I’m officially falling in love.
There are no other words to describe how I feel about the Basotho people. Sure, at first it was awkward, too many differences between us and too many uncomfortable lulls in the conversation. Like a first date, it was full of hopeful expectation and, yet, lacking in confidence.
Somewhere between Sunday and Monday, however, we moved past all the introductions and "how do you do’s" and became, well, friends. On Sunday we worshipped together for well over 2 hours in African Church. Even Masee did not let AIDS and hopelessness keep her from our date. She walked all the way from her home to the church building just so we could do a little dancing and singing at New Hope In Jesus Fellowship. Though it was her first time, she smiled when she said it won’t be her last.
This morning (Monday) we spent three hours playing cards, sipping tea and sharing life with Julia, Maria, Liana, Caroline, and Amanda (side note: though each child is given a tribal name at birth, they also use American-like names, which we appreciate!). We had a ridiculously good time, laughing and sharing like old friends.
In fact, I would say the thirteen of us and our Basotho neighbors are now more than friends. Putsi and Liana (Masee’s mom and neighbor) said just today, "We are family." My heart literally sings as I type those three words! I feel so full–so completely speechless–my chest might just burst from the fullness of my heart.
As several members of our group mentioned, the only cloud which threatened to overshadow the joy of today was the knowledge that Saturday is coming. The day we will leave. As we sat in Putsi’s home, sharing life stories and the reality of a God who loves us, the thought of leaving these dear families occurred to me, rallying a lump in my throat. I am smitten. How will I ever be able to say good-bye?
Joy won the moment, however, as we refused to allow what is bound to come spoil today. At least for now. Saturday is coming, but for today there is still much loving and living to be done. And a few more family memories to be made.