all delivered while singing Happy Birthday. It brought tears to my eyes and I was ebullient to say the least.
As the day went on, the festivities continued and I heard another knock on the door. I opened it up, stepped outside and saw a huge feast presented in front of me. Grilled meat, papa, chakalaka and cold drinks! As if the Birthday wagon and its goods earlier wasn’t enough, my family prepared a feast for my guests and me. I broke down into tears and couldn’t help but give huge Shanelley hugs to everyone in my family.
I am continually stunned and humbled by the generosity of Basotho. How can I leave this place? This was probably one of the most meaningful and precious birthday celebrations I have ever had in my twenty-four years of life. 🙂