I spent most of last week traveling to Kanye, the village where my co-worker was from. It's the largest village in Botswana, about an hour from Gaborone. The drive there was beautiful. Gaborone is built essentially on a flat desert. The way to Kanye, however, is highlighted by rolling hills speckled with trees.
In Botswana, a "wake" lasts about a week, with prayers starting every evening. The deceased's family comes to his/her house from all over the country, staying in the house or camping outside. I attended the wake on Monday and Thursday. Friends and family gathered inside a small stone chapel. A reverend (the family belongs to the International Pentecostal Church, a southern Africa denomination of Christianity) led the prayers, but the part that stands out was the music. After each prayer, a choir made up of community members would sing, acapella, the most moving songs I've heard. I couldn't understand the language, but the passion, grief, and hope expressed was universal.
The same goes for the funeral. As a member of BONASO, I was asked to be a pallbearer. It was a little odd, because I had never done it before and I hardly knew this woman, but I was honoured to be a part of the service. The burial lasted about an hour and a half. It consisted of more singing and a few prayers. The entire process, from funeral to burial, went from 6 - 11am on Friday morning.
On a lighter note, last Sunday my roommates and I traveled to Mokolodi Game Reserve for the afternoon. We were on a guided safari for about 2 hours. We saw warthogs, different types of antelope (impala, hudu, etc), two young cheetahs, a giraffe, and four elephants. The elephants were bathing in a lake, mostly splashing each other and slapping their trunks on the water. It was fun to see such huge creatures act, pretty much, like babies.
I'm working on getting a website just for my Botswana pictures. I'll post it here when I get it set up.