Here in Botswana the holiday season or rather I should say, the whole month of December is called “Festive Season”. I wasn’t sure what that meant until I got to experience it first hand.
Starting with the last weekend of November everyone here started to party! Most noticeable for me was what was taking place just down the street from our house. At the top of our street is a bottle (liquor) store located in a mini mall with a large parking lot. What happens here at the end of every month is quite interesting. First, I will explain that everyone here is generally only paid once a month. That means that month end here is insane. There are incredibly long line-ups for everything: ATMs, gas stations, buying air time for cell phones, etc. I have learned to never shop unless critical at month end. And in December people are given an extra pay cheque called the “13” pay.
So month end also signals parties in the parking lot of the bottle stores. Yes, they buy their beer or whatever at the bottle store and then just stay put in the parking lot in very large crowds to drink it. So since the advent of December and Festive Season, there have been non stop parties in the parking lot and else where. As people kept pointing out to me yesterday, I have been out dancing every Friday night for about the last three weeks! Which is true and has made me very happy. I may not like Christmas but I love to dance so I am happy to leap on that bandwagon! Although I have to admit that I am starting to wear out from all of my non-stop activity. I am definitely going to need my vacation to just catch up on sleep and rest from participating in Festive Season activities.
Festive season also means that businesses, schools, etc close early so everyone can go home to their villages to be with family and basically just party. Schools closed the first week in December and will not re-open until mid-January. Businesses and non-profit organizations started closing last week and apparently by the end of this week Gaborone will be almost completely empty. Like everyone else, I too will be gone off on vacation. Even Tabuche will be leaving on December 22 to go to his home village with his daughter for the holidays. He will not be resting and partying like everyone else but working on his Father’s farm assisting him with what ever needs to be done. I told you, the man is a saint.
Even though I am not a fan of Christmas and it really could come and go without any attention from me, I have received some lovely Christmas presents. Jetske has been leaving lovely things in my apartment for the last week and I came home the other day to this beautiful decoration on my living room table.
There is also a stocking filled with goodies hanging on my bookcase/multi-media cabinet. I will open that when I come home on December 30th.
I also received this beautiful present from my parents which Jetske ensured was up where I could enjoy it everyday.
It reminds me of home and the lighthouses that I love so much. It gives me a little taste of home in Gaborone. Okay, even though it is only 8:30 am here on Sunday morning I need to get going because there is lots that I have to do today.