Isaac and I had talked about traveling somewhere today but he messaged me in the morning that he would no longer be able to go. After having breakfast I headed over to the trust center where I’d be able to respond to Thursday’s emails. While at the trust center I ran into Eric who was going through his first day orientation. It seems like things are going pretty well for him so far and I’m happy that I’ll be able to help make his transition to Kayamandi even easier.
After sometime I walked back to the Zulu’s because I was ready for some lunch. Mama Zulu made me some grilled cheese and I joined Papa Zulu at the table. We often talk while at the table, or rather he talks and I listen, but it’s usually about pretty generic stuff. He’s a big fan of tennis and cricket and I think the US open for tennis is going on right now. Today’s conversation took a turn though. There are some pictures on a nearby table and Papa Zulu asked me if I recognized the people in them. There was a picture of Lelethu as a young girl, Bucha from last year, a few family photos, and a much older photo that a presumed to be Mama and Papa Zulu. He confirmed that it was him and that the picture above it was of his father. This started to get us talking about how long Papa Zulu has lived here. This turned out to be one of the most enlightening conversations I’ve ever had. Papa Zulu was born in 1940 and was one of the first people to settle in Kayamandi. He spoke of a very different place when he was much younger. The information he was sharing with me was incredibly interesting but the way he delivered it was what had me on the edge of my seat. This man has some serious passion and has lived through a lot. Life in South Africa was much different before the apartheid and before Nelson Mandela came into action. This is the life he shared with me. Back when Kayamandi was very new he told me his first home was a white tent. And he continued to add things to his tent to make it homier. Candles and blankets were a start. He told me that most black children didn’t continue education after the age of 12 because there were no jobs for them. Papa Zulu got his first job in 1958 working just around the corner of Kayamandi at, what sounded like, a factory. His job was to tape something to the barrels that were being transported. For his work he would get paid a wage of 1 pound 1 penny a week, or 4 pounds 4 pennies a month. He told me that he would give his money directly to his grandmother who cared for him. Later in his life he worked at a mechanics shop but since blacks were not allowed to work on the cars he was only able to fetch the tools and bring them to the white mechanic. Over time though, many of the helpers learned the trade from watching. It wasn’t until the 1980’s that he was finally able to buy a home and he has since put in a lot of time and effort into renovating what it is today. He truly does have a beautiful home here in Kayamandi. He said it’s very important to him that he knows his kids will have a home they can live comfortably in. The Zulu’s hospitality is certainly what has helped make my experiences so great. They are wonderful hard working people that I can now call family. Our conversation went on past an hour before we both got called in for something. This was also one of those times where I was on the right side of African Time. It’s more important to spend that quality time with someone than it is to be where ever you have to be.
In my case I had some students that had come over and since I knew I was going to be headed to Frisbee practice around 4:45 I figured I should give them some time beforehand. This time was spent working on more bracelets, and of course playing on my ipad. Bucha is my youngest bracelet maker! And he is wearing his new bracelet with pride!
Eric decided he would join for Frisbee practice in the evening and together we walked to the entrance of the township where Hendri would be picking us up. It’s be really great having Hendri able to give us rides or else we’d have some very long walks. Tonight’s practice was all about drills and conditioning which meant a lot of running and both myself and Eric feeling very exhausted once all was said and done. I took the picture on the left to show the mountain I climbed from a different angle. And following that picture is one I’m quite fond of. Same mountain, same big rock, totally different perspectives. Isn’t that what life is all about?
As soon as we got home Mama Zulu had dinner ready for us and we dove right in. We ate everything she put in front of us and we absolutely cleaned our plates. Our dinner was fried chicken, mama’s mashed potatoes, baked beans, white rice, and some sort of warm coleslaw that tasted very good. No picture to go with tonight’s dinner because the food didn’t last long enough. I’m gonna need these frisbee practices to keep myself from getting fat!
Our evening was pretty tame as we were both really wiped. I told the kids we could go play frisbee in the morning and new they would come early. After updating everything I could I fell asleep very quickly.