Fans of the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency rejoice! Patienec Ramotswe has written you a letter to enjoy as you prepare for the holidays.
Dear Friend of the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency,
I am sitting here at my desk in the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency in Botswana wondering what I should write to all the kind people who follow what happens in my office. I could simply write a message of good wishes for the end of the year, but I think that would be too brief. And yet if I told you everything that has happened here, then it would be far too long. So I shall content myself with giving you a bit of the news and leaving the rest to be written in the next book about me and my colleague, Mma Makutsi (97 percent in the final examinations of the Botswana Secretarial College).
It has been a busy year, although this is the year that I took a bit of a holiday. If you have read The Woman Who Walked in Sunshine, you will know what happened during that holiday. All I can say is that if you decide to take a holiday, then try to keep away from the office. I shall do that next time, although I am not sure if I really need another holiday—perhaps not.
Of course this time of the year in Botswana it is very hot. The heat builds up in these months and it remains there, in the air, like a heavy hand on your head. Then the rains come and it cools down. The land begins to breathe once more and even the Kalahari becomes green again. It is a good time for the cattle, who love the sweet grass that grows immediately after the rains.
Some of you live in places where December and January are very cold. I am sorry that the sun is so far away from you at this time of the year, but remember that it will return before too long, and then you will be warm again. And I think it helps to remind yourself, when cold, that you will not be cold forever.
This is a time when people give one another presents. I am very much in favor of giving people presents, as the message behind every present is one of affection and friendship. I am planning to give Mma Makutsi a voucher for a shoe shop. I went into a shoe shop I know and asked them whether they would make out a voucher for her to exchange for a pair of shoes. They said they would, but when they gave me the cost I was very surprised, as that shop sells only fashionable shoes—just the sort of shoes that Mma Makutsi likes. So I asked them to make the voucher out for only one shoe, and then she can pay for the other shoe herself. I am sure that she will be happy with that, as she will end up getting a pair for the price of one, and Mma Makutsi is always keen on a bargain. Mma Makutsi usually gives me a handkerchief for Christmas. She buys a simple white handkerchief and then sews my initials on it. I like these handkerchiefs very much and have six of them at home.
Mr J.L.B. Matekoni and I will enjoy a lunch on Christmas Day. We shall have the children with us, and there will also be two aunts of his and three cousins of mine. It is good to be together at this time of the year and to remember how much we love our family and our friends, and of course how much we love Botswana, that good country that is a place of peace in a world that is sometimes very troubled and sad. I wish for you some of the peace that we enjoy here in Botswana. I wish for you the love that we feel for those with whom we make our journey through life. I wish for you the warm breath of cattle, the cool kiss of the wind, the blessing of the sky above. That is what I wish for you, my dear friends, my brothers and my sisters.