Anthony Schmiedeler: landscape

Lunch with Desiree

We arrived at the house, to be welcomed by Desiree’s mother. Our first impressions of the house fitted in with our expectation of a typica African shanty home. On walking through the front door, we were amazed to find that the interior completely contradicted our preconceptions. After being welcomed in and sitting down we discussed our lives back at home, in England. Desiree’s mother asked us questions, as she was keen to know more about us and where we were from. We then got a chance to ask her about her culture and her life. She gave us a good insight into her beliefs in Shangaan Prophets and Sanghoma (Witch Doctors). A thoroughly interesting subject and belief, albeit a bit difficult to grasp from our point of view. Desiree’s mother had prepared a traditional African Lunch for us consisting of Mopane Worms, Meile Pap, Cassava, Morogo (pumpkin leaves, crushed peanuts and peach leaves), with avocado and oranges for dessert. The boys jumped to the challenge of eating the worms and straight away started crunching like they were sweets; the girls were more reluctant. After lunch we were given photographs of their family to look at and we saw some of the traditional dress code. The students had purchased a gift for Desiree’s mother to say thank you. It was a kitchen utensil set which was much appreciated. Little did we know that her kitchen was so fully equipped! When leaving Desiree’s mother gave us some homegrown avocados to take home with us.

This was an experience of a lifetime, very enriching and gave us a good insight on traditional African family life.