One of my downfalls in this Basotho life is scheduling. A list of things that should be done by this time or the whole world may just fall apart.
But life in Africa doesn’t work like that. It moves in no particular direction without adhering to frivolous agendas, only to bring you exactly what you need.
One Friday I headed home from school to a free afternoon (school closes at 1 p.m. on Fridays). I wanted a quiet evening and was leaving the day before, so the floor needed sweeping, water fetching and dishes washing. I also hoped for a quick run and hair wash before nightfall. First, a nice lunch and reading/napping.
After my tummy was full and my eyes rested I woke up on schedule. Time to do the chores so I could get in that run. As I warmed water for the dishes I heard a knock on the door. It was my host brother, Thebe, and my friend, Malete.
I joined them outside and we traded “how are you”s and “what have you been up to”s. I hadn’t seen either in a while so I was surprised and delighted to see them at my door.
Not much longer after they appeared, so did Edgar, a villager who is around the same age as the other two, 23-24. The three of us chatted, me directing new questions at a different person and taking turns with each of them when the conversation lulled. They teased me about my poor Sesotho and then I rambled off a paragraph to try and impress them. I teased them, mostly Edgar, about having a crush one of my American friends and they asked me why I don’t have a boyfriend. “They are troublesome,” I said. I showed them pictures of other PCVs and my life back in America and Malete pulled out a few of his family. We traded opinions of American presidents and Thebe talked about his job encouraging people to vote in the May 26 election. We joked and chatted for nearly an hour before Malete needed to return to his home in a nearby village. We walked him about halfway before returning and each going our separate ways.
I went back into my house. My dishes still had crusty food remnants. My floor was still filthy. And that run was still not ran. Yet, I had a big smile. In a rare village moment, I felt like I had friends. We teased each other like old friends. We didn’t empty out the bag of conversation topics. We truly enjoyed each other’s company.
I often get annoyed when my schedule is disrupted. But that day it was a welcome change. It means so much more that clean dishes and floor and I need to remember that day more often. Sometimes if I just stop trying to dictate each second amazing things will happen.