Notes from underground

يارب يسوع المسيح ابن اللّه الحيّ إرحمني أنا الخاطئ

That was the weekend that was

It was the Western Easter weekend, but for us today was the second Sunday in Lent, when we recall St Gregory Palamas. Friday was the Feast of the Annunciation, and perhaps an opportunity to go to the Divine Liturgy on a public holiday, when traffic was lighter, but we had been invited to join our hosts at Atteridgeville, the African Orthodox Church at their Good Friday service, so we did. We contributed the singing of the Third Stsis of the Lamentation, which are part of Holy Saturday Matins in the Orthodox Church (sung on Goof Friday evening by anticipation).

And on Sunday we joined the Malahlela family in Mamelodi, where half the people were away for the weekend.

We go there every second Sunday, and it occurred to me that the Malahlela family are the people we see most outside the home, apart from our immediate family. Most other contact with people is via the Internet, rather than face to face, and that was one of the things we talked about. In Mamelodi you can go outside in the street, and you will see people. People are walking around, and you can see and meet your neighbours. In Kilner Park, where we live, you can walk all the way round the block and not see a soul, just hear different dogs barking as you pass the houses where they live. This came up in converstion because they asked when our daughter Bridget might come home from Greece. And we said there wouldn’t be much for her to do here. Athens is more like Mamelodi, where you can see people, and has a good public transport system, so there are places to go.

The Malahlela family and visitors, Mamelodi /east, Sunday 27 March 2016

The Malahlela family and visitors, Mamelodi /east, Sunday 27 March 2016

While we were having tea Grace Malahlela’s sister arrived, and then daughter Hellen and her children came back from wherever they had been, with loads of luggage. Since all sorts of people were there now, it was time to take a picture.

During the service there had been lots of noise from the next-door neighbours. They had a tent and lots of visitors, and periodical beating of drums and much noise. Grace sang louder than usual, perhaps to ward off the competition. Afterwards I asked what it was, a funeral perhaps, or a memorial for the dead. No, Grace said that the daughter of the house, who was about 15, was becoming a sangoma.

We come home and resume out everday occupations, family history research, and , in my case, also editing a doctoral thesis. Simon ios composing computer games, and Jethro is relaxing after a busy week at work, as a service advisor for LandRover.

That was the weekend that was. Tomorrow is also a public holiday, but it probably won’t be much  different, and, now that Val and I are both retired, neither will the rest of the week. The lawn needs cutting.

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