Easter in Gaborone!

Programs for this blog post

Community Public Health

Authored By:

Jasmine M.

Although my family at home in the States doesn’t normally do anything special for Easter, celebrating the holiday with my new family here in Gaborone was a weekend to remember. With both Friday and Monday off from classes, it was a long weekend filled with good food, lots of laughs, fun with the family, and a much-needed break from UB.

My host family in Gaborone consists of my host mother, two host sisters, their three sons, as well as a large extended family of cousins, uncles, and aunties who frequently visit. Although I was initially taken aback when they introduced me to strangers in Choppies as their “sister” and “daughter” on my very first day in Botswana, after 2.5 months my place within their family is something I have come to embrace. Family is important in Botswana culture, and my Botswana family’s generosity, genuine kindness, and openness to teaching me about Botswana culture – from teaching me how to cook pap to letting me babysit the kids – has shaped my time in Gaborone for the better.

My family approached the Easter holiday as the perfect excuse for multiple family gatherings, as well as an opportunity to expose me and another American exchange student, Bri, to new facets of Botswana culture.

All three boys and Bri came to stay for the whole weekend, filling the house with noise and fun and slight chaos. Ngkuku (or grandma) arranged an Easter egg hunt for the kids – even now some of the candy was hidden so well no one can find it! Bri and I set up a makeshift basketball court in the front of the house using large kitchen pots as hoops. We spent the whole day relaxing with the family outside, drinking wine, playing with the kids, and eating some of my favorite Botswana food – bogobe (porridge made from ground sorghum), morogo (similar to collard greens or spinach), and chicken feet!

Sunday, we all piled into the car – that is, two adults, two American girls, three kids, two dogs, and two fully cooked chickens – and headed just outside of the city to spend the day at the farm. After driving past Tlokweng, we turned and headed down a dirt road through the bush. At the farm, it was amazing how quiet it was – the only noise was the shouting of the kids, the grunting of the pigs, and the screams of the ducks. Although Gaborone certainly doesn’t feel like New York City, spending time at the farm was a nice break from the traffic, crowds, and everyday bustle of the city. Bri and I even got to learn how to braai (or BBQ) beef, which we ate with samp (maize porridge) – the absolute best Botswana meal!

Easter weekend was more than a chance to take a breather from classes, but a great opportunity to become closer with the lovely family who has opened their home to me this semester!