April 28th, 2010: Today we had went to visit an orphanage about 30 minutes outside of Durban. Today we also experienced “African Time”. We left the house around 7 and got to the bus stop at 7:40 to catch a 7:50 shuttle. We were informed that the bus is on the way and it should be here shortly. The shuttle was just going to take some sisters, Hailey, and I to the orphanage directly. 7:50 came and passed, so did 8:15, so did 8:45, 9:15, and yes even 9:30. Where the hell is this bus? Maybe it was a horse drawn carriage. We kept trying to keep ourselves occupied but a rock hard wooden bench can only be comfortable for so long. The lady behind the counter leaned over and apologized for the delay, “It’s the day after a holiday, it’s always a little hectic”. I didn’t know driving a car could be so hectic but hey whatever. I never got mad or anything, I actually thought it was an entertaining experience. Finally, we got picked up and headed off.
When we got there, we noticed that it was another Islamic compound. Every place we’ve been to in the past few weeks has been of Islamic influence (although some of the implications can be classified as brainwash). We got a tour of the place, fully equipped with prayer rooms and the whole shebang. I wonder if the kids are forced into this religion and what happens if they don’t conform while they are there. We eventually ended up at the ABC, a nice name for Abandoned Babies Cottage. Oh my God I felt like Oprah. A whole swarm of kids came running up the hill with their hands in the air screaming. We put out our hands and got about 90 high-fives from 18 kids. They were playing around on their tractors and tricycles doing their thing. They wanted to get pushed around and be picked up after a while. One boy gravitated towards me immediately. He seemed to be running the orphanage with his rambunctious attitude. Luckily, I liked him a lot too. Every kid cried like 5 times when they got in a fight over a tricycle or tractor. At one point, I had about two and half kids crawling all over me, all of them wanting to touch the ceiling or just be held or take a picture. For those of you who know my passion for kids (FYI, the word passion can be used negatively), you would think I would have lost it. But I really enjoyed running around and playing with the kids. Especially when I would hold them upside by one foot. It was the one really hot day in Durban we’ve had in a while and of course we would spend it outside. I was working up a sweat pushing three tractors at a time and throwing kids in the air. Also, it was a disaster to wear a white shirt to the orphanage. I got pretty filthy with the kids’ dirt, blood, sweat, and tears. They operate in a cascade, once one kid does something, the rest all follow. So if one kid threw dirt in my face, I would get 20 more. Eventually, I was worn out and went back up the hill for a break (this would constitute a tea break). While having our tea, we realized how nice the definition of a break is in SA. I actually felt rejuvenated having tea, cookies, and spending time reflecting what just happened. It was much better than booking it to Starbucks, stressing out in a giant line because you have to be back in time or you’re castrated, getting your caffeine fix to-go, running back before you get a parking ticket, spilling it on yourself, and making it back to your work station so the next person can repeat what you just did (shoutout T! ☺ ).
The rest of the day went fine, when it was time to go we went back to the front office to wait for the shuttle. It would be 2 hours late…again. Therefore, we had tea…again. T.I.A. man.