Wow. Where to start? A lot has happened since my departure last Tuesday, April 14th…
For starters my flight from Dubai to Durban ended up being an hour late upon arrival due to being re-routed because the flight path was headed for newly restricted airspace. This was a little unsettling as I pondered what recent developments might have occurred to restrict airspace on such short notice- but away we went non-the-less.
Upon landing, I was greeted by two amazing individuals (Annita and Kenny) who I’ve since been referring to as my host parents. Their hospitality has been nothing short of exceptional. They’ve spoiled me with traditional home cooked meals, chauffeured me around town, and have given me sound advice on how to navigate the cultural and physical nuances of this foreign world.
I had the privilege to meet Joyce, their black housemaid. Ashamed to admit my own ignorance, I first thought she might be their slave (hahaha silly me). Upon further discovery it was clear this was not the case. You see, there are so many black folks in this area who are competing for jobs that they practically beg to be employed. The unfortunate reality is that many of them do not have a proper education to obtain higher level jobs. This problem is further compounded by what the locals refer to as “Xenophobic Violence” which is what happens when blacks from neighboring (and even poorer) countries migrate to South Africa for better jobs and living conditions. The South African locals, whom are already overcrowded now have even more people to compete with for these low level jobs. A lot of violence and death has occurred as a result of it.
We drove Joyce to the bus stop and on the dive over we saw a man lying halfway in the street (still in the wealthier part of town) on his back with one foot dangling on the road over the curb- we thought he might be dead, but Annita said he was probably just drunk. I was trying to make small talk with Joyce and I asked her if she had any siblings. She said she had 8 brothers and sisters including her parents- all of whom died except for her and one other sister- I didn’t have the nerve to ask what happened to the others. I did ask to take her picture for my blog, but she respectfully declined.
I digress. Enough with the doom and gloom of politics, and in the words of Paul Harvey, on with “the rest of the story”.
My first full day in Durban was a total blur. I went to bed around 11pm the night before and didn’t wake up until 2pm on Friday when Annita knocked politely on my door, asking if I had died. I felt like I had. Jet Lag is no joke folks. My body would remain in a vampiric (yes, I just made that word up) state for the next 5 days, where I would only be fully awake at night. Eventually though, I more or less converted into a normal, functioning, human being by the time of writing this post. One thing is for sure, this country is absolutely stunning.
For those who don’t know, the first part of my trip involves attending a very special gathering with members of my church which happens once a year in various locations throughout the world. This year I was fortunate enough to attend such a gathering here in South Africa. Regardless of your personal beliefs about God and religion, there are many good things I would like to share with you (hopefully without coming across as being preachy).
On Sunday, April 19th my host parents and I drove about an hour into the country for my first ever experience attending an “all black” church gathering or “convention” as we call it. I should clarify, it was mostly black folks in attendance because everything was spoken in Zulu language and then translated into English for the few of us foreigners. It was held in a humble old warehouse looking building which held about 100 of us, all united together to hear and learn more about God. The thought that impressed me was the fact that several of our white ministers had taken the time to learn and speak fluently in the Zulu tongue so that they could communicate and have fellowship with these needy people- of course they do this all without getting paid a nickle. Mathew 10:8 “…freely ye have received, freely give.”
The next few days I will be spending my days at another church gathering such as this, except the services will be spoken in English- Yes! After that, I will be joining my host parent’s son and personal friend, Wesley for several weeks of touring around this beautiful country!
Until next time,