Tuesday, April 21, 2009

An American Easter in Zambia...

This Easter I decided that I wanted to share the American Easter tradition, of an egg hunt and candy from the Easter Bunny, with my Zambian family. I never realized how obnoxious the idea that a bunny would come in the middle of the nite, leave candy in a basket, and then have an Easter egg hunt until I started to share my idea with my sister. She was laughing at me. Just the thought that I was going to hide eggs in the bush was beyond them. And I have to say, I agree with them. Where did the tradition come from? Why do we hide perfectly good hard boiled eggs in the grass and wait for a bunny to come to our house and give us candy? No, really. Why?

Anyway, I decided to go along with the American tradition, since 2/3rds of Peace Corps is cross-culture! Jacqueline, my 14 year old sister, helped me boil the eggs on Good Friday. I had to ask for a bigger pot because I was boiling 45 eggs and my biggest pot could only hold half of that! On Saturday, we dyed the eggs. I thought for sure that I would end up with a very colorfully dyed reed mat but we had no major spills. Each kid got a cup of dye and they got to put the egg in the cup but didn't get to take it out, I figured that was way too much instruction for my limited Chitonga skills. We were successful in dying and now we got to decorate the faces of the eggs. The dye kit also came with fun hats to decorate the eggs, which the kids loved even more! Their egg looked like a person, and they had never even thought that was possible. By Saturday nite, the kids were ready to eat eggs and I had to yell at them several times that we were hunting and eating eggs tomorrow! Not today!

Easter Sunday! The kids were at my house super early, ready to play! I woke up at 6.30 in the morning to Joy, my littlest brother who is a year and a half, calling my name to get up. I woke up, made my coffee, and went to get the family when I was ready. Everyone (all 15 of them!) came over to my house dressed up for this American Easter celebration. I decided since hiding 45 eggs in my front yard would be a diaster, (for the obvious reasons, but especially since my dog has a bad habit of eating eggs) I decided to hid 8 eggs, one for each kid to find. Jacqueline and I hid the eggs while Eric, my oldest brother, locked the kids in my house so no one could peek. They were trying to peek out the windows and get a glimpse of where we may be hiding their treats! When Jacqueline and I were finished a few minutes later, we released the masses! They all came barreling out of my house and were ready to find their breakfast (oh I mean egg!)! It was just like an Easter egg hunt back home. Mass chaos: crying when the little ones couldn't find one, and fighting over an egg found at the same time. It was nice to see that no matter where you are in the world, kids are the same! I helped the last few girls find their eggs and we were ready for breakfast. We boiled and colored enough eggs for everyone to have 3 hard boiled eggs. And I think the first in Easter egg history happened, the kids actually ate the eggs! And loved it!!!!!
It was one of my favorite Easter celebrations that I can remember! It is amazing what 39,000 kwacha's worth of eggs and an Easter dying kit sent from Patty can do in Zambia! Thanks Patty!
From left to right: Nchimunya, Joy, Scotty, Sitemba, Jeanny, and Patricia all coloring their Easter eggs!
Scotty and Sitemba studying their eggs!

Winnie with her egg!

45 dyed Easter eggs!

Jeanny, in her Easter dress, and me in my pajamas!

The Sitemba Family!

Left to right, Back row: Turnwell, 21; Eric, 18; Wesley, 50; Sandra, 24; Winnie, 2

Middle Row: Jacqueline, 14; Nchimunya, 10; Sonia, 12; Sitemba, 7; Scotty, 8; Mary, 42; Joy, 1

Front row: Jeanny, 3; Patricia, 4


Nathan said...

Great post!

Hannah said...

Wow! It sounds like you had a lot of fun celebrating Easter. I am sure that it was great seeing the children's faces as they dyed the eggs and then went on the hunt.