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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