Friday, March 9, 2012

TIA. (This is Africa)

WHAT A DAY.  It began, as all Fridays (and Mondays) do, at Lynedoch Primary School, for my LSCE (Learning for Sustainable Community Engagement) course.  Fridays are our theory days, so we sit together with our instructor, Grant, and grow together in our understanding of community development work.  I truly feel like I’m learning lessons that I can apply to the rest of my life, which is a great feeling to have.  Today Grant had us do something a little different for awhile – wash windows!  We did it the “South African way” according to Grant, and used newspapers dipped in water, which it worked surprisingly well!  We had a blast, blaring music and dancing while we cleaned.  Our group shares so much with each other, so many deep insights into South Africa and our respective home countries, and into other topics, that it’s really great to just get to goof off together.  I’m glad we have such an interesting and FUN group! It also felt good to give back to the school in a way that is more tangible than teaching.

We left Lynedoch at about 4:20 to catch our train home.  We boarded the train and sat on it for about a half hour, just waiting at the station, and no one was sure what was going on.  Finally, after what felt like forever, the train started moving, and we soon pulled into Vlottenberg, the station between Lynedoch and Stellenbosch.  We again sat in the station, not moving, for a very long time.  Corie and I decided to break into the leftovers from our lunch – chicken pot pie and rice.  We were using our fingers, and I offered some to the man sitting next to me.  In America he would have been repulsed, but TIA ('This is Africa' if you didn't notice the title), so he shared our impromptu meal with us!  He definitely showed us up with the finger eating.  I didn’t quite catch his name, but he was from Zimbabwe, and very nice.  I love making train friends!

Suddenly everyone was in a tizzy, and we asked someone what was going on.  “This train’s heading to Cape Town now, get off!” they yelled.  Since Cape Town is in the complete opposite direction of Stellenbosch, we hustled off the train.  We found out that it was another hour until the next train came, so about 20 LSCE kids, as well as far more South Africans, decided to walk.  As we were walking, we realized that it was a six mile walk back to Stellies, so we called some local friends to see if they could come pick us up.  No one answered, of course.  But honestly, it was incredible.  We were walking along the road, mountains rising on each side, passing ostriches, wildebeests, and other exotic animals.  It really felt like we were in Africa, the Africa of movies!  TIA!! A minibus taxi pulled up and we tried to pile in it, but it was already too full (which means there were probably already about 10 too many people in the minibus.)  Luckily, two friends called back and said they would come get us.  Liz and Jaco to the rescue!! We kept walking until they pulled up, during which time many bakkies (pickup trucks) and other vehicles offered us rides.  Finally, seven of us piled into the back of Liz’s bakkie (luckily she had a cover on the bed!) and drove the few miles we had left.  We got home almost 2 hours later than we normally do on Fridays, but I wouldn’t have traded this experience for anything!


  1. Sammy - Love how something that would send most of us into panic becomes your adventure! Never lose your enthusiasm. All our love, miss you like crazy. xo

  2. Amazing honey! You are totally right about sharing like that in America. What an amazing experience, what an amazing place to be. I love that people care about others and just share. Wish there could be more of that "sharing" everywhere in the world! xoxoxoxoxo