Blog Week: 23-29 November 2008
It has been our last week in
Paul, Brett, and I (Eppie) focused on the evolution of the education system in
Thanksgiving was a time of unusually familiar sounds and smells. A day that started like any other, with overcrowded bathrooms, coffee, and sleep-crusted eyes, quickly picked up into a festive flurry. Without knowing how it had happened, I (John) began to notice from behind my heavy but slowly opening eyelids a house covered with brown and beige balloons, hand-made signs, personalized hand turkeys, and other implements of nostalgic celebration. I found myself in the kitchen fighting sweet potatoes for several more hours than I had planned, and can testify to the miraculous way the CGE student family suddenly fell into the various familiar holiday roles. I guess, no matter where a person is, he or she will find times to recreate the old comforts of home.
I was admittedly somewhat conflicted about the feast idea at first, and still am in some respects. It wouldn’t have taken a very long taxi ride to get to the heart of the bitterest poverty in the city, and we were in
Yet any ethic of frugality needs room for festivity. And as we sat together around a common table—students, professors, and staff laughing and remembering stories—I became convinced that this celebration could fit into the model of a “festive frugality.” And if the way the meal went wasn’t enough evidence of that, it became clear when professors and house staff began to stand up, one by one, and express their thanks for the food and for the great semester before their (often teary) goodbyes. And I realized that this wasn’t just blind consumption of huge mounds of food—this was ubuntu, the celebratory community reflective of the tight communities in Katutura from which we have learned so much.
Knowing that this was our last week in
1: Paul, Brett, and Eppie rehearsing !nona.
2: Brittany, Michelle, and Alana fast at work cooking Thanksgiving morning.
3: CGE staff and students coming together to celebrate Thanksgiving together.
4: Packing up for the long haul to the airport – one last goodbye to the staff and the house.