South Africa - 11 (Journal Day 6)

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Friday, August 21, 2009

This morning we were all packed and ready to roll by 8:00 a.m. John Kubia and Rodney Grobler, the Multi Ministries assistant, picked us up and we went back to the lodge dining room for breakfast. It was nice and I took a picture of the employees. They were so kind to us. This brings me to something I’ve noticed here in South Africa…everyone loves having their pictures taken – so unlike home. We cover our faces, or put our hands up to try and hide from the camera. Not these beautiful smiling South Africans!
Since we didn’t have to be at the airport to fly to Cape Town until this afternoon, Rodney said we had time for another drive-through of the animal reserve. (I was so excited, but managed to keep myself together so as not to scare the animals.) Although it is still winter here in South Africa, today spring is giving a preview with glorious weather. This is the first year I’ve ever experienced two spring seasons on two different continents. That was fun to ponder! Today we had more sightings of animals than yesterday. We saw a herd of elephants and lots of zebras and rhinos. It was wonderful. God is such a magnificent Creator!

We left the Pilanesberg Park close to noon and drove to the airport near Johannesburg so that we could fly to Cape Town for our weekend in ministry there. We flew Kokuku Airlines out of the airport in Lanseria. The airport was beautiful, but the name Kokuku did not bless me. I like the sound of Delta, American, or Northwest Airlines. Kokuku? The flight attendant was so sassy and inappropriate. She used crass language and suggestive comments in her little speech as the plane was preparing to depart. This confirmed my initial reaction to this airline. Our flight left around 5:30 in the afternoon and we landed in Cape Town that evening around 7:20. It was absolutely beautiful to fly into the city at night and see all the lights.

Another Multi Ministries assistant met us at the airport, Mr. Johnny Cyster. Johnny was very tall with beautiful white hair and beautiful brown skin. He is of the Coloured Race in Cape Town. (Although offensive in the USA, it is acceptable to say coloured people in South Africa.) The coloured people is the official South African term for the country's mixed descent inhabitants. My limited experience leads me to say they are precious and warm and loving, and made us feel so welcomed. Actually, the Cape Town coloured people were my absolute favorite of all! They are a mixed race of people and their ancestry is from Europe, Indonesia, India, and Southern Africa. I discovered through a little research on my own that genetic studies suggest the coloured race in Cape Town has the highest levels of mixed ancestry in the world. One amazing thing – they are 87% Christian! The missionaries told us that for many years (and probably even now) they felt displaced because they were not black enough to be African, or white enough to be white, and have suffered prejudice over their long history. Maybe that is why there are so many Christians among them! They know they are accepted by the Lord Jesus Christ and are part of the Family of God!

Mr. Johnny took us to the Wellwood Lodge where we will stay the next three nights during our visit to beautiful Cape Town. However, right now I’m wondering if I will be able to sleep! We had a little scare on the way from the airport and came very close to being in a car accident. Between that and driving along the edge of mountainous roads with the ocean far below, my nerves are frayed…but beautiful Cape Point awaits. I have anticipated seeing this view for many months.

South Africa - 10 (Journal Day 5) ANIMALS!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Thursday, August 20, 2009

This morning we were scheduled to leave for the game reserve, so breakfast was very early. I chose to sleep in a bit and did not go to the dining area. (Perhaps my bragging about not having any jet lag is catching up with me.) Mr. Kubia was kind enough to bring me a scrambled egg sandwich, and I ate that as we were leaving. I just cannot eat a big breakfast so early in the morning. Oh I miss my coffee pot! The simple things are what I miss, namely coffee and cream. It is hard to find freshly brewed coffee here. If you want coffee, you get hot water and instant coffee. Tea is much preferred here, namely hot tea. I only drink hot tea on cold wet winter days when I am chilled to the bone. But coffee? I love it morning, noon and night – spring, summer, autumn, winter. One more simple luxury. Did I mention that there are no shower curtains at this B&B? It is crazy. There is a shower but no shower curtain. So I aimed the shower head toward the shower wall and leaned in to keep water from going everywhere. It just makes no sense to me, but “when in South Africa….” you know the rest! These are not complaints, just observations. I am not going to whine! Lord, help me remember not to whine.  Here is a picture of where we stayed:
Rodney Grobler of Multi Ministries picked us up early, and we said goodbye to Melvill. It was a nice place, but did I mention there was no shower curtain?  So today we have a break in our schedule. The staff at Multi Ministries told us they have learned over the years to offer sight-seeing diversions or off-days to the various teams that come in for ministry. If they don’t do this, a sense of being overwhelmed will sometimes set in. I totally get that. In fact, I feel that way myself. We are blessed (some say spoiled) Americans, and our hearts and minds can only take in so much. We process all we can emotionally, and then the fatigue sets in. A visit to the game park couldn’t come at a better time!

We headed about 3 hours northwest to the Pilanesberg Game Reserve. The countryside was just wide open and beautiful and we passed lots of farms and also more shanty towns. They are everywhere. There is no government subsidized housing here – so the poor live in these huge villages together with houses made of makeshift tin, cardboard, or wood (actually whatever they find).

When we arrived in Pilanesberg, we checked into our lodge room. It was very rustic, but very nice. It reminded me of a sort of camp place, like Rock Eagle 4H Camp here in Georgia. The first picture is right outside the back door of our room, and then the one below shows the thatched hut type ceiling.
 
We unpacked and then decided to meet in the dining hall for lunch. The guys had hamburgers and I had a tomato/cheese sandwich. The tomato/cheese sandwich is on every menu I have seen, and chicken salad is called “chicken mayonnaise.” Peculiar.

While we were eating, a little monkey ran into the dining room and jumped on top of a table near us and started grabbing packets of sugar and then scurried back outside as the waitress chased him with a broom. It was hilarious. This picture shows him plotting his next attempt…
After lunch our adventure began, and I was so excited that Rodney actually told me that I was going to have to settle down. Imagine that!!! (He just could not appreciate my pure joy, but I tried hard to “pipe down” as my favorite TV character Barney Fife says.) Almighty Creater Elohim showed His majesty today!!! We saw zebras, giraffes, elephants, warthogs, kudu, gazelles, rhinos, hippos, and all sorts of birds I had never seen before. Everything was so beautiful and the weather was just perfect, almost as if God ordered it just for me! I believe He did as I have prayed Psalm 90:17 over this entire trip.

When we returned to the Lodge late that afternoon, it was getting dark. We had supper and went straight to bed. As I attempt to record this journal, my mind is racing with everything I have seen today, and sometimes at night like this, I get a little homesick. It’s an unusual feeling because my husband and best friend for life is right here with me! It is more of a longing for things of home and familiarity…my children and little grandson Zeke, my parents and sisters, my church family, my home and garden. (My coffee pot and my shower curtain were missed too, have I mentioned that?)

Today was wonderful and quite a diversion from the shanty town and ministry there. But you know, if I had to choose which meant more to me, I would have to say being with those little children and going to the Tent Church and the Aids Hospice in Boikhutsu.
Seeing the animals today in their natural surroundings was pure delight to my soul, but the other memories went to a deeper place in my heart.

Oh to Grace how great a debtor daily I'm constrained to be...

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