Vryburg, My Shopping Town

In SA, PCVs are grouped into (usually) groups of 5-8 around a shopping town. Over the next two years, I can travel to my shopping town whenever (not during school hours) without taking a vacation day. And all of us PCVs have the chance to meet up and have a good meal at a restaurant in our shopping town whenever. The main function of a shopping town is to be a place where I can buy all manner of groceries, clothes, and other such necessities of life that I cannot find in my village.

From what I hear from other PCVs, the Vryburg 7 kinda got the crappy deal in shopping towns. I mean, some people have Kimberly, Kuruman, or even Pretoria as their shopping town! I would like to describe Vryburg to my friends and family from home, so be prepared for Iowa references.

Having Vryburg as a shopping town is a little like going to the Ottumwa mall to do your back to school shopping-the only people who do that are people who live in tiny towns near Ottumwa and think the mall is impressive. 🙂 Vryburg has many shops and several grocery stores, but everything is located essentially on one street, over the span of 4 blocks or so. On one hand this is nice, as I can’t get lost. One the other hand, now that I have explored the shops and whatnot, I am realizing how little variety there is. It reminds me of a small Iowa town, like Sigourney or Blakesburg, just with more shops.

Vryburg has several good restaurants, including KFC, Wimpys, Steers, and Spur. It’s a nice place to get a good burger, but in all reality the “fine dining” is barely above fast food. We have no stores like Game (Walmart) or Checkers, and forget about any movie theatres! While I can get everything I need in Vryburg, it is not a very entertaining destination. Unless you go to eat lunch with other PCVs, there’s not much to do. Given that a lot of shopping towns have malls and interesting things to do, this is kinda a bummer. Though I’m curious what some of the shopping towns in Limpopo are like (Kelsey, thoughts?).

I do save more money by having nothing to do in my shopping town though-a plus for when vacation times comes in December! Bungee jump? Oh yeah!!

I am lucky because Ganyesa is about 40km away, and it has a Shoprite grocery store, a PEP (clothes, housewares) and several other shops and an incredible restaurant at a Guest Lodge (hotel). It’s closer than Vryburg, my real shopping town, and convenient. Plus another PCV lives there, so I can hang out with volunteers there too.

-Jen

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About Jen Lamos

Christ follower. Writer. Permaculturist. RPCV. Photographer. Gardener. Keeper of Chickens. Daughter of God.

2 thoughts on “Vryburg, My Shopping Town

  1. Haha you totally knew that I’d read this and have input. Vryburg sounds pretty much like Giyani and Thohoyandou, the main shopping towns for Tsonga and Venda folks. Maybe a bit smaller, but still nothing to do but buy groceries and go to Wimpy’s. Louis Trichardt is the other shopping town up here, it’s a pretty nice Afrikaaner farming town so there are more restaurants and even a Game. Don’t think there’s a movie theater. Can’t speak for southern Limpopo but it sounds like your shopping town is typical for PC/SA and the other Setswana-speakers just lucked out.

    A big advantage to having a small shopping town is that the people get to know you much more quickly, though. 🙂

    • Good to know Vryburg isn’t the only small shopping town! And yes, I knew you’d have something to say! 🙂

      And since Vryburg has a huge Afrikaner population, I don’t stick out as much. Thus less people know us Vryburg 7 PCVs. But I get to practice some greeting in Afrikaans a lot, and hoe to tell people I don’t speak it! 🙂

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