Walnut Room this way

Walnut Room this way

Monday, January 18, 2010

A visit to Aunty's, and bits and pieces of the trip

When I first met Aunty Goliath in 2002, this young lady was just a toddler, and was quite fearful of me, though she allowed me to hold her briefly. I am amazed at what a beautiful young woman she has become, and how readily she interacts with me, seeing me only sporadically in between.
The younger children just find it fun that "Aunty Susan" is visiting, and love to have their picture made.

On of Aunty's foster children who has continued to live with her has a baby as well, which means about 19 people living in this small house in the community. Last year we raised funds for Aunty to buy a new stove as hers had broken (she feeds 50 children a day through a soup kitchen in addition to her own family and foster children) and she also bought a washing machine, dryer, and new beds and bedding for the children. With a baby in the house, the washing machine is very needed.
Trains are the primary means of travel for poor people in South Africa, and are fraught with danger, from crime as well as accidents. While we were there, a woman threw herself onto the tracks in front of a train, dragging several people into the path of the train with her. Two of the children from Marsh Memorial, where Lira works, were on the train going home for the holidays and saw the results, which were understandably very traumatic for them.
As we were leaving the community where Aunty lived, I noted this sign along a strip of shops, so Jeanne stopped for me to take a quick photo. It produced a smile from the gentleman getting into a car near us when I pointed to the sign.
On Thursday, Jeanne and I finally went to Eagles Rising, where she had a meeting for most of the day. I learned a bit about their work, which is done with young adults 18-21. Afterwards, we drove across the road to Sir Lowry's Pass Village, a township where the students from Eagles Rising do outreach. Eagles Rising will be building a resource center in SLPV soon, to be a further support to the community. As everywhere, the children always seem to want their picture made. I really only wanted to take a picture of these trees and the vacant lot which is where the resource center will be built, but I accommodated their request.
Strand, an ocean-side city near by, as we drove toward Stellenbosch and a quick visit to three of my favorite wineries, Annandale, Alto, and Bilton.
The winemaker was present at Annandale, and came over to meet with us and chat a moment, finding out where I was from and how I had learned about his wines. The Reserve is one of my favorites, with my favorite "sweaty saddle" nose, and the vintage was 2001--the year of my first visit to South Africa. I decided it was symbolic of the likelihood that this is also my last visit, so purchased a bottle for our final dinner the following night.
A bit further up the road is Alto, also one of my favorites.

These flowers are prolific all over the area.
Ah, the dreaded guinea fowl. Jeanne's lovely home is also home to a flock of guinea fowl who live in the trees behind her yard. At dusk and sometimes during the night and at dawn, they screech incessantly. We made many a joke about how to off guinea fowl. On our way to dinner one night, we discovered these giant guinea fowl statues, so thought it fitting to memorialize them in photograph on our final day as we were leaving to return to Courtney and Lira's and prepare for the flight home.
Although there has been much building of new housing along the N2, and it is billed as the N2 Gateway--from Shacklands to Dignity on the billboards, it is primarily concentrated immediately near the city from the airport--where travelers will drive as they enter for the World Cup--"2010." The majority of the townships appear to remain as they were.

This is an additional stadium, built in Athlone, near where I worked on my 2007 trip, and also not far from where Courtney and Lira live.

1 comment:

Betty said...

The children are beautiful! I love your pictures of the true life of South Africa. What amazing friends you have!