Mist and mountains

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I have been visiting home for 3 weeks and God willing will soon be returning back to Canada. It has been sooo good to be in the familiar, “to let my hair down.” Two weeks ago I did a fly by visit to Capetown South Africa. Since most of you know how much I love mountains it is inevitable that I would post  pictures of some of Western Capes mountains.

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These were taken on my way to Hermanus to visit some very dear friends. Hermanus is two hours from Capetown and absolutely beautiful. Imagine being able to take a five minute walk to watch whales by the bay? Thats one of Hermanus main attractions.

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Ed Sheerans song “I see fire,” was constantly playing in my head as I drank in the beauty that is the Western Cape of South Africa.

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Sooo, just incase…

…you think all we do is play 🙂

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This post will make sense if you read my post, “thats what friends are for.”

My last day in South Africa was on the 7th of April, I spent close to two months working with Heather and friends . Photos do a better job at describing everyday life so here is a collage 😀

This is only some of what I was involved in. Teaching a group of girls needlework with Paulette. Teaching Peaceful how to crochet. Evaluating how Peaceful, Jabulani, Melusi and Ben conduct AWANA( a christian childrens program) Attending a 4 day AWANA workshop. Watching from a safe distance as the men decide on whether to let a poisonus snake free or kill it. Uncle Johan dancing with the kids. Danielle chatting with the head of AWANA southern Africa.

As we serve we are always aware that our conduct, the manner in which we teach, encourage and reprimand is being closely watched by those we have decided to mentor, it is no small responsibility. The bible says one who decides to be a teacher should be aware that one will be held at a higher standard than those whom they are teaching.

Melusi, Jabulani, Peaceful, Ben. They stay at Heathers house Monday till Friday. As this is their gap year, Heather got the boys part time jobs as waiters but they are all involved in childrens work.

Melusi, Jabulani, Peaceful, Ben(not the volunteer). They stay at Heathers house Monday till Friday. As this is their gap year, Heather got the boys part-time jobs as waiters but they are all involved in childrens work.

If you have followed me for a while you know when it comes to work, I am either dealing mostly with children or teens. Of my time in South Africa, I really enjoyed getting to know and work with these 4. By far one on one mentoring is what I enjoy the most about being a social worker.  I had some amazing bible studies, intense political debates and profound moments sharing life stories. I hope and pray the best for their future and I will miss them.

In my next post I should have finally come up with the right words to describe why I am moving to Ontario Canada.

If you want to know more about Heathers’ organisation and are interested in doing some volunteer work either in South Africa, Uganda or Kenya, please check her website: http://hopeofafricayouth.com/

A happy union.

A Swazi Beauty.

A Swazi Beauty.

Generally speaking, for most Africans, there is a strong desire not to forget who they are even as they embrace all sorts of Western ways. Wearing traditional clothes is one way of remembering, embracing and demonstrating to others who they are. You can usually tell which tribe someone comes from by what they wear.

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A Venda woman. At a wedding I attended last year in Johannesburg South Africa

Great pride is taken in traditional clothing, of course for the city folk, dressing like this usually happens on special occasions but in rural areas it is not uncommon to see some people dressed in traditional clothes on an ordinary day.

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Danielle and I visited a “living museum” called Matsamo Cultural Village and enjoyed the singing and dancing that this group presented. They are from the Kingdom of Swaziland and that’s why they are called Swazis 🙂

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A Venda girl. Sometimes traditional clothes can tell someone if you are married or unmarried.

Married Venda Women

Married Venda Women

Swazi Men

Swazi Men

The Matsamo Cultural Village is VERY touristy, but I will admit I enjoyed my afternoon there.

There are those who don’t like the fact that indigenous cultures are loosing their heritage because of globalization. The way I see it, there is nothing wrong with enjoying the best of both worlds 🙂

The Maiden dance.

The Maiden dance.

As you may have noticed I have made some changes to my blog I figure since I am preparing for some drastic changes in my life my blog might as well show it 🙂 hopefully in the next post I will share with you what is about to happen.

That’s what friends are for.

Remember Heather? I posted a blog about her in April last year, well long story short after her 3 week visit to South Africa, she came back in August last year to set up her organisation called Hope of Africa.  Upon my return from Zambia I stayed in Mozambique for a week then she wrote and asked if I could come help with her project so I packed my bags once again and made my way to Malalane South Africa,a mere 2 hour drive from Maputo. Heathers’ organisation is not only based in South Africa but also in Kenya and Uganda. In South Africa she is involved in establishing mentoring program that is helping disadvantaged children get through school right up to university. My responsibilities are to help in the mentoring and to help short-term volunteers from the USA  make sense of the sometimes confusing African culture 🙂 Also, I pretty much do whatever needs to be done at any moment, I am not sure how long I will be here for, I figure that will sort itself out eventually.

I hope to post more pictures of what we are up to in the days to come but tonight I will leave you with this one:

Nellie, Heather, Me, Danielle

Nellie, Heather, Me, Danielle

It was taken on my birthday on the 23rd of this month that turned out to be an epic girls day out 🙂

Gnite friend,

P.S  Nellie and Danielle are here as short-term volunteers and we have become good friends. I am coming down with a horrible cold, I don’t understand why since its been so hot here…oh well…misery loves company!

Blue Mountains

Spot the cows!

Spot the cows!

Oh my friend! Its been far too long! I have had a busy 5 weeks, my mother and I traveled to Zambia to visit my grandmother who has been bedridden since last year late November(a story that deserves its own blog post). So much happened, I am still processing everything. I didn’t take any photos going to Zambia and coming back it rained most of the time travelling out of Zambia, we crossed the breadth of Zimbabwe during the night which left me with South Africa. By the time we where traveling through parts of South Africa it took a lot of effort to keep my eyes open and enjoy the scenery… man was I grumpy! Three day bus rides are no fun, especially when you have to deal with 3 sets of African border posts! (I arrived yesterday in the morning) These mountains are found in the Limpopo Province of South Africa. I just had to share the few pictures I took, they not the best of photos but maybe it will encourage you to visit Limpopo one of these days 🙂 Lots of people don’t think that Limpopo has anything to offer but that’s cause they don’t care much for mountains 😀

Not quite sure what they where doing there and I didnt know cows hooves had enough traction to climb up a large rock...

Not quite sure what they where doing there and I didnt know cows hooves had enough traction to climb up a large rock…

How quaint.

How quaint.

A maize farm.

A maize farm.

The Blouberg Mountains.

Blouberg meaning Blue Mountains

I am looking forward to sharing my thoughts on what I learned in the last 5 weeks. Have a good evening if you are in my time zone and a good day if you are not 🙂

Just change already!

Ever feel like you are stuck in the same season and there is no hope for change in sight? Now, I am not talking of those times were everything is going right or the other times were it’s not too bad but it’s also not great, no, I am talking about the season when it’s just one continues bad day…for many days. Sometimes this can last many months, truly such days are difficult, depressing and plain bad all wrapped up together. Your friends run out of ideas on how to help you out, they also at lose on how to advise you. Secretly you are happy for the silence, you know they have good intentions but really, all you want is a friend sitting by you and calmly reassuring you that come what may they wont leave you. If there was ever such a term as:”advise fatigue,” you would use it. For some even their friends abandon them. In the midst of all the drama it may sound too good to be true but even these trying times eventually come to an end. Friend, allow me to share my two cents on this matter: what I have learned so far is not to spend too much time pining for the good days to come but to discipline myself to learn as much as I can in the situation I am going through, who knows one day I may meet a friend who will need a sympathetic ear and understanding heart.  One tends to learn more ( if you are willing) in the valley than on the mountain top.
Jacaranda trees are probably my favorite trees in the whole wide world :D They make the cities of Johannesburg and especially Pretoria (South Africa) look absolutely beautiful!  Imagine street after street bedazzled in purple. Jacarandas start to bloom in September and their flowers grace us with their presence until the end of November. The Jacaranda season is truly worth the wait.

Jacaranda trees are probably my favorite trees in the whole wide world 😀 They make the cities of Johannesburg and especially Pretoria (South Africa) look absolutely beautiful! Imagine street after street bedazzled in purple. Jacarandas start to bloom in September and their flowers grace us with their presence until the end of November. The Jacaranda season in South Africa is truly worth the wait.

As a christian I take great comfort in knowing that nothing happens by chance and no matter how hard it gets, God has a purpose… I may never see the complete picture but since He loves me then whatever it is will turn to be for my own good. No point comparing my life with the others around me, each one of us have unique seasons to experience. As sure as the sun will rise tomorrow and the Jacaranda tree will bloom again next year we should never give up the faith that this difficult season shall pass 🙂

Miss Em and the bird park

In June I spent 2 weeks in Kwazulu Natal, a province on the eastern coast of South Africa. I spent the first week helping with the wedding preparations and then taking part in a weekend long farm style wedding of my dear friend of 19 years, Angela. The last week I spent in the city of Durban enjoying the hospitality of Miss Em and her family.

Miss Em

Miss Em

Miss Em is a little madam who is as she likes to tell anyone who cares to ask, “almost three!” She was such a joy to get to know because not a day would go by without her coming up with the funniest one liners, most times she wasnt even trying to be funny. My favorite moment with her was when we went shopping with her mom and Miss Em and I spent much of the time running around the store playing hide and seek. On my last day in Durban Miss Ems’ mom took us (her two older sisters and I) out to the Bird park, I don’t remember most of the names of the birds we saw that day, so please forgive me for not tagging all the pictures.

Peacock, male ones are always prettier than the female…so not cool :p

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Miss Em and Mom

Black Swan

Kissing Macaws 🙂

Observing life through the eyes of a toddler is heartwarming, everything is new and amazing, so much to explore, so much to learn and not enough hours in a day to do everything especially since for Miss Em, mommy likes making her take afternoon naps even when it clashes with her busy plans for the day 🙂

Thank you for sharing your family with me Miss Em, I dont know when I will be back but I promise I will try my very best to come back and share my lip balm with you every morning! (That was our daily ritual, every morning she would wait for me to get dressed then come into my room and ask: “Thula, please may I use some of your lipthstick?”)