Thursday, August 12, 2010

News From South Africa

My younger sister and brother-in-law are in South Africa. I received the following email this morning.

Hello Everyone or as they say here, Dumelo!

I don't even have the words to explain what we have seen and done these last few days. I get quite emotional. First off, we are healthy and happy, both of us. The elevation here is right around 5200 feet so we did have some headache issues the first couple of days and combined with jet lag we were a little like zombies.

On Tuesday, 2 of the school teachers here were out sick with fevers and bronchitis. They asked if some of us would step in as teachers. So, going in with just a lesson plan written on paper, never having seen the books or such, I had the amazing experience of teaching 3rd and 4th grade all day - in the same room, with kids that speak mostly Tswana, but do speak english. I'll save the stories for when I get home. I wouldn't have missed it for the world.

The poverty here is unimaginable, even having seen it. However, the people are always happy to see us come. They wave and yell in Tswana (or maybe Zulu or Tonga) "white people - give us some sweeties". We went to a Nursing Home yesterday. When you see the pictures, you won't believe them. It was phenomenal. We sang, put on a little skit for them and just greeted them. None of them spoke English much but they were so happy just to have visitors.

I am wondering what life will be like when we get home. How do you assimilate back into a self-centered society where the majority of people have more stuff in one closet of their homes than these people have in their entire little corrugated metal house.

A special note to Abby, Avery, Maddy, Jillian, Gavin and ? - I miss you all more than you can imagine and I love you even more than that. Grammy needs a lot of hugs and kisses when I get home.

Hope all is well with all of you and I'll email when we can. The electricity has been off and on and internet is always iffy.

Oh and we had Mopani worms and chicken feet for lunch the other day. Dad ate it, I of course did not. We have lots and lots of pictures but cannot upload them until we get home.

Love to all,

Lee & Gale
I have two sisters both younger than me. The older of the two, Jean, spent three months in Turkey when she was 17 as a foreign exchange student. Both have been fortunate to see the world from a grounding perspective. Everyone should be this fortunate.


Blogger graceonline said...

Fortunately for those untraveled amongst us (that would be me), people like your sister and brother-in-law take time to tell some of their stories. I am so grateful for this. I have often wondered how re-entry is, and whether their lives are changed forever, or whether they find themselves soon back into the routine of running to the mall, Home Depot, wherever for more stuff, and how they cope with the dissonance that must bring to their lives, at least for awhile.

Though we in our household, like you, have simplified our lives greatly, we nevertheless take much more advantage of the endless stream of doodahs available to us than seems necessary.

8/12/2010 04:12:00 PM  
Anonymous alex pendragon said...

No matter how much I think I lack, I am always painfully aware of how much more I have than I ever needed. Sometimes I wish I never knew what anyone else had so that I would feel rich beyond reason, and then get rid of THAT.

8/12/2010 07:24:00 PM  

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