Sunday, July 27, 2008


I didn’t get any. My supervisor thought I should make sure that I took care of a lot of work, some of which has been done. But I just wanted to highlight the importance of actually being in a country to be able to speak about it. It’s not that you cannot read about it. For me, it’s just the added input of the citizens and people of the country that helps. Even though I’m in South Africa, I fell I can talk confidently on Zimbabwe because there are many of them in this country, people that I know who give me earfuls. I hear from Congolese friends (DRC), Sudanese people, Ethiopian people, Nigerian, people, Angolan people, etc. And that helps. That’s why I’ve been amazed at Haley’s travels.

She spent two weeks traveling with her parents in Zimbabwe (brief stint to cross the border), Botswana, Zambia, and South Africa (Kruger National Park). The she spent two weeks with her friend Rosa (talented and fierce philosophy major who wants to use it to change the world) to Uganda and Rwanda. She is back in South Africa now, but has 3 friends of hers visiting her for 3.5 weeks! Amazing. She came into town a week and a half ago to pick them up (she came straight from Uganda) and say hello before she left to turn in a paper back at her university in Grahamstown. Kate, Rachel, and Lindsay stayed with me one more night before traveling on their way to Stellenbosch (wine country), the Garden Route (I wrote about this one in December, similar to Route 66 in states but along the coast), and then on to Grahamstown where Haley is. They reached their Saturday (yesterday, the 26th).

Well, she’s not done. During Spring Vacation (September), she will go to Malawi to visit an orphanage, and then will travel to Kenya in November or December to visit Elisa (consultant manager friend who is admiringly stepping out into God-dreams and doing a year of service there helping build up the health information infrastructure of the country. I look forward to seeing what’s next after that for her!!).

Wow. That’s traveling.

I think all I did was deal with the US consulate in Cape Town to renew my passport. Did you know that the US CONSULATE (key word) has security as if you were trying to go to the actual White House? I was taken aback because I’m used to consulates in the city of Houston that are a building with one metal detector which, if it goes off, doesn’t bother even the security guard. One consulate (the Ghanaian one) is someone’s home!!

Here they don’t let you park without telling your business and your citizenship after which they look you over. Then they do a pat-down, a RUB-DOWN of your CAR. And you have to lift the hood and open the trunk!! What?!

Once inside you have to empty your pockets of EVERYTHING (not just metals). Then they tell you what you can take in and what you cannot. What you cannot must be stored in a locker. You must remove your belt and jacket (I think) before going through the metal detector. And you can never use the same door for entry as exit. The doors are extremely heavy. I think this is so they can shoot you if you get a little too excited to be just a normal person with normal business.

[by the way, I’m listening to the South African national anthem; a friend of mine is playing in a national soccer match; and I’d like to say the song is TOO LONG. I know they are trying to have 6 languages and mix it all together, but it’s extremely long. It’s like 2 anthems in length]

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