Sunday, July 27, 2008

The Start of My Day

So my morning started off like all others, except that I got up and took an elephant for a walk. Really. I SO played tourist this morning and went to this elephant sanctuary and took a 13 year old female elephant for a walk. I got to feed her sweet potatoes too. I really laughed the whole time because I couldn't believe how cheesy this was. I'm in Africa, paying to walk an elephant through the woods. I really did enjoy it though, cheese and all.

I am staying at THE most amazing backpackers ever. I'm in Nature's Valley staying at the Wild Tongue backpackers. This place is in the middle of nowhere. It's on a farm on top of this hill where you can see forever. Tons of hiking trails, which I got lost on one this afternoon and got a little freaked for a bit but found my way out. The kitchen seems like it's in a tree house. Under one of the stoves it is open to the ground and the barbecue, or braii, pit is in this cove surrounded by driftwood. Tons of artwork and great lights. There's even a fire inside so last night I got a bit of warmth. Why do South African's not have heat??? That has been my biggest question here! I keep thinking I am in Fraggle Rock at this place. It's its own little world. Met a great young German couple too that I've been able to hang with a bit.

Someone just told me I need to talk more on here about myself, thanks Miklosh! I'm good. Been reading a lot which isn't like me at all. I've read the autobiography of Nelson Mandella, the abridged version, and Eat, Pray, Love-great book for anyone looking for something to read. Just started on The Shack this morning. Heard great things about it. It's been good having time to read and just be. I am looking forward to coming home and celebrating Scouts first birthday though! Then over to Idaho to take care of Rebecca and her ever expanding belly. South Africa isn't much of what I expected. It's been great and I really love it here, don't get me wrong, but maybe it's that I'm really learning, as I feel God has been trying to teach me the past couple years, that it's good to have people in your life. Travelling is great and I love everywhere that I have been and I really look forward to doing more, but hopefully with someone and with friends more (like South America in December!!!). Someday...

Well I'll work on more personal things, but for now the sun is going down which means I need to put on about four more layers of clothes! Until next time...

Friday, July 25, 2008

Rastas, Monkeys and Crocodile Salad

I am now in Knysna, about 40 minutes from Wilderness, my last stop. I'm staying at this backpackers that my not be the cleanest but they offer lots to do and it's not very crowded so I actually have a room to myself which is really nice. Yesterday I took a tour of the townships here and we visited a traditional healer and a Rastafarian community. The healer was interesting because she doesn't just focus on spells and chants and herbs, but if you come to her sick, she'll take a look at the conditions you live in and if you are living in a pit, she'll tell you that the reason you are sick is because of the conditions you live in and you'll get better when you stop living like a pig. That was really encouraging for me to see. The most interesting thing of the day though, was the Rastafarians. Wow. It really was like in the movies. Ire this, rasta that. Green red and gold everywhere, and the weed. Yes, the weed was abundant. There was a celebration going on so everyone was all geared up for that. For those of you wondering, no, I did not partake in smoking weed. It is still illegal here. They really are a great group though. Oh, and the dread locks were like none I have seen before. Everyone has them. "Let your locks flow free" is what they would say.
Today I went kayaking down a river here in Knysna. Such a relaxing morning! There was one area that had a bunch of monkeys playing on the shore and in the trees. Tons of birds and fish. I was hoping to see a baboon but no such luck. We could hear them but never saw them. So much of the river reminded me of the river up to Shoshone. Really beautiful! I was the only one on the tour so it was even more relaxing. Yesterday with the township tour there was a large group of students from New York who are also staying at the same backpackers who went on the tour. They are a nice bunch, but young. I had lunch today with one of their leaders. I went to a South African restaurant and she walked in. So nice to eat with someone else! I had a crocodile sald. Tough meat, but it was good. Tomorrow I'll head a little further up the coast. You should hear from me again there!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Flying solo

Just started the first leg of my solo part of my trip. I'm in Wilderness at Fairy Knowes backpackers. The baz bus works great for anyone traveling to South Africa. Cute backpackers. Back in the woods. Nice walk to town, I think. Haven't done it yet but it looks like that is going to be my excitement for the night.
Mampho and Henry got married!!! Beautiful wedding. Still can't get pictures on here yet but I'll keep trying. Mampho looked amazing. The reception was in Stellenbosch at a vineyard. Really beautiful. So Sarah, me, the only white person in the wedding party, can't dance. Enough said. After the wedding I left with Katherine and Lauren, Mercy Ships friends, and stayed with Katherine for the past few days. She did a great job showing me around Cape Town. We went out to Cape Point, the southern most tip of Africa where the Atlantic and Indian Oceans meet. Absolutely beautiful! The clouds parted and made for a really nice day. Oh, on the way home we stopped at this beach that was full of penguines! You could walk right up to them. They stunk, but they were great! Yesterday we tried going up Table Mountain but the cloud cover was too great and they closed the cable car. Bummer. Maybe when I get back to Cape Town. Visited the botanical gardens and the waterfront instead.
So, yes, I am still alive. Tomorrow I head to Knysna for a couple days. Hopefully I'll have better stories then...

Friday, July 18, 2008

Wedding Preperations

Yesterday Henry's mother, auntie and brother arrived from Nigeria. Mampho's family had their welcoming ceremony for them which started with the slaughtering of a sheep. It is custom for the Xhosa people to give a sheep to the family of the in-laws as a welcoming into their family. It was a really great ceremony and sign of true welcoming and acceptance into their family. After the sheep, the African beer, mqombothi, was consumed. It's the home made fermented beer. You pass the common cup and drink it down on one knee out of respect for the family and ancestors. From there, there was singing and dancing and laughing well into the night. After the sheep was cooked, they then cook the intestines and organs and everyone digs in. I tried a bit of the stomach, after a bit of pressure, and that was really all I could take. I'm glad everyone else loved it! I was just being a good guest and allowing others to enjoy!!! Right now Mampho is getting the first step of her hair done. I have to say, I have never realized how much trouble it is for my black friends and their hair! Mampho keeps telling me beauty takes pain, but wow! So tomorrow is the wedding and then I'll be spending a couple days with another good friend here in Cape Town before heading up the coast. Hopefully it will warm up a bit before I take off on my safari!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Feeling better in the Cape

Hello all. Back to the life of the living. Almost. Feeling better at least. Still can't hear much though. Saw a pharmacist today and he thinks that since I was so congested during the flights that my ears got wet inside and that is what is making me not hear. I got some pills that he thinks will help to dry them up so in seven days we'll see if he is right.
Mampho and Henry are great! It has been great spending time with them both before the wedding. We were all staying in Strand but Mampho and I are moving back to her mother's place in Langa tonight. Had a wonderful lunch with Lauren Bluck, Katherine Spindler and Mampho and Henry. A small Mercy Ships reunion. SO great to see old Mercy Ships friends! Katherine is graciously letting me stay with her for a bit after the wedding before I start my travels up the coast. I haven't been able to see much of South Africa yet because of all the wedding plans, but I know the time will come and I will try to put pictures on as soon as I take some and figure out how to do that.
I hope you are all well! Please continue to pray for my health!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

I've made it to Cape Town!

Hello all! So I made it safely here without too much hassle. My second flight was interesting to love those announcements about any medical personnel on flight. Long story short, woman had a DVT and probably a PE, for those medical friends out there, and so they moved me and her to first class so I could stay with her all night. Long night but we all made it safely here. So here I am, in Cape Town, South Africa, feeling awful. Completely have the camp crud that everyone got at Mt. Cross before I left. I really feel not so great. Please pray that this passes very quickly and my ears finally pop so I can actually hear my friends! Really, that is it. Trying to sleep it all off. I need to go back to bed, but I love you all!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

It's time to move on...

AYE! Here I go again. I got back to Vaughn two days ago, unpacked from six weeks at camp and now I am off to South Africa for four weeks. I can't believe I am packed. You would think that after four years of moving so much that I would learn how to pack light. Not so much. Oh well. At least I am prepared. Just wanted to post one more post before I left. I'm going to try to keep this updated throughout my trip so you all know I am alive and well. Please pray for my health as I still don't feel all that great and I'm going into 26 hours of traveling! When I left camp I brought the camp crud with me. To all of you from Mt. Cross, don't share water bottles, wash your hands, get plenty of rest and drink tons of water!!! Oh, I miss you all! That is all for now. I'll be checking my e-mail too while I am gone. Keep me posted on your lives!