Day one: Registration at Umhlanga

Today started early at 4:45 a.m. because we were told to meet the bus taking us to Ludzidzini at 6 a.m.

I asked my sisi for us to leave at 5:50 a.m. to walk to school so that we could be on time. When transportation is involved, I really like to be early.

We finally left the house at 6:20 a.m. (sisi lost her phone) and arrived at school to only a couple other girls.

We heard rumors of the actual pick-up time being 8 a.m. I read until I went to the bathroom and repacked my bag just before the top of the hour.

By the time 9:45 a.m. rolled around, I had drunk half my water and eaten my snacks. I thought I would be on my way home by this time and we still had not left.

I walked home for more food and water and to leave a few of my layers behind. By the time I got back to the school everyone was loaded in flat bed trucks and I panicked. Riding in the back of a truck is a sure-fire way to get fired from the Peace Corps in Swaziland. Fortunately, I was allowed into the cab.

We headed away from town, eventually stopping at the inkhundla building in the next community. I can’t figure out the purpose of that stop. We dropped no one off and picked no one up.

Finally, we went up to our umphakatsi where we moved to a bus with the rest of the girls from my chiefdom who are not from my community. After a quick ride to Ludzidzini, we sang and marched before waiting for our turn to register.

One of the guards sang a wedding song about being white (meaning pure, in this song, rather than skin color) when she saw me. After registering, another elder asked for my name and apparently made a profession of love that I missed (I told my group about my game where I guess how many marriage proposals and professions of love I will receive on a given day, which they think is hysterical. They are counting for me, because like this one, I do not always understand the ones in siSwati).

We had to pass a singing and dancing test to register. We passed those parts but the testers were disappointed that not everyone was in a traditional outfit.

After being dismissed, we walked to the tents set up for sleeping. They picked out a location and we sat around for a time. Eventually we decided to check out the shops coming to life in Lobamba selling everything an imbali may have forgotten to bring to Umhlanga and lots of things she doesn’t need. Like short shorts and swimsuits. Neither are cultural-event appropriate. We also posed for a photo for some tourists and declined all the other requests.

Finally I headed home with five proposals, which was my guess. I am anticipating more tomorrow.

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1 Response to Day one: Registration at Umhlanga

  1. Pingback: Day seven: Dancing time | travelin' the globe

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