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In only two short days my wife, Jillian, and I will be boarding a plane heading (in a long and roundabout way) to Bloemfontein, South Africa. It’s unbelievable! I’ve been thinking about this trip for almost three years now and it’s finally happening, but it doesn’t feel real at all. Since we’ve been busy with graduate school applications, dealing with sub-leasers, getting our visas, getting vaccines, managing time with our families, and so on, we’ve barely had time to think about where we’re going to be for the next six months.
Sorry it's been a while since I've posted; I've been really busy these past couple of days!
Kruger was amazing! We had the best time, I wish we could have stayed for longer... so here's how it went down :) :
When we arrived in Joburg we were taken to the Outlook Lodge where we would stay for the night before leaving for Kruger. It was such a sweet little place and Francois, the manager at the hotel, was so sweet. He made us the most delicious breakfast before we left on Friday morning!
A visit to the Sangoma...
Last Thursday I got a true taste of the diversity of South Africa. In the morning I visited asangoma and in the afternoon the Freshford Historic House Museum. Going from traditional African healer to an Edwardian style British house was quite the experience from the sights to the smells.
This post is about my visit to the sangoma. It was a completely out of the ordinary experience for me and something most visitors to South Africa will never get to see.
We went to see traditional Afrikaners folk dancing called volkspele.
Part of the reason I am in South Africa is to complete my Public History internship. Through the help and work of a couple of great people, I am interning at the National Museum here in Bloemfontein in the history department under the direction of Derek du Bruyn. I am working with him on the Batho Community History project which seeks to collect and research the political, cultural, and social history of Batho and its residents.
I recently came across an example of something the Obama administration is doing to improve the image of America abroad. Titled, "An American Perspective/A Perspective on America," the state department is creating Information Resource Centers in local libraries throughout the country. On the afternoon that I visited the library in Bloemfontein, the American corner was full of people.
There is a temporary exhibit at the National Museum on soccer (and yes, they call it soccer in South Africa) and the World Cup. The small exhibit highlights the evolution of the vuvuzela from kudu horn to plastic noise maker banned throughout the world.
Spur Steak Ranches...
There is this South African restaurant phenomenon called Spur Steak Ranches. They are all over the country and in some other African countries as well.
Basically, they are family friendly restaurants with an American Indian motif. They are really popular with families because each one has a kid's play room with nintendos and wiis and face painting.
Over this past weekend, Meaghan stayed in the hostel with me so we wouldn't be bored and transportation would be easier. Plus, we can access the internet in my dorm 24/7.
I have been in South Africa for three days. We haven't really done much, but organize ourselves to be here for six weeks, doing things like shopping for towels and purchasing cell phones. But all of these little things have been experiences to remember nonetheless.
Appalachian & the Community Together