South Africa

Durban Travel Blog

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Are we still in Africa? 

Expedition 2:  five weeks in South Africa.  Loads different than Zambia.

Durban is an absolutely BEAUTIFUL area!  We wound up flying, due to Land Rover issues, which was SUCH a blessing!  Rather than five days of camping and 14 hours a day driving, it took one quick day of travel.  AQ 9 seems to be getting it loads easier than previous years.  But wow, talk about a different world.  Granted, they have the wonderful load shedding issues going on with power supposedly going to Zimbabwe or something, and frequently shutting off for hours at a time.  This makes things interesting as they actually have propper working traffic lights, businesses, coffee shops, malls, all that jazz - which falls apart a bit when the power goes off.  Everything was still more available and reliable than here in Zambia though, which was a treat.  And the food!!  My word, the FOOD!!!  We stayed with Dave and Jean Padbury and worked with their ministry with wilderness outreach ministry, kids camps, and Jean is a phenomenal cook.  Catherine is wonderful as well, but Jean's cooking included an element of surprise and no two-week meal rotation.  A pleasant change for a bit.  AND for those of you who haven't been introduced to the South African braai, it is worth flying over just to experience it!  A barbeque to the extreme, and we were invited to more than one as Christ Church Waterfall, the church we partnered with, wanted to properly welcome us.

The camps were fun and challenging - the recurring theme of AQ.  We led grades 2-7 in what felt like hundreds of icebreakers, grace songs, and jumped off several waterfalls to conquer fears.  The final camp was a survival camp, with the main challenge being meager food rations.  It was an interesting experience, and being on a game reserve we had giraffes frequently checking us out.  It was strange working with children who you could communicate with verbally - welcome back to English!  And beyond that, the things they talked about - being from a well-off private school - like their swimming pools, laptops for Christmas in grade 5 and 6 and what-not.  What a change from Zambia.  And to think, they are still so close.  A lot of people in South Africa, when talking about Zambia or Zimbabwe, Malawi, etc. talk about travelling to Africa.  Like they don't consider themselves a true part of Africa... it was interesting.

We began our SA experience with three days in the Drakensburg - which is absolutely gorgeous!  I would make it an annual (though quite brutal) hike if I lived anywhere remotely close.  We went down rock water slides and jumped off cliffs, with water that was just barely above freezing and the best drinking water ever - but we were so excited and giggly that we didn't notice the shivers.  I was laughing for three hours straight as we went down those slides, it was so much fun!  We slept in "caves" which were more like jutting rock overhangs, enjoyed the fresh air and fantastic scenery.

Christ Church Waterfall was an incredibly welcoming church.  By the end of the five weeks I had gotten countless hugs from the church members, and was really being reminded of the love back home.  It's wonderful how true the reality of followers of Christ being a family is.  Though so different culturally and in worship styles, though spread out geographically, we are all united in Christ, and that is amazing!  We got involved with the senior and junior youth a bit, Sunday school, and performed a few skits for the church.  They invited us to small groups as well, which was good fellowship.  It was wonderful to be able to hear sermons in English, and engage in serious conversation with other English speakers - as we are largely limited to the group of us on AQ throughout the rest of the nine months.  One of the major highlights of SA was meeting up with the young adults in the church.  Two familes especially became very near and dear to our hearts in those weeks, having us over to their houses and hanging out, bowling, chatting at the Mugg&Bean coffee shop.  It was incredibly uplifting.

I'm out of time... so much more to say.  I also can't upload pictures anymore - so I'm sorry that you'll just have to use your imagination!!  Will write more next Saturday if the power is on in town!
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photo by: Sjoshie