A Travellerspoint blog

Entries about beach

Week 3 - Check!

sunny 80 °F

Today I decided to take a morning off running and stationary bike instead. My legs were feeling a bit sore and banged up, so I thought ‘why not?’. At the morning meeting during breakfast, I learned my roommates and I would be having another visitor in our room for our last week…none of us were too happy – quite the opposite. It just seems weird to have a 47-year-old woman move in with a group of college students. Now we have 7 girls sharing one shower, so fingers crossed everything works out.

My first project today was my favorite: gardening! Yay! We built an entire garden, and then started raking dirt and picking up stones :D It sounds silly and looked silly, but the yard actually looked better when we had finished. Something funny was that we found like 10 marijuana plants on the property. I'd never seen one before. When we had finished, we took our gardening tools and a sugar cane (they grow everywhere so people are always eating them) and walked about 30 minutes to the highway to wait for the bus. It was really cool to walk through the villages because normally we are in the bus and only get out once we are at our project location. Across the street from where we were waiting for the bus was someone selling hand carved wooden bowls. They were gorgeous and I decided to buy one as a souvenir – of course I bartered for it! Ironically, the man I bought it from said he had remembered our project group from a clinic session we had previously given on vaginal thrush. I’m sure the topic is burned in his memory, as there were some graphic images included.

At lunch, I picked up what I hope was my last load of laundry while here. I think if worse comes to worst I will just hand wash anything else I may need. Afternoon project was Reading Club, which I honestly wasn’t too thrilled about because the projects that include children really drain me. Honestly, it was really fun, though – maybe that’s because only three girls came who were middle schoolers. When they came, they picked out some books and read out loud to us. Then they had some cookies and juice and left. It’s their holiday right now, so I feel like Reading Club is busier when school is in session. At this location, there is this HUGE storage tank just full of books. Unfortunately, the roof had rusted through and all of the books had been damaged by the rain. It was traumatizing to see such good books damp and mildewey. It reminded me of something that had happened to my family’s children’s books back home. Opening the trailer, a stench just hit us. We spent a lot of Reading Club taking out books and leaving them in the sun to dry.

Honestly, that was about all to my day. I got home and decided to run to the beach and back right before sunset (which was at 5:00PM since it’s the shortest day of the year today), ate dinner, and now am doing sudoku while Selma plays in the background. Tomorrow we go to our overnight safari and then only one week left!!

Posted by kfkeane 11:57 Archived in South Africa Tagged sunset home beach walk garden books safari run bike read volunteer movie souvenir sudoku Comments (0)

Hippos and Crocs

sunny 79 °F

I really enjoy our days off of project because it gives us time to explore the city and get to know each other better. I enjoy project days as well, but we are always so tired after working all day that we usually just eat dinner, turn on a movie, and call it a day.

Today we took our time waking up. As people started getting up, we all started swapping stories about our nights from the previous day. It’s always interesting to hear about people’s nights when they go out. After a while, I went for a run. Unfortunately, my stomach felt super sour and so I had to make a couple of emergency bathroom breaks. My stomach has not been cooperating since I’ve been here. I don’t know if I have traveler’s diarrhea or if it’s just because I’ve been eating different foods. Even though my stomach felt pretty sour still, my friends were going to the beach and I can never pass up an opportunity to go to the beach. It’s always worth it. We just relaxed on the beach while listening to music. Although…it was so windy that I left with sand in every crevice of my body and when I moved my jaw, I could feel sand crunching between my teeth. Like I said, though, worth it!

We barely made it back in time for the bus to the hippo and croc tour. That was so cool! We saw a Nile Crocodile and tons of hippos. Some of the crazy things I learned about hippos were that they can run up to about 45-50 miles/hour, are vegetarians (except when they are trampling a human), are the second most deadly animal in South Africa (right after the mosquito), live up to about 50 years of age (males live longer than females), can’t swim (they walk on the bottom of the lake and jump to the surface to breathe), and there’s only one dominant male and he breeds with all of the female hippos. That was a lot but it’s so interesting!!!

I’m back at the Lodge now. My running buddy here decided to surprise me and make me a dinner of rice, eggs, peppers, and mushrooms, so I had that, which was really yummy. We are about to go stretch and do abs. Then I’m hoping we can watch a movie tonight. Love movie night – especially since one of my fellow volunteers taught me how to make the perfect stove-top popcorn!

Posted by kfkeane 09:43 Archived in South Africa Tagged beach lake rice interesting breakfast dinner weather morning crocodile warm coffee hippo abs running eggs stomach Comments (2)

A Braai and a Purge

semi-overcast 65 °F

Today was a bit different than normal. In the Zulu community, there is a Chief who governs three villages, and then a King who is head of seven villages. The King recently died and his funeral was today. A lot of people in the Lodge went to the funeral. I decided not to go because 1) it was 7 hours long 2) all in Zulu. I am very happy with my decision. I slept in an until 7:30. Then the people who stayed home cleaned the Lodge. I decided I would sweep the floors and organize the living/dining space. It was so much fun! We had a great playlist and the company was just as great. After cleaning, a couple of us went for a run. I saw a small pack of Impala, which are kind of like South African deer, in the same place I'd seen the Zebra the day before. Also, the funniest thing happened when I finished my run. A couple of teenage African boys were walking past, and they tend to stare at white women, so of course they were basically gawking at me. All of a sudden I hear this big "thwack!". One of the boys had run into a stop sign while gawking at me and had fallen to the ground. It was hilarious. The rest of the afternoon was really enjoyable. I think today was my favorite day here yet.

After lunch, I FaceTimed my sister. It was so good to catch up with her and I loved seeing her and my dogs. My friend and I walked to the beach afterwards and as always, it was gorgeous. It was pretty chilly today, though, and my hands didn't warm up until about 9PM - mostly because when I got home I showered, and there is no hot water here, so I only became colder. The good thing is that after my shower I had dinner to look forward to. The lodge was hosting a Braai tonight, which is the South African version of a BBQ. We had chicken shish kabobs, cole slaw, grilled corn, potato salad, sausage, and drinks. It was soooo much fun! I think we are going to try and do it again the Friday before leaving. After the Braai, everyone decided to start making mixed drinks and then decided to go out to the bar. St. Lucia is popping this weekend because the Harley Davidson's of South Africa are staying across the street and are throwing quite the party. I stayed back from the bar with three others and we watched The Purge. The movie is freaky but pretty good. At one point, though, I went to get snacks and one of the friends who had stayed behind with us was drunk and decided it would be funny to get a mask and scare me...it worked. I seriously let out the most realistic, blood-curdling scream ever! I'm not sure that friend has drank much before because it felt like we were taking care of an elementary schooler the entire night. It made for good memories, though, and I'm glad I had some other people to help. Honestly, they were much better at dealing with the situation than me.

All in all, today was a great day. I'm looking forward to a good night's sleep and the Hippo and Croc tour tomorrow. Goodnight all. Sweet dreams of things not related to masks and purges.

Posted by kfkeane 13:10 Archived in South Africa Tagged water beach drink king friends sun party sleep bar relaxing bbq meat volunteer cold movie braai grill popcorn harley_davidson kabob Comments (2)

Not Sure How To Feel About It

sunny 80 °F

WIFI IS BACK ON!!!! It came on right before dinner.

So my alarm went off this morning and every being in my body wanted to go back to bed. I didn't, though, because I was supposed to meet three other people to run. The sun began to rise, though, and no one had shown up, so I went off on my own. I ended up seeing one of them along the way. I'm glad I got out running, but I think I'm going to take the day off tomorrow and sleep in.

Running has been nice on this trip because it has kept me relaxed. We sit a lot and I would be so antsy if I didn't exercise. After running, I took my laundry in for the first time. It was washed, folded, and ready by 1PM. For morning project, I was on wound care. I thought it was going to be very gruesome, like an episode of Grey's Anatomy, but it was much more doable than I had expected. This project really made me question volunteering abroad though. There were four of us students with a caregiver. It felt like we were extra, in the way. It was also weird because they had so few supplies. Like latex gloves, for example. I really didn't feel comfortable working around the bloody/open wounds without using gloves. This made me question the work we were doing. The more I thought about it, the more I realized what bothered me about this experience in general. We spent an entire semester before leaving for the Africa learning about responsible volunteering, and it feels like we are breaking all of those rules. We never communicate with the locals. Of course, this is hard because of the language barrier, but we never listen to what the people actually want. For example, when we were giving a lesson on healthy eating at the clinic the other day, a woman said, "next time you come, bring healthy food for us". They don't want to be lectured about how to eat healthy; they want access to healthy foods. Obviously, the biggest problems require changes at a government level, but I feel like we would be doing more good if we built community gardens and taught yoga classes. Show them how to live healthy lives rather than just reading facts about it. Rant on that over.

New rant. The food situation. I feel like an animal because I'm always worried if there is going to be enough food. All of us feel that way, especially now that a new family just came to the Lodge. Also, there is never meat in the meals!!!! It's driving me crazy! I can't live off of meals of potatoes and rice! It's okay. Things are pretty good here. Before dinner, we took a walk to the beach and just sat there soaking in the last rays of daylight. That always makes for a good end to the day. We are currently watching Moana and I found some pretty good microwave popcorn to eat while I listen to the movie and play Sudoku. Feeling content, and having wifi definitely helps!

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Posted by kfkeane 11:50 Archived in South Africa Tagged sunset beach friends sun run hot relax experience volunteer movie exercise early Comments (6)

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