Here in Swaziland, New Years or "Happy New Year" is the big holiday. Unlike in America, where Starbucks red cups and black Friday and cyber Monday (really...?) coalesce to create a perfect storm of consumerism, Christmas is more or less just another day here. Despite a celebration on my homestead, the 25th passed with no mention of Jingle Bells or Jesus...As kind of a Scrooge, I enjoyed this downplaying but found myself missing my Griswold-esque family and 5 Lesley Lane comforts.
Nonetheless, Christmas was an adventure! Some other volunteers and myself decided to go "camping" to the Ngwempisi Gorge, an absolutely stunning treehouse-like structure built into the rock face of a mountain, overlooking a river. The treehouse provided some shelter from the elements as well as bunk beds, a kitchen and running water. This was welcome to me, since my last camping experience was with Girl Scouts, and we were a little more "Troop Beverly Hills" than most. Between hiking among waterfalls, straight chillin' in a tree house, showering without a curtain on a precipice (also, the 'throne') and a little Swazi home brew, it was a most excellent time (thank God for the home brew, it made me not notice how soaked I was in my bunk during the rainstorm). I didn't take any photos, and even if I did it wouldn't have captured the beauty of it.
|Me and Rubes a little damp but ready for a Christmas Eve feast at Malendela's!|
|Shower/Bathroom on a cliff overlooking the gorge. No shower curtain or door needed.|
|This is where we hiked down and back from. Photo cred goes to Root!|
|Christmas cocktails. Mojitos. No boiling of water necessary.|
|Troop Beverly Hills or Troop 5658?|
|boCamara and a Delgrande. Merry Christmas!|
To a paraphrase from a recently-reread book, by "enjoying the process" we can be happy all the time, elongating the gratification that comes from getting a reward or even the moment right before it. This is something, among other things, I am trying to remember when things seem to go very wrong here. Which they do a lot. I hope the New Year will bring more realizations like this and less freaking out when things get hairy. Considering the New Year happens to be 2012, I will need to be calm when Patient Zero is confirmed. Just kidding....heh heh.
Random Swazi Fact of the Week: Fireworks are totally legal and they are sold everywhere. I am going to bring a bunch of them back to my homestead for the New Year, Gandalf-style...I am also going to try to use less Lord of the Rings references in the New Year....NOT. The Hobbit trailer is out people!