This year, for the first time in my life I had the opportunity to spend Eid in an entirely foreign pace amongst unfamiliar faces. Eid is a celebration following Ramadan, a month in which Muslims across the globe fast from dawn to dask in an effort to become closer to God by giving up certain desires. After a month of fasting, Eid serves as a happy celebration marking the completion of Ramadan.
Initially, we were concerned that the small Muslim population in Botswana would present difficulties in finding a place to have celebrate Eid. However, it did not take long to find a close knot Muslim community just next door to the University of Botswana, where our classes were held. Across the street from the University is one of the four mosques in Botswana, Jamia Mosque.
We arrived at the mosque for Eid Prayer at 8:00 am in the morning. Following this we began prayer at 8:30 and left the mosque around 9:30 am. The universal prayer dismissed any sense of displacement that we felt. It was very similar to Eid celebrations within our hometowns. All of the people were very welcoming, and as English is the language used in lectures, we had no difficulty understanding the content of the sermons.
Later in the day we returned to our hotel, Oasis Motel, where it just so happened that the Muslim community was hosting an Eid celebration and lunch. Much of the Indian/Pakistani community was present at the event and much of the food served was Indian/Pakistani. Following lunch many of the ladies participated in a sangeet, where they sang traditional songs. This is typically something you find at an Eid celebration. Similarly, in Madison, Eid celebrations are often followed by a brunch at an open house where the Muslim community can get together to celebrate.
Although celebrating Ramadan and Eid was initially a concern for us, we quickly assimilated into the community thanks to the very friendly and polite people of Botswana! Eid was a great time this year and I am very happy to have experienced it in Gaborone.