Orientation Shenanigans

Greetings from Cape Town!

Wow, it’s been a while since my last post, so here’s a quick overview of our shenanigans. I apologize for the length but I’ll make up for it with photos 😉

Early in the week we toured a township called Langa. We started off by seeing a clay studio where local women make and paint pottery to sell for a small profit. Then we were ushered into a room where three Africans were playing fun upbeat music on drums and marimbas. They invited some of us to join them, so several members of our group were taught a simple beat to play on various instruments. Then everyone played together as the enthusiastic African boy directed them to start and stop randomly on his count. It was absolutely hilarious!

Next we walked along the streets of Langa and got a better sense of what life is like in the townships. The rate of unemployment is extremely high so many people have become entrepreneurs! There are hair salons, convenience stores, medicine men, tailors…you name it! Our guide said that you can find pretty much anything you’re looking for in the townships! …Including lambs heads, which apparently are considered a delicacy here. Who knew?

The Meat Mountain at Mzoli's

Afterwards, we ate at a place called Mzoli’s, famous for it’s meat. Despite being located in the heart of the township, hoards of people congregate here on Sundays for an afternoon of meat, beer, and socializing. Since they didn’t have room for us in the restaurant, they assembled a makeshift table right at one of the entrances to the restaurant – anything goes here! The waiter brought out a massive mountain of meat…I’m pretty sure at least ten animals died in the process of preparing it, but hey, it was darn tasty! And we ate the entire meal with our hands – disgusting but liberating!

To work off the meat, a group of us decided to go on a hike. We are so blessed to have a trailhead from the UCT campus that leads up toward Table Mountain. From Rhodes Memorial, we had a stunning view of Cape Town’s grandeur. The vast ocean, sprawling city, and towering Table Mountain reveal the utter beauty and glory of God! Seriously, Lord? I get to live here for four and a half months?! Thank you!!

Early Morning Hike with Remy

One morning we got up at 6:00 am to go on a morning hike with one of the other RA’s named Remy. Let me just say that he is legit! Why? you may ask…one simple reason: he rides a unicycle! …One day he decided he wanted to learn and now he rides on the mountain trails. Later that day, we went to an internet café called Coco Wawa where you get 40 megabytes of free internet with your purchase! Woohoo!

Throughout the week we visited the rest of the service sites. We went to the Brooklyn Chest TB Hospital and an organization called Yabonga, which serves children and other victims of HIV/AIDS. At Yabonga, the “community mothers” (who make meals at their homes for children in the townships) welcomed us warmly with a song and asked us to join in with them! We clapped and sang together. It’s absolutely amazing to me how happy and loving everyone is here! Huge hugs. Huge hearts. Huge hope!

The Community Mothers

A couple of days ago, we took the train to Kalk Bay, a beautiful port area on the coast where fish are caught and filleted on the spot! …the freshest fish and chips you will ever taste! We concluded our day in Simon’s Town where we saw penguins at Boulder Beach. Crazy escapades with an amazing group of people! The Lord is good!

At the Bo-Kaap Market with Dania and Ore!

Yesterday we went to the Bo-Kaap market. The local women gather once a month to sell traditional foods and goods. We learned how to make and fold samoosas – a traditional Malay/South Asian food, which consists of a triangle tortilla-like shell with a veggie or meat filling. Delicious!

Today we went to Kirstenbosch Gardens, a beautiful botanical garden at the foot of Table Mountain. Laying under the shadow of the mighty mountain, I was struck by the utter beauty of this place. Summary: “For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods. In his hand are the depths of the earth; the heights of the mountains are his also. The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land. Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker!” – Psalm 95:3-6

Kirstenbosch Gardens

Doves kisses:

  • As we rode between Fish Hoek and Kalk Bay on the way to the train station, we passed a shop called “Doves.”
  • While I was at Yabonga, I noticed that a girl in my program was wearing a shirt with a dove on it.
  • I found a pendent with a dove and a cross on it at a small market stand selling knick-knacks and antiques.

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Marvin & Debbie Moore
    Feb 12, 2011 @ 16:27:02

    Hey Alyssa

    We are enjoying your blog and continue in prayer for you and your classmates. You are a great writer! Do you work at it or does it come natural to you? We love you.

    Marvin and Debbie


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