It is eleven hours since I last posted and I have to admit that I took a little time to relax today in the pool before the rain and thunder came and forced me inside.
While Canada is looking promising for a white Christmas, I am guaranteed to be pool and beach side. Just have to keep rubbing it in, sorry!!! Actually I am sitting here sweating because it is so hot. I just finished preparing my dinner which always makes my kitchen/study area extra warm. So there you see, there are downsides to the heat….but I will take it over snow any day.
Before preparing my meal, I was on skype with my parents for our Sunday visit. In talking to them and telling them about my week, I was reminded that I had some observations that I particularly wanted to share with some of my fellow tea drinkers. Having brought a stash of David’s Tea with me when I arrived(which has since depleted itself – help!!!), I was happy to find that tea is serious business here.
Botswana was once a British Protectorate and the First President was married to an English woman. This is the only explanation that I can make for how seriously this Country and citizens take the tea ritual. Starting off, Oscar didn’t even blink twice on my first day of work and I insisted on a kettle so I could make tea. In fact he promptly brought one from home for me to use which I did until one day when I plugged it in and fire came out the wall….I had to wait until an electrician came to fix the wiring in our kitchen.
I am certainly not the only one who needs a cup of tea to make it through the day. When ever you go for a meeting there is always an elaborate tea ritual. The ritual certainly gets more elaborate the higher up you are. Whenever I attend meetings at the Ministry (Canadian government pay attention) there are staff specifically employed to bring you tea. It usually arrives on a very nice tray and consists of both Five Roses (black tea) and Rooibos (thank heavens they have caffeine free or the country would suffer if I was forced to drink black tea). And there is ALWAYS a plate of biscuits (cookies as we refer to them in Canada).
When the tea tray arrives, almost every meeting comes screeching to a halt and no one settles until they have got their tea and biscuits. Often the battle for the biscuits are very competitive. Fortunately, I seldom ever eat the cookies, only if it is a very very long meeting and I am starving. However, others make a mad dash for their favourites. It is really very funny to watch.
The larger the meeting, the more fascinating the ritual is. When it is a large group of people and the meeting is all morning, afternoon or all day, tea break becomes sacrosanct. During these occasions the tea ritual is elevated to also include sandwiches and other types of snacks including juice and all so important biscuits. Trust me, I have learned from very personal experience that you do not mess with this ritual.
Never ever delay tea break so you can continue a presentation or discussion- if you do so it is at risk of your life – seriously!!!
NEVER, EVER think that you can save time and money by skipping the tea break at an all morning or afternoon meeting. I will not tell what happened when I witnessed this one. I just know that I will never ever suggest saving money by skipping tea break for anything that I might organize.
And never just offer tea without biscuits. Really people what are you thinking??????
To reinforce this I will end this post by telling you about my breakfast yesterday morning. I love Saturday mornings that allow me to get up and saunter across the death walk to Cafe Dijo for breakfast. This is a fantastic cafe located in the shopping complex almost directly across from where I live. It is frequented by locals and ex-pats equally and truly offers some of the best food around in a cafe environment. It opens early and closes at 4 pm on weekdays, 1 pm on Saturday and is closed all day Sunday. So I am very limited as to when I can actually go there with Saturday morning or lunch being my only opportunities.
Yesterday morning I headed off after a night of dancing and very little sleep to enjoy breakfast before I got into the whirlwind of activities planned for the day. After ordering French toast and real maple syrup along with camomile tea at the counter I went and sat outside in the courtyard that they have tables set up. Within a couple of minutes my pot of steaming hot camomile tea arrived for me to sip while I waited for my breakfast to be prepared. And there on the cup and saucer placed in front of me was also Cafe Dijo’s signature shortbread biscuit. Who cares if it is not even 8 am and maple syrup is on the way, I munched on the cookie while I sipped my tea and listened to the birds.
And that folks is the tea ritual here in Africa. Fortunately I have access to yummy Rooibos tea which comes from South Africa to drink while I wait desperately for my stock of David’s Tea to arrive. I have two shipments coming. One from my parents who promptly went and got some Organic Detox tea to send me when they heard my pitiful cries for mercy. They sent the package about five weeks ago.
The second shipment is a huge box which was ordered and shipped to the WUSC Ottawa Office – I have now co-opted about five other people to drinking David’s Tea. Our Regional Director and Country Director are in Ottawa and returning to Botswana mid to late week and are charged with the couriering of the David’s Tea package. I will likely be gone on my trip and won’t get my fix until I return just before New Years.
Oh well, at least I know some is coming. By the way, I made the mistake of looking on the David’s Tea website the other day and saw their newest addition – Mint Chocolate Rooibos!!!!! If there is anyone out there who loves me they will send me some. I know that it will take a month and half to get here but oh, I can tell that it will be worth the wait. Here is hoping that someone actually loves me!