Day 5: Saturday, June 22, 2013
BLARGH! Why am I getting a sinus cold? Because I’ve been traveling and exposing myself to germs from all around the world? Possibly… good thing I’ve resolved not to put negative things in this journal. Only positive.
We leave in a half hour to start making our way to Lekubu. It’s a ways away, and we’ll have to make some stops. Terry gave me his recipe for Terry’s Spicy Coconut (1 shot spiced rum, 1 shot silver rum, fill glass half with coconut milk, fill the rest of the way with cola… there are plenty of variations. Spiced rum, coconut, and cola are the main idea here).
Orientation is over, and the real trip is beginning. The bus might be bumpy, but I’ll be a-scribblin’ right in these pages here. Maybe I’ll write some Chuggie notes. Maybe I’ll write a letter to Sat.
There are fences and walls around everything, topped often with coils of razor wire. Sometimes even electrified. Poverty breeds crime, and the unemployment rate here is somewhere between 40 and 50% according to the locals. And there are massive mine dumps around town. These are stadium-sized piles of rock excavated in decades past from the mines (gold, platinum, diamonds, etc.) that plunge miles into the ground. I saw some images from the interior of a Jo-burg gold mine at the Apartheid Museum, and it was horrifying. Hundreds of malnourished black men toiling in the dark. The railings were all made of chain, and death was easy to find. There’s big money here, despite the tin-shack shanty towns and the high unemployment. We just passed a shanty town, and now, a couple miles up the road, we’re passing a Mercedes Benz dealership next to a business park.
On the way to the village (still). Just saw two wildebeasts hanging out with a herd of goats. Just staring, motionless. They weren’t being chased by lions, so I guess they were having the time of their lives. Some of the trees look like frozen explosions.
Last night, before we left Johannesburg, I went on Amazon and bought some books for Jordy and his Mommy to enjoy in my absence. I don’t know how much I’ll be able to keep in touch with them.
Meeting with Bishop Dithale now. Before he arrived, we were visited in the meeting hall by a very interesting fellow with no front teeth. In other news, sometimes I have ideas that are so amazing I should punch my own face.
MADE IT TO LEKUBU! So much food, so much singing! The kids sing and dance and whoop it up. It’s amazing, the sound they generate. We were greeted twice today by singing crowds. It’s a pretty great feeling, like nothing I’ve ever experienced. When we got to Lekubu, it was dark. The church driveway was filled with smiling children. They started singing before we got out of the van. As soon as we stepped outside, we were swept up in a tornado of singing and hugging. There wasn’t much light, and the whole scene was dizzying. I’ll never forget it. Then we went into the fellowship hall for a late supper. The kids sang and danced for us, and I’ll never forget that, either.
Church tomorrow morning. I’m told it’ll probably last a few hours. It’s been a long day. A young man in our group named Chase (his foot is better) gets to share a room with me here at George and Keitumetse Rantao’s house. I’ll take photos tomorrow. Right now it’s late.
You’ll have to forgive the window reflection. I couldn’t tell it was doing that on my little camera screen. If I’d known, I would have taken the necessary steps. I’m sorry. These are various photos taken between Johannesburg and Rustenburg.At Lekubu, getting ready to have dinner and a show.Welcomed at Lekubu. These kids are about to blow the roof off this place.