I am indeed alive and well. December was such a busy month that I decided to take a holiday break from blogging and just enjoy the festive season. It would be a little unfair for me to completely ignore the events of December, when I was repeatedly reminded of how welcoming, kind, and open-hearted people are in this country.
At the beginning of December, just before the school let out for the summer holidays, I zoomed off for a short stop in Pretoria (PTA) and on to the Permaculture Design Course (PDC) near Johannesburg. The PDC rates its own post due to the complete awesomeness of the course and the people who came. Maybe even 2 posts! Let’s just say it was a game changer, for certain!
After the PDC, I went back to PTA to spend a few days in the First World with Tumi and her boyfriend P. We thoroughly enjoyed shopping for clothes and eating good food for a few days. I tried Ethiopian food for the first time, and I sincerely hope I never have to move to Ethiopia. Not my idea of delicious, but I would give it another try. After PC, I’ll pretty much try, eat, and convincingly pretend to enjoy ANY food offered.
After purchasing some new summer clothes (necessary after 1.5 years of handwashing) and stuffing myself with food, Tumi, P, and I parted ways for Christmas: Tumi to Cape Town, P back to the village, and me off to my wonderful friends near Rustenburg.
Again, my visit to Sue and cajun rates its own post, but as a quick recap, we went to Pilanesburg, heard both lions and monkeys while sitting in their yard (Africa!), make American style cookies, shared our Christmas and birthday traditions, ate lots of wonderful food, and talked a lot about plants. These are my permie friends, fyi.
I went back to PTA for just one night to meet up with Oratile, a PCV who lives nearish to me. I though I’d just see her and another PCV, but suddenly 8 other PCVs, one brother of a PCV, and I were all catching up over dinner! Ahhh PC life is awesome!
The next day Oratile and I woke up early to get to the first taxi to Vryburg. We got good seats and the kombi filled up quickly, and after several long, loud, bumpy, hot hours on the kombi, we got to Vryburg. We located the taxi to her village (there is exactly 1 per day), did some quick shopping, then set off on another long, hot, loud, and bumpy three hour ride to her village. A horde of children were waiting for us as we got off the taxi who quickly rushed to pick up all our bags and carry them off to Oratile’s room. A tiny girl who had to be no older than 7 or 8 picked up my massive hiking backpack and carried it away, no problems….whereas I had struggled with it.
Oratile’s village is strange because there are white people there. We both pretty much agree that Apartheid still exists in her village, and I’ll write more on it later. Sufficient to say that I had a wonderful birthday which included swimming outdoors, I snuggled with a baby warthog, and I celebrated the New Year at an 80s theme party with loud Afrikaans pop music sprinkled with several rounds of “Cotton Eyed Joe”.
Needless to say, Africa is a very strange place.
And now: welcome back to the Third World. The village welcomed me back by being out of food staples like eggs and potatoes. Considering I didn’t get to shop before I came back, it’s been an interesting week for food!