Monday, March 3, 2008

travel log: february 5 - march 3, 2008

hello from jo'burg!

we are currently in johannesburg for work at the main offices as well as doing some orientation for ourselves. the drive up and out of our hilly and mountainous home province was beautiful (to bad for the car!..but it leveled out for the last 2 hours). we went to a service yesterday in soweto that was very moving with amazing singing, drums and various instruments and then to the aparteid museum following. needless to say it was so powerful but yet draining. i mean that in when i think of the fact of what i just experienced and the major world history behind soweto, jo'burg and then putting it together with the powerful museum, it felt as if someone was sitting on my chest. i felt similarly moved in going to the holocaust museum last october when we were in washington d.c.. sometimes i am shocked at the inhumanity of what has occurred in various parts of the world over the last years and centuries. there was also a small exhibit on rwanda as well.

we will be here for the week with many contacts and meetings and introductions to be done and will then drive back along a different, more off the beaten path route back into the kwazulu-natal province circling to the south east through dundee to a small village called roarke's drift. there is an amazing craft skills center there where many weaving, painting, pottery and much more are done by local artisans as well as visiting the old folks home. we are here to investigate a potential site placement for one of our volunteers. we will also take some time to explore this area that is known as the battlegrounds where the zulu wars were fought behind shaka and other zulu warriors as well as the anglo-boer battles all over land and control. we will then be back to our home in pietermaritzburg about a week from today. so much to see and do...but all very positive, humbling and enriching experiences.

with love today!


ps. just got back from the trip through roarke's drift. the area from dundee was on very rough terrain with only winding dirt roads for many kilometers. we stayed at the guest house right next to the battlegrounds of the final square off between the zulu warriors and british soldiers. beautiful hilly country in an area that still has so much tradition with houses, farming and ways of life. we explored the area on foot hiking, visited and observed the aritisans at work in the pottery, weaving, and silk screening studios. the work is known as some of the best in all of the country and we were amazed at the skill and craftsmanship. we stayed over the course of 3 days taking in the battle history, the culture and the people and then continued through the twisting and turning of the dirt roads in and around the very rugged terrain. what beauty we saw in this remote and traditional area of kwazulu-natal province on our way back to pietermaritzburg. long travel, but well worth it for the awe inspiring views and experiences.