Where is the olive oil? And the beans? I thought to myself as I swam through Basotho and overflowing shopping carts in the busy grocery store. It was the last day of the month; next month’s salary had been deposited into Basotho banking accounts the day before so nearly every store in Maseru was crowded with shoppers. I needed to get a few items before heading back to village and was so focused on my mission that I nearly missed her.
Maseeng, my host sister.
She and her new husband were strolling the aisles when I practically knocked into them. I hadn’t seen her since the wedding and was so overjoyed to see her face that I screamed.
All we could say to each other is how much we missed each other, both of us nearly on the verge of tears. Our visit was short but meaningful. We promised to get in touch again, soon.
That night she called to make sure I arrived home safely. When I didn’t answer, she sent an SMS.
“I still care about u gal nd take (care) of urself. I luv you,” she wrote.
Maseeng and I’ve been sisters for six months, not even long enough to properly grow a child. We do not share the same blood, but that doesn’t matter. By every meaning of the word, she is my sister.
I do not see Maseeng daily anymore, but I know she is there, just like I know my real family is there whenever I need them. To be in that crowded store and searching through a sea of people as a giant foreign object, finding family in the midst is the greatest reassurance. When you can find family you know you are where you are supposed to be.