Thursday, October 9, 2008

The Rural Areas!

We arrived home from the rural areas and Umfolozi game reserve yesterday afternoon. I had so much fun, and so much to tell about it, but I think that if I wrote about every little detail, my blog would be ridiculously long, so I think I'll start with a list of highlights from the past week and a half:
  • My homestay family which consisted of Gogo ("grandma" in Zulu), her32-year old daughter Gugu, and Gugu's 5 children: Lindo(14), Ntokozo(11),Cebo(9?), Sisi (6), and Sanele(5). We didn't realize until later the first night that Sisi was in fact, a girl (which makes sense because her name means "Sister"). It also took us a few days to figure out whether Cebo was a boy or a girl. He's a boy.
  • Gogo's amazing scones that she taught us how to make.
  • A traditional Zulu wedding gift ceremony complete with traditional Zulu attire. The bride and friends walked around with spears, and if they stuck them in the ground in front of you, you had to give the bride a gift and go dance with all the people.
  • The tractor ride to said wedding ceremony where we got splattered with mud and raced other tractors down the road.
  • Playing soccer and other games with my siblings
  • Visiting a South African prisoners as part of a rehabilitation program,and talking with prisoners, and playing one of the prisoner's guitar!
  • Going to a traditional court and meeting the Inkosi (chief)
  • Walking to the beach, climbing up sand dunes, and chasing crabs in the surf.
  • My gogo took some of my friends and me to the top of this small but spectacular canyon.
  • After a strange scratching noise on our window one night, Gogo slept in our room with us an brought a plastic gun in an effort to protect us from potential intruders. She also started telling us randomly before bed that life starts going downhill after age 20 (I guess I'm done for) and that we should get married by the time we're 26 or 27, but that married life is horrible. Awesome.
  • Visiting an orphanage and attempting to learn traditional Zulu dance from the children there.
  • Meeting an inyanga and an isangoma (traditional healers).
  • Creating a braai (bbq) with an old rusty wheelbarrow because we didn't have an actual grill.
  • Going to my Gogo's hometown for a 21st birthday party (very similar to the wedding gift ceremony). We trekked through the muddy roads wearing garbage bag skirts to protect our clothes from the rain, walked down to the highway, and hitchhiked to Gogo's town on a tractor-trailer. It was nuts.
  • The game drive and boat ride in Umfolozi where we saw a large variety of wild animals: Giraffes, Zebra, Impala, Water Buffalo, Rhinos, Buffalo,Warthogs, Hippos, Crocodiles, etc!
  • Getting an actual shower at the bush lodge after the rural homestay. It was glorious.
  • Going to the Albert Luthuli (former ANC president and Nobel Peace Prize winner) Museum and getting to meet one of his daughters who just happened to be visiting that day.

I wish I could go into so much more detail about things, because it was so much fun and I did so many wonderful things, but I think that my blog entry would go on for days. I'm really going to miss my rural homestay family, because they were a lot of fun, but I'm not going to miss having literally no personal space. I thought I would be ok with the whole personal space thing because of my counseling experiences, but at camp you can set boundaries and there's no language barrier to deal with. I'm also going to miss having showers (at least for another few weeks). I definitely will not miss the cement block pit latrine though. Or the cockroaches that were crawling all over it. Yuck. But overall, I had a really great experience and it was fun learning about a new culture! Tomorrow we're going on our rescheduled Durban walk, and then I have no idea what I'm going to do this weekend. I guess I'll update again on Monday at some point, but I better go work on my rural methodology paper at the moment. Sala kahle!

No comments: