Monday, April 5, 2010

South Africa bound

March 27th, 2010

Another momentous day, today was my flight to South Africa. I ran into some problems at the airport when I was sent around to 4 different places and nobody could find my reservation. From that, I lost my seat request and was rebooked a seat in the middle of the middle…in the very back. I sat between an Indian guy and a monk. I tried to keep myself occupied and found myself in Durban 9 hours later. A short drive later, I was at my homestay. The mom, Sibongile, greeted me. They all were so welcoming and accommodating that I felt right at home. They all helped me with my luggage up to my room. We sat and talked for a long time just exchanging information like dietary restrictions, family life, etc. In the Msomi family, there’s the mom, a grandma (nicknamed Gogo), a father, and two sons. They are devout Christians and attend church multiple times a week. I didn’t meet the two sons until the next day but this was still an overwhelming experience. I ate my first meal-chicken curry with rice and watched two American movies with the dad. I still felt slightly out of place and unsettled. But I figured this was normal. The next day I met the two sons, Boom Boom (17) and Tulani (15). The boys were very nice and somewhat shy at first, but that lasted like 5 minutes. After that, they started to open up quickly. Both boys are extremely intelligent. Boom Boom wants to become a clinical psychologist and Tulani wants to be the next Donald Trump (hopefully without the hair do). I got picked up at 10 and got a township tour. Durban is very divided economically. Signs of apartheid still linger around the residential and commercial parts of the city. There is railroad that runs through the city, this was a heavily employed area. Blacks and whites would come to work everyday and when the day was over, they would walk back to their respective houses. Except on one side of the railroad was dormitory type housing were the blacks would live- 8 people in each single room with a communal toilet on each floor. On the other side of the railroad were typical middle class homes, with a spacious yard. This is where the whites would live. These buildings still exist and are inhabited. Hailey (the other intern) and I visited an orphanage and How Long park (strange name for sure). We met with the builder of the park who is this man who wanted to create this oasis in the middle of the slums. He hand built this entire park by himself and continues to do so today.

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