A Travellerspoint blog

Never Just Another Day

sunny 73 °F

I started the morning with some bad omens: I saw a dead baby monkey, a dead baby snake, and then an entire flock of very angry monkey were bringing their fight straight towards me and I thought they were going to bring me into the fight (I was picturing the Hunger Games monkey attack scene the whole time).

Actually, the day ended up being pretty nice. It was actually…normal (?) or as normal as life gets in South Africa. I went to support group in the morning. We waited about an hour in a shed just talking to each other while the translator/local went and picked up all of the women. I didn’t mind because once project officially begins, the time can go pretty slowly, so having some time to talk with everyone was nice. Our topic at support group today was “gender equality”. We asked them to tell us expectations they have for males and females, then asked them how they’d feel if we switched the expectations between genders. Honestly, I think these women were already pretty progressive. They come to support group every week and have been going for years, so they are exposed to talking about topics that may typically be considered uncomfortable. I’m continuously impressed with the progress South Africa has made since becoming independent, which happened recently (1994). Every generation seems to be growing upon the progress that was previously made. It’s rapid and it’s impressive.

Afternoon was chill as well. We did a clinic session on healthy eating. Basically, we read an information sheet (one that was prepared during our planning session on Monday afternoon) and the translator read it to the patients in the waiting room. I always wonder what she is saying though :D because she seems to be saying a lot more words than we read. When we finished, we went to this roadside store called a “Tuck Stop”. They are scattered throughout the villages and sell pop, chips, candy, and this thing called a combo which is a sweet roll and chili fries (I know – kind of random). Unfortunately, I gave in and drank my entire water bottle during project, and I just couldn’t hold it in any longer, so I used the porta potty. I just had to believe in myself because my legs were shaking as I squatted in the tiny, rusted, smelly john. The relief I felt was worth it, though.

Now I’m just waiting for dinner, which thankfully is something I can eat again (ground beef). Since being home from afternoon project, I went for a short walk, did some abs/stretching, and wrote some thank-you notes. After dinner I’m hoping for popcorn, movie, and doing some research on asking companies to donate goods for causes (I’m trying to compose an email to send to dental hygiene companies asking for toothbrushes that African Impact can give to children in preschools here). That’s about it for me! Veeeeery tired though.

Posted by kfkeane 09:35 Archived in South Africa Tagged food death expectations care volunteer session healthy preschool equality pride gender toothbrush omen

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I was a little worried with the title and the first paragraph - they sounded pretty ominous. But, I'm glad that the day turned out better than expected!

I can definitely relate to that porta potty story though! In Korea, they had three toilet types. One was the uber-fancy toilet (heated toilet seat, bidet, the works!), the next was a standard toiled (like we would use at home), and finally, the squatty potty (hole in ground). I was lucky to only have to use the squatty potty a couple times (they didn't have it at my school), but at some people's schools that was the only option or they only had like one regular toilet. But depending on the time of month or day (think post-morning coffee), definitely thankful for classic sitting toilets.

by Kaitlin

Kaitlin: How often did you use the deluxe one? Yah, the once-a-monthly wouldn't be fun on a squatty potty for sure!

by kfkeane

We didnt have a deluxe one at our school. So I just used them when I ran into them. Typically at a nice place like a department store or something.

by Kaitlin

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