Yesterday was a very eventful finish to our last day with our homestay buddies. After sleeping in until about 9 o’ clock, I began the day with morning tea. Malik, Ycar, and their homestays stopped by as we were finishing our tea and we spent the next hour reading some Sports Illustrated magazines. A good amount of time was spent explaining baseball and American football to our hosts, as they saw the latter as being too similar to rugby. Ice hockey was even harder, as they didn’t really understand the idea of skating on ice. Luckily they were somewhat familiar with basketball, which I was able to compare with netball, a popular sport at the school which involves shooting a ball into a hoop.
Soon after Malik and Ycar departed a photographer arrived at my homestay’s house. My host and his family, all dressed up, took me outside for some pictures with all the aunts, uncles, siblings, and grandparents. It was a pretty exciting for everyone, although I had to be in every shot. At the end of the photo shoot my family gave me a small woven basket as a gift. I felt kind of guilty for not having a gift to give them as a thank you for putting up with me. Especially since I had been sick the first night, and had probably given them a scare. After putting away the basket, my host and I went to pick up Malik to go on a journey into town.
We took a short walk over to the local pool table, but had to wait for the owner to arrive. During our wait we were approached by a heavily intoxicated man. He proceeded to tell me his guidelines to success and the importance of expressing oneself, while my homestay stifled his laughter. Finally the owner of the pool table arrived and I was able to get away. Some people came over to watch the mzumgus play and sadly we didn’t play well. The owner schooled Malik and me separately before we were able to leave for lunch. My new drunken friend followed us part of the way home before deciding to go get another drink.
After lunch we began the real journey of the day. From my homestay house, we started traveling the 10 km to Eddie’s house. Along the way we picked up Malik, Christina, Ycar, Atiba, and finally Peter. We had grown into a full gang by the time we reached Peter’s house and we stopped to rest and take some more family photos. Soon after, we continued on our search for Eddie, taking a “short cut” up and down multiple hills. The terrain was getting pretty rigorous but we kept on trucking. A cow on its way home joined our group, but no one was brave enough to ride it the rest of the way. Finally, we made it to Eddie, whom we found decapitating a live chicken. However, our journey was not over; Our final destination was one of the tallest hills around. We almost made it unscathed but a man stopped us in our tracks. He proceeded to explain that the land we were on was private and demanded that we introduce ourselves. We didn’t get a chance, though, because he continued to yell at us for trespassing and throwing rocks at his cows (an untrue claim). Most of his anger was directed at us, the foreigners, even though we had NO idea where we were going and had not seen any PRIVATE PROPERTY signs. Eventually he stopped with the scolding and permitted us to continue to the top of the hill. It was worth it. The view was amazing; we could see for miles and the setting sun made the view even more beautiful. Many pictures were taken of both the group and the view, and our expedition finally came to a close. It was an awesome way to end our homestays and a day I’ll never forget.
That was yesterday, Saturday, which Jacob wrote about. Today, Sunday, the Groton students brought their Bishop’s hosts to gather at the opulent Jim’s House and then pack into vans for a day trip to see a spectacular water fall and the hydroelectric generator that uses some of its power (as you can probably tell, the pictures attached to this post are all from today). At the end of the day, Jim’s House reverberated with high-energy stories about the student’s home stay experiences. I’m sure everyone is glad to be back to running water and electricity, but I’m sure the experiences they had with their hosts will not soon be forgotten.
– D. Prockop