A Long Awaited Vacation

Sorry for my absence for the past few weeks.  There are two good reasons: the demise of my blackberry, and the arrival of my DAD in South Africa!!  Dad came for about 8 days, and we managed to pack a LOT of stuff into those few days, which left no time for blogging.  I’ll probably write a few posts about our trip, so this one doesn’t

My host family.

My host family.

become insanely long.

Dad flew in on the 23rd of March, and I stopped by Spar in Hatfield to buy him a few Mountain Dews and hopped aboard the Gautrain to meet him at the airport.  I had to wait almost a whole 1.5 hrs for him to walk through the gate, and when he did, this was our conversation:

Dad: I have to go through customs.  Where is customs?

Jen: You just walked past customs.

Dad: No, I have to go through customs.  There was a sign.

Jen: Yeah, and the sign pointed to the counter and you walked through the exit.  Let’s go before they realize you skipped customs.

Dad: What?

The NEW tar road TO my village.

The NEW tar road TO my village.

Joburg customs is a joke.  We found our rental car, and I had a lot of fun watching him get used to driving a car where “everything is backwards”.  He did pretty well at staying on his side of the road….that day.  We made it to Pretoria before sunset, and grabbed some pizza at my favorite backpackers, Khayalethu.  He got to meet a TON of PCVs, many of whom were excited to meet him because meeting parents is just fun.  We hit the hay early for a long drive to my site the next day.

After a mishap with my new phone’s alarm, we started only about half an hour late, and I only got us a little bit lost.  Or drive was a little longer than expected because I was getting used to my new phone, and got us a little lost a few times, but not horribly lost.  In desperation we stopped at Wimpys for breakfast at around 10am.  I had forgotten how horrible Wimpys food is, and apparently had just gotten used to it.  They brought out the plates and Dad took one bite….then I remembered how awful the food really is.  His face was quite hilarious though.

Kids in the village.

Kids in the village.

100_1512After an uneventful drive….well uneventful for Africa which meant driving through an active construction zone….we made it to Vryburg, which Dad immediately announced as sketchy.  We stopped and bought an insane amount of groceries as we had a car, then I took over the wheel and drove to my village.  That was really exciting, to DRIVE into my village.  We had several conversations like this:

Dad: Now those, are those houses for animals?

Me: No, those are houses for people.

Dad: No, those short ones with the metal.  Those can’t possibly be people houses.

Me: Those are houses for people.

People Houses.

People Houses.

Soccer time.

Soccer time.

The Tuck Shop.

The Tuck Shop.

We stopped at my school, toured the garden, then I drove happily to my house, waving to my surprised host family.  Dad had fun meeting them, me acting as the translator, and giving them little gifts from America.  We went on a walk to the edge of my village, stopped by a soccer game, and went to the village shop to buy cold drink aka Coke.  Then I cooked up a dinner as he slept, then wandered around my yard asking too many questions and taking a ton of pictures.  It was a nice night in the village.  Of course, a rain storm blew in, knocked the power out, and we spent some time chatting by candle light.  He got the full African Village experience!  Some people pay money to do such things on holiday! 🙂

Kids who push the donkey carts to haul water.

Kids who push the donkey carts to haul water.

African Sunset.

African Sunset.

The next day was spent on an even longer drive back past Pretoria to Mpumalanga, but I managed to get us not-as-lost that time. The next stage of our trip was the typical African holiday experience.

-Jen

Advertisements

Week in Photos (01/01-12/01)

It was hot. Therefore umbrellas were needed while harvesting tomatoes.

It was hot. Therefore umbrellas were needed while harvesting tomatoes.

It’s been awhile since the last Week in Photos….here’s some backlog. Sorry!!
-Jen

School yard clean-up crew! Notice the lady working with a baby tied to her back!

School yard clean-up crew! Notice the lady working with a baby tied to her back!

Bathroom break-no worries! Just leave the newborn on the seat!

Bathroom break-no worries! Just leave the newborn on the seat!

Little gardener-adorable!

Little gardener-adorable!

Dexter. In Africa, people keep warthogs as pets, and let them sleep on the furniture.

Dexter. In Africa, people keep warthogs as pets, and let them sleep on the furniture.

Stopping by Bonolo’s Village

Nolie reading the the creche.

Nolie reading the the creche.

A few weeks ago, I was invited to host a workshop at another PCV’s school in the NorCape province. Since the workshop was to be Wed-Fri, I thought the weekend before would be a great time to visit another PCV who lives in the general area (aka province). So on Saturday, I hopped aboard the bus, visited Tsiamo in Ganyesa, had a hilarious encounter with a delightful Afrikaner family, caught a ride to Vryburg, then settled into the 3-4 hour ride to Nolie’s village.

After one of the most ridiculous bush taxi rides ever, I stumbled off the taxi in an oasis-like village. Nolie’s village has elevation, built along a ridge that once border a massive pond/lake, but which is now I dried up salt pan. There’s a cave there, though it was too hot to walk the 1.5 hours to), and bushveld which looks like a scene from the Lion King, which I pretty much have around my village. And there are lots of cool rocks, which my village certainly doesn’t have. It was nice to see a real NorCape village.

Bonolo’s village is a lot like mine in the sense that nobody speaks English. This is actually pretty rare in SA, and thankfully I know enough Setswana to handle this, after living in this reality for 1.5 years. Unlike my village, hers has cool rocks everywhere. I like rocks, can you tell? 🙂

Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes.

Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes.

I was spending 2 full days in her village, before heading to the next village for the workshop. On Sunday we thought we might walk to the cave, or into the veld a bit…until we realized how hot it was. We lazed around all day, watching movies and sweating. Hello summer! The next day, we headed off to the crèche around 9am, which is a preschool. Nolie was starting to read with them for 10-15 minutes everday, just to introduce them to English. After her inspiration, I am doing the same in Grades R-3 at my school. The crèche kids were adorable, as most 3-4 year olds singing and listening attentively are.

Mma Bonolo in English class.

Mma Bonolo in English class.

Helping learners answer some NS questions.

Helping learners answer some NS questions.

After we read and sang, we headed off to the school, just in time for Nolie’s classes. She’s a real teacher here, responsible for English and NS in her multigrade 6-7 class. She’s set a beautiful classroom, and her kids were pretty great, considering it was the first week of school. I took lots of photos that she could have of her teaching and in the classroom, and was impressed by how well she handled her class. I joined PC and found out I am NOT a teacher, but some people find out they are great teachers. Mma Bonolo is one such person, even if she hasn’t realized it.

I took some clippings from a few succulents in her garden to grow back in my village, and shared a few seeds I had along with me, as well as some tips for her garden counterpart. After school, the learners ran home to get their traditional clothes and did some great dances for me. I certainly felt like a guest of honor. All the kids seemed bummed to hear that I was leaving the next day, and I really hope to visit again.

Boys dancing.

Boys dancing.

The next morning I woke up early and found a taxi to Kuruman, ready for the workshop the next day! The first taxi I was in was the most full I’ve ever been in-the 14 person kombi has 24 people in it, only 2 of which were kids. Me, 4 adults, and a baby were shoved into the back seat. Thankfully we reshuffled about 20-30 minutes, and some people got out. Crazy!
-Jen

Follow me on Twitter here!

Or check out my other blog, Growing in Faith!

Girls dancing.

Girls dancing.

This boy was particularly awesome.

This boy was particularly awesome.

Week in Pictures: 11-13 to 11-18

I’m going to try to update each week with a post of photos, as I realize I am not always good at posting photos to my blog. So here is the first week of photos!

Little Grade R kiddos at their graduation-so cute!

Little Grade R kiddos at their graduation-so cute!

During a rainstorm the power went out, which is common. So I had a candlelight night.

During a rainstorm the power went out, which is common. So I had a candlelight night.

Another beautiful African sunset.

Another beautiful African sunset.

A goat uses the barbed wire fence to reach his dinner...smart animal!

A goat uses the barbed wire fence to reach his dinner…smart animal!

A nice shortcut on the way to school-not cool when the cows poo here though...

A nice shortcut on the way to school-not cool when the cows poo here though…

Headed off to school on a Friday. Wow my hair is getting long!! :)

Headed off to school on a Friday. Wow my hair is getting long!! 🙂