I’m sure I’ll jinx myself by saying this, but I’ve had some pretty awesome weather throughout my trip so far. I spent two weeks in England and it rained for a total of 30 minutes!! That’s unheard of! As we were flying into Cape Town the pilot told us that it would be raining, and that it’s been raining a lot lately in this part of South Africa. It rained a bit on the way home from the airport and you could see the streams that had formed on the side of the road. Rivers were gushing and overflowing with water. Lelethu told me that it’s basically been raining every day for the past month! At Frisbee practice on Sunday everyone was so happy that it was finally not raining and the sky was finally clear. When I woke up on Monday and began my walk to town there was not a cloud in the sky. I really hope this great weather keeps up!
Kayamandi a township built on a hill. It faces the valley in which you’ll find the city of Stellenbosch. If you look just past Stellenbosch you’ll see tall rising mountains surrounding taking over the horizon. I can’t get enough of these mountains! No matter where you are in town, or throughout the township you’ll be able to see these mountains. In the distance one of the mountains has a snow covered peak. But I don’t think it will be around much longer.
On my way to the bus I ran into Vuyo. Vuyo is the man who first showed me around Kayamandi 2 years ago, almost to the day. He told me he now has a son but I can’t remember his name. He told me that it translates to Embrace. These days Vuyo is working hard to start up his own tour company where he provides tours of Kayamandi. He was doing something similar two years ago but I think he is looking to reach more people and better his website. I’ll have to check out his site one of these days. He mentioned to me that next to the library there was a building that had Wi-Fi and that I’d be able to use it. I’m not 100% sure I was actually allowed to be where I was but I wasn’t about to start complaining. This place is just a couple blocks from where I’m staying and certainly beats having to travel all throughout Stellenbosch for a free signal.
I was able to get a lot done and even upload some pictures. But I didn’t want to push me luck to much so I eventually moved on to the city. I still needed to get a sim card and was still looking to buy a Wi-Fi modem for my lap top. Once I have the modem I’ll be able to do video chatting with people if they are interested and would be more than willing to set something up where my students could talk with you as well!
I got lucky finding a place to swap my sim card out for a cheap price but it took me three tries to find a store that would be able to help me with a modem. The first two places either required information I didn’t have, or were charging too much. While I was waiting in line at the last store I got a phone call from Isaac. He told me he was just getting back from a tour and that he’d come by Tuesday. Once I had everything I came for I made my way back to Kayamandi.
Once I got home I began setting up the modem to see how easy it would work. It shouldn’t be a problem, I’ll just have to watch how much data I’m using.
While I was setting it up I heard a knocking at my door. I told them it was open and in came Mawande. Since I had just got the internet working I figured I could show him the itinerary for the trip we’d be going on. I could tell he was really interested, especially in visiting the soccer stadium in Cape Town! I asked him if he’d like to walk around the Township since it’s been a couple years since I’ve been able to. We decided we’d walk to Riri’s house.
Earlier this year there was a fire that swept through Kayamandi. I read about it on the internet and quickly messaged Lelethu to see if everyone was alight. The Zulus were out of harm’s way but she wasn’t sure about the rest of the students I worked with. As it turns out, Riri’s and Ski’s homes both burnt down in the fire. I asked Riri about it but wanted to be careful not to ask too many questions. I figure it was best for him to tell rather than me to intrude. He told him it was very frightening and that the fire began in the night. Hundreds of shacks burnt down and those that lived there lost everything. There were two deaths in the fire but he didn’t know them personally. After the homes burnt down the town went about rebuilding.
It took some time for supplies to arrive but it sounded like they all helped each other out. Some clothes were donated and support was offered to those that required it. As we walked through the shacks to Riri’s home you could see where the fire had made way. Everything looked as if it had been burnt to a crisp. The street they live off of is called, Fire Street, and it’s been called that since the last time I was here. I imagine this isn’t the first time I fire has made its presence, but I hope it’s the last! While we were waiting outside of Riri’s home for Ski I got to see Riri’s younger brother. He’s grown up a lot in the past 2 years!
We headed down towards where Aphiwe lives but he wasn’t there when we arrived. At this point Mawande had already told both Ski and Riri about the trip plans and they were interested in seeing the itinerary themselves. On the way back to my place we ran into Aphiwe who had been looking for us. Aphiwe was another one of my students 2 years ago and was one of the brightest kids in the class. He’s a very hard working and smart young man. Upon seeing him he told me that he had gotten the letter I sent him! I can’t remember exactly when I sent these letters but I think it was back in March or April? Ski chimed in that he also received my letter! So out of 10 letters sent 2 of them made it haha. Those are actually better odds than I anticipated. Aphiwe told me that he tried to email me but I never responded. I’ll have to look into that, maybe it went to spam…
Back at my place I shared with them the itinerary for the trip and also the form I’d need their parents to sign. I also showed them the bracelets I’d be teaching them to make. They all seemed very much onboard with the ideas I was throwing at them!
Mama Zulu called me to dinner not long after this but I let them kids hang back and continue playing the games. I trusted them 2 years ago, why not now? For dinner I had rice, potatoes, fried chicken, and some sort of tangy coleslaw. It’s just me that eats at the table for dinners. Sometimes Papa Zulu joins me but not always. I think there are other volunteers that are arriving to stay here and I imagine I’ll start eating dinners with them. Regardless I was pretty keen on getting back to my room to make sure everything was in one piece still.
A lot of the Xhosa names in Kayamandi all mean something. They usually mean something pretty awesome. So two years ago when the kids wanted to know what my name meant I told them it meant, Worlds Strongest Man. This in turn proposed a challenge to the kids to try and take me down. 2 years ago this wasn’t that much of an issue. I’m pretty good at holding my own against a crowd of 10-12 year olds. Bump up the ages by a couple years and things become surprisingly harder. With all that being said, I still won! About this time I told them all I’d see them tomorrow but as for tonight I had to still shower and get some stuff done.