African Hospitality Part 2

After a very long and full day attending the wedding in Masvingo and visiting Great Zimbabwe it was after 9 pm before I arrived back at the Dingwa household. I was welcomed with open arms and it seems that my arrival had been patiently waited for many several of the household occupants. First of all, Mr. T (Tim) would not go to bed until he saw me and had a chance to hang out. And Mrs Dingwa and Yolanda had a special meal ready to prepare for me.

During our visit the night before, Mrs Dingwa asked me many questions about Canada, my life there and what I enjoyed eating. I had casually mentioned that I missed seafood the most as it is not plentiful here in Botswana. I also told them that I really enjoyed brown rice. So guess what was prepared for me to eat that night at 9:30? Yes, seafood and brown rice.

I swear that I gained at least 5 kilos while staying with the Dingwas! I feel like I did nothing more than eat which is an important part of African culture. In fact,  here it is one of the primary ways of extending hospitality and it is incredibly rude to not eat or clean your plate! So for my visit I was a good guest and ate everything that was put in front of me except as a small eater I did commit the unpardonably offence of not always cleaning my plate. It was rather funny at times as both Mrs Dingwa and Yolanda would sound just like my mother telling me to finish my food 🙂

They were able to forgive however after I made Lawrence explain to them that when ever we dined together he always finishing my food for me! So at least they knew that I was willing to try all of the Zimbabwean dishes including Kapenta, a tiny dried fish that is served whole fried with onions and tomatoes. They are eaten with traditional staple meal called Isitshwala/sadza.

Interestingly enough when I described some of my favorite foods there was almost complete agreement among the Dingwas’ that they rather not try them. But I suspect if they visit Canada they will show the same respect for trying new foods as I did.

After being so thoroughly spoiled with meals being prepared for me even when I arrived home late, I think I need to find someone to cook for me more often 🙂

Girls Day out in Zimbabwe

My good friend Lawrence had decided that he wanted the two non-family females in his life to spend time together and bond so my Saturday entertainments in Zimbabwe were entrusted to Lawrence’s Zimbabwean girlfriend, Chenia.

So into her capable hands I was entrusted and the day’s activities were to include her cousin’s wedding ceremony, reception and a visit to the UNESCO World Heritage site, Great Zimbabwe. Accompanying us for the day would be her mother, Mrs. Hwehwe and two of her other beautiful daughters, Anesu & Kuda. In order to accommodate all of us passengers Lawrence also graciously allow us his lovely car to travel in.

Having been told to be ready to leave for the day by 7:00 am as we were travelling to  Masvingo for the wedding I was up bright and early at 6:00 am to bath in my cold water and get dressed. The early departure was necessitated by the fact that it is an approximately 3 hour drive from Gweru to Masvingo and the wedding was scheduled to begin at 10 am. 

One of the other cultural adjustments that I have had to make here in Africa is the flexibility in time. I try to be an extremely punctual person although ask poor Buche about the time that I left him waiting for me in the BONASO parking lot for 45 minutes because I simply was so busy that I had no idea what time it was. So generally I attempt to be ready in advance of when I need to be. However here in Africa when someone says they are picking you up at a certain time, that time can have flexibility of anywhere from 1/2 to hours later. You learn to take it in stride, trust me.

All of this to say, I was ready for the appointed time however our actual departure first from the Dingwa home and then from Gweru itself was slightly later than scheduled. Once on the road with Chenia driving her mother and sisters were kind and attentive pointing out landmarks and interesting sites, relating history or local culture and asking questions about me and life in Canada. All in all it was a very pleasant drive and uneventful until we reached Masvingo.

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Entering Masvingo it was necessary to gas up and grab some juice & water from a nearby shop. Following our stop, Chenia headed out of Masvingo for the wedding site, which ironically was named “Peter’s Lodge” located about a 30 minute drive past Masvingo on the way to Great Zimbabwe. Masvingo is a good sized city and there was a far amount of traffic entering and exiting the city on this Saturday morning. Unfortunately on our way out of the city we were involved in a minor fender bender leaving poor Lawrence’s lovely Mercedes front end rather sorry looking. Luckily other than damage to Lawrence’s car there were no other repercussions of the accidents other than I got to visit the Masvingo Police Station! and we ended up being significantly late for the wedding only arriving in time for the last twenty minutes of the actual ceremony.