I had an incredible experience in Tshabo. It is beautiful, with rolling hills and grass and animals everywhere. The houses are all beautiful colors. Cows, chickens, goats, and dogs roam the hills. There were six puppies that were only a few weeks old in the house next door. It was rainy the entire time we were there, but it was also the best place possible for downpours, because it was still gorgeous—although the mud on my shoes was no fun. One night, I had to make a phone call at 11 o’clock at night. Afterwards, I stayed outside for a few minutes and I had never been in such complete, beautiful silence.
I had little siblings this time, too—and I adored them. One was six and another was 7 months. We also had a few young neighbors and cousins who were constantly in and out of the house. They were all adorable! My Xhosa isn’t very good, and neither was their English of course, but we were able to communicate through miming, and my partner and I just asked easy Xhosa questions frequently. We also had a sisi around our age, who was the nicest.
Our mama was also the most incredible woman. Even though we couldn’t communicate well always, we were always able to get the point across. She taught us so much Xhosa, how to cook fat cakes and steamed bread (Google them! Delicious!), and how to make beautiful beaded jewelry. She also gave us some on the first day. Mostly, she fed us so much delicious food Mama called us her twins, her children, and told us that even though we had different skin colors, we were made of the same heart and blood. She loved us like a mother does, even before we formed a connection. I will never, ever forget her.
Leaving Tshabo was so hard. It amazes me that I’ve had two such amazing homestay families. They welcomed me even before they knew me. I hope I can visit Tshabo during ISP (I know I can visit Langa easily!) or at least some time in the future. I miss it already. Don’t worry, I still prefer cities to the country always and forever, but just getting away was so lovely.