Oh, Happy Day!

Sorry – I just can’t seem to get away from song titles here.

What a day. The game drive guy didn’t pick me up this morning, but then Claire, the wife of the lost Welshman who is running the community services organisation came and gotr me and took me for tea to her place. She showed me the books she uses to home-school her kids, and I bought a Zulu-English dictionary from her.

She gave me a lot of really sad statistics about the area and its people, and told me a really funny story about buying chickens. They had wanted a few chickens, so figured they’d just go to someone and buy them. Well, turns out it took negotiating visits to 3 bush villages where they had to sit on the sand and confab with the headman – after walking in to the village, which can be a chore in itself if you’re not used to walking in ankle deep sand – before they finally got the go ahead to purchase the kind of chickens it was decided that they needed, and from whom they should get them.

It all just sounded *so* African . . . .

Anyway, we had a great talk, and she showed me some other books and kindly lent them to me so I can perhaps get some ideas for classes from them. She also gave me a carton of little tubes of toothpaste and a bag of toothbrushes that had been donated, and I will do a toothbrushing class, if you can imagine. Knowing how I like to fool around with kids, I expect to need a bath when I come home from that one (still missing my bathtub!!).

Then this afternoon Ernest came and picked me up for the afternoon game drive. I was disappointed that I didn’t get to go in the first buggy that went as it was full, but I sure lucked out. They only saw one elephant and not much else.

We saw 3 elephants, a lion really close, about 4 kinds of antelope, one being a waterbuck which I haven’t seen before (or eaten as far as I know). We saw rabbits, a serval cat and some birds, a couple of them quite rare, like a crested guinea fowl and a spotted something, but the best was the lilac crested roller. This bird id a bright turquoise with a chinese red breast and a lilac crest. It looks like a piece of bright wrapping paper flitting through the air. What a beautiful bird.

Also saw the African sunset from the savannah. Just like the movies – the pink air and the fiery sun sinking behind the silhouettes of the thorn trees – BUT THIS TIME I WAS REALLY HERE – ME!!!!

I’ll try and see if I can get some video up tomorrow, but someone else wants to use the computer, so gotta say nighty-night for now.

Oh, and I forgot that there was Zulu dancing at the Lodge tonight after dinner. I’m pretty beat – it was a big day full of wonderful things.

Those red flowers - small size

Travelling Market Ladies

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1 Comment »

  1. MTd to get your commentas said

    Dear ‘Granny’ – Really enjoying your African journal and seeing S.A. through the eyes of a ‘newby’ to the S.A. scene. Am also a retired Ontario teacher of granny age, so appreciate your take on the education in the rural areas. Hope you get a chance to visit the set-up in the cities – the sublime to the ridiculous (or vice versa). First went to S.A. in 1976 to visit family in Pietermaritzburg/Greytown. Loved it immediately and have made many trips since then. Had sabbatical at U. of Natal in education under apartheid and got to visit the four systems of education then. Quite different now – but for the better??? Looking forward to your next entry. Hope you find those balloons! Hamba kahle! MT

    Hi MT:

    Really glad to get your comments, and happy that you enjoy reviewing my perspective.

    Yes – “for the better” or not – that is a big question. I can say that so far, I’m seeing pros and cons for both ways and what I’m seeing of English education here in the back country is quite frankly pathetic. There still seems to be a great reliance on the old colonial method of rote learning. The kids can parrot back to you whatever you say – wonderful memories – and still have absolutely *no* comprehension.

    Oh, well, I’ll do what I can. No one has ever called me a quitter. There seems to be an overriding”understanding” here that since (apparently) 80% of the kids are HIV positive and won’t live long enough to get a job, that it is wasted effort to care about education in the boonies.

    I’m getting a sinking feeling that though the Zulu nation lived through and outlasted many types of persecution, war and segregation, that it may be self-destructing – literally killing itself. It is so sad to see a people who seem to have given up, and see no alternatives but the short-term gratification, since they see no long-term future.

    I hope I can give some of these children at least a different view of the future, point out some possibilities and a path to fulfilling them.

    Sala kahle
    ~mz

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