Published: January 28th 2008January 20th 2008
Sunday I tried to brave it by going out to the beach in Saint James with Charlotte and Ashley. It proved to be a bit aggressive for me, but I just couldn’t imagine staying home another day on the weekend. And it was essentially a cloudless day. We took the train two stops to Saint James and I certainly enjoyed myself for the brief amount of time I was there. Took some photographs of the colorful huts along the shoreline and soaking in the sun until I felt ill again and decided to get back home. While we were in Saint James I did grab a bite to eat at this cute place called Octopus Garden.
The wind has died down a bit but that doesn’t say much. We can also see the “tablecloth” which sits atop Table Mountain and the rest of the mountain range and the 12 apostles. It’s crazy, these clouds just rest like a blanket on the range and move so quickly as the wind pushes them along…its like a spaceship or something hovering and moving as if its on a conveyor belt…bizarre but quite mesmerizing to watch. Me and my clouds…
Well its safe
to say I’m still exhausted and I certainly don’t feel 100%...and this sucks. After being sick the other night, it’s the first time - I have to say - that I felt like I wanted to come home. No reason to be big or brave about it. I just wanted to call home and tell them I felt like shit and the stupid things that they can say which will put me at ease. When I’m pissy it’s easy to just vent into the berry and get their responses but when I’m sick I just need an hour phone call - even if there is no talking or talking about nothing…
Also, I think I’m done being around people. Well that sounded harsh…I mean I was situated in St. Lucia for a month with generally the same people and now in Cape Town…I’d rather be on my own…this is why I live by myself…I want to travel and I feel like I am stuck in one place. I’m excited for Lee to come next week…I’m hoping we’ll go up to one of the vineyards.
Monday morning we all went on a tour of Red Hill, or a little
walk with Zuleka through the village. It was great for me since it allowed me to get in there and take some more personal photos with a local leading the way. It was a little too short for my liking but I think I got one or two keepers. In the back half of the morning I went home to rest and stay away from the children…the last thing I wanted was to catch something from them while my immune system was down or even pass to them what I had (although the likelihood that they passed it to me is probably higher). So I took the time to go into town and inquire about the class pictures and getting them printed and laminated for the school. And then went to the internet. Was very happy to have a morning off…I wont lie.
In the afternoon we went to Red Hill to clean up the nasty mess of the school grounds. UGH. To give you some idea, it must have been like 90 degrees, no wind, and sunny skies. Charlotte stepped in shit…human or dog feces unknown. We did a bunch of weeding and picking up of broken glass,
coke cans, condom wrappers, condoms, and general trash. It was nauseating. Never before have I smelled something so vile and wretched…things have come close but the toilet for the children is completely unsanitary and they go in the classrooms in little potty bowls. Most of them miss the target and get urine on the carpet. I cant even begin to think or imagine what is in that carpet.
Tuesday Ashley and I were back at Red Hill and Charlotte and Becky were at Children of Hope. We came up with a plan or schedule for the Red Hill children although it seems as though most of them might have ADD…their attention spans are so ridiculously short. We tried to get them in order and listen to us for different “lesson plans” or even just games and it was SO difficult. Seriously, bless Vuyiseka for doing this job…I cant imagine. Some of the kids were sharing one gobstopper…and when the thing hit this nasty carpet that looks like its been there since 1985 and put it back in her mouth and then passed it to her friend, the looks exchanged between Ashley and I must have been priceless.
the afternoon we had athletics day with the Masiphumelele “middle” school. I was team yellow and we had a few stars I suppose. Looking forward to the competition tomorrow to see how the team does! We tried to convince the teachers for a teacher race. I just want to kick ass really…or at least see if I still can!
We went to the “primary” school afterwards to play with the children. My friend “walker” (by the way her real name is Anaphiwe) was there again with a glowing smile. She moves pretty quickly but her damn shoe kept falling off! There was also Aviwe…well this little devil is something else…apparently last week he was hitting other children with a brick…no, no dear…that is NOT ok! And this week he had a bottle of water. He would take a drink from it…I’d watch him swish it around his mouth for a good 10 seconds or longer and then spit it out. I told him plenty of times to stop and that he should drink it but he wouldn’t have it. Next thing I know I am getting a mouthful on my foot. Lovely. A little later he is still spitting
water out but now on the steps up to the jungle gym. It could get slippery so again I ask him to stop and a bit more sternly this time giving him an eye and he just laughs and smiles…man, it was getting under my skin. At this point I am helping Anaphiwe over to the swings and her shoe falls off just short of reaching it. I’m bent over trying to put her shoe back on, and that little devil spit out a massive mouthful from the ladder above me all over my head and back. Oh let me tell you I had had enough of his shit and went up the ladder carried his ass down and told on him…yes, call me a tattletale but his antics cannot be tolerated and should not be. I laugh looking back on it cuz it was kind of funny but he’s a little trouble maker.
We finally got Anaphiwe on the swing and sourpuss Gocekho always hangs around me but will never smile and just pouts….I’ll tickle her and make funny faces and the like and I know she is smiling cuz she turns around and hides her face…its bizarre
that she doesn’t want to be seen happy! I don’t understand. The next ridiculous thing that happened is this little boy comes around behind me when I’m sitting to give me a hug, I think, and reaches his hand down inside my shirt and bra and grabs my boob! Nearly taking it out. I was like, um, these kids need to learn some boundaries here!! Oy oy oy!
Wednesday was athletics day…to see how of the kids is good enough to go to the district meet in a few weeks. They were divided into 4 teams…red, blue, yellow and white. I was team yellow and we finished in third but had some wonderful stellar performers…mostly the girls and one little boy. It was the best day yet as part of the volunteer work in Cape Town. I really felt part of the community and getting involved. It was awesome, plus it didn’t hurt that I did track back in the day as far as my interest was concerned. But I think we all had a ton of fun. We did end up having a volunteer/ teacher race - the 100 meters. I think there were nearly 10 of us.
I will of course boast and say, I’ve still got it!! Yes I won and it was oh so sweet…the first few steps out Ashley (6 years my junior) was right with me but I built momentum and broke away…it was so much fun and to hear my team chanting “yell-ow, yell-ow, yell-ow, etc…” as I ran down the field towards the finished line was rewarding. A bunch ran over and gave me a hug and some high-fives! I was eating it up!
So the day was wonderful really…the teams were all chanting and cheering for each other…except Charlotte’s white team. Shame. Singing the national anthem and handing out the trophies to first and second place…it was so nice to see and it was heart-warming…can I say that? Anyway, I totally enjoyed myself…and I wasn’t shattered at the end of the day for once.
I finally finished my book, What is the What? And I figured out what the what is. It’s definitely a good read and I absolutely recommend it! Now I have nothing to read. I’m taking suggestions…otherwise this blog will continue to ramble unnecessarily.
Thursday was another pretty good day. Ashley and I were
at Children of Hope. I pretty much just hung out with Somi…one of the 5 month old babies. Andrew came again to do story time for the children, which is always a nice breather for us. Andrew and Robert come every Thursday to read to the kids. Its really sweet…and helpful! I got some great pictures of Sepo, the crier, happy and smiley for once! I told Rene and Sophia that this was my last day…I REALLY like them and what they do with all of these children is absolutely incredible. They told me that they were talking the other night and were saying they wish I was with them every day instead of switching off every other. Definitely made me feel great and that whatever I was doing they appreciated it. And I’ve started to build a bit more of a relationship with the girls at the house and I will definitely be bummed to leave them…they are all great and we get along well. It’s a shame.
We went back to Masi in the afternoon …some of those boys there are ridiculously naughty! I cant believe it. I also got a few smiles out of Gocekho, the
sourpuss…I think she just needs a little love and attention.
My last day I spent up at Red Hill and in town finishing up the class pictures. I’m glad I finished that and was able to give it to Vuyiseka and Rene and Sophia. Seriously, they are incredible women to give of their time for others children. I sincerely wish them all the best and hope to come back to Cape Town one day and check in on them!
The project has its moments and overall I think they are headed in the right direction but it’s a bit too monotonous at the moment babysitting and being a nanny for children when its not necessarily what you were looking for. I think there needs to be more variety…i.e. the athletics day or community work…and I’m guessing they’ll get there.
Friday afternoon we finally got to do some sightseeing…Fish Hoek is great to live in but it would be nice to actually see Cape Town and its sights! We went to Cape Point and Cape of Good Hope. Man, it was freakin windy…Cape Town as a whole has been ridiculously windy but that was just insane! So at
the top of the hill at Cape Point it is a long journey to NYC…a flag showing it being 12,541km. Along the way we saw windsurfers and kite surfers…absolutely incredible to watch (and photograph!). I could have stayed there all day just mesmerized by them…it was stunning. So just to try and give you an idea about the winds here…as we were driving into the park I noticed a little stream of smoke and thought nothing of it…thought it was a local tribe burning an offering of sorts…well, by the time we made it back out of the park probably 90 minutes later, if that, the entire area was covered in smoke…it appears that a whole section of the park went ablaze in a wildfire enhanced by the strong winds. Pretty sad and it didn’t seem like it was too far from Red Hill…Next stop was Boulder’s Beach and the penguins. It was good fun despite nearly being attacked by one.
Saturday we got up and spent the morning at the beach. We started at Muizenberg but it was a bit too windy and unsheltered so we took the nice walking path along the ocean back to Saint James.
Beautiful sun and wonderful warm breeze although times of gusty winds. These winds hurt!! They pelt sand at your body and face and its no fun! I found sand in more places when I got home to shower than I thought possible! I feel like I am in a constant state of wanting to shower cuz the winds just blow all this sand and salt water and dirt all of you creating a dirty film. Anyway, I was back to daydreaming…excited for the weeks to come before I go home and all I have to do and see. I really am in my element when I feel like I am on the go, switching things up a bit and obviously surrounded by a new culture. Yesterday, when we did the touristy things, I felt rushed…like it was a race through and everyone is always walking fast and not waiting for people and I just don’t like that. It’s cliché but life is not a race…especially when I’m in a different country - unless I’m running really late I like to stroll…take a casual walk and spend as much time doing things as I’d like to. This is why being on
the beach was fantastic…I popped in my ipod and listened to music that just makes me smile, especially watching the waves crashing along the shore. I lay there enjoying the tunes and shimmying a bit in the sand with a devious little smirk on my face. I was enjoying those moments immensely. I didn’t want it to go anywhere…and for an hour or two I soaked up the sun and allowed myself to be sunkissed.
We grabbed a bite to eat in town and then headed home to shower and nap before our “big night out” on Long Street. Well our big night out began with the train ride into Cape Town. Believe me, you get more than you pay for! What you get is a man drenched in fishing gear and the aromatic stench that accompanies it…slightly off, you also get a chorus of music, sung by no other than the fisherman…although he really didn’t have that bad of a voice. You also get people selling candy…a ton of it for next to nothing. Oh and you also get the fisherman smoking a cigarette on the non-smoking train. It was certainly an interesting ride and not one that
I will be doing again. We found a nice Mexican place for dinner…drank some yummy margaritas. The girls and I made it out to three different bars that night on long street. The first one we went to was Mama Africa which was playing live African music and I just loved it! Singing and bongos and a sax and trumpet, etc…really catchy and wanted them to play much longer than they did. When they finished we found a place to dance and by the next move I was done. Time to go home and go to bed for the little lady. I think we ventured home around 1 and I was asleep by 2. We had a crazy rikki (London taxi cab) ride home with lots of drunk singing. It was a fun way to end the night before I hit the pillow and was out!
I am looking forward to spending my last week here, beginning Sunday, on my own. I’ve ended the project and will be dropped off so I can navigate and explore this incredible city solo…well at least until Lee comes gets here this coming weekend.
Wow! I will be home in two and
a half weeks. WOW. Then a weeks vacation???? And then “I’m Coming Home Again…”.
There are more photos below