A Travellerspoint blog

Entries about dinner

Thanda 6.4

This is the title because originally we were planned to go to a reserve called Thanda, but they were all booked, so Rhino River Lodge was the second option, but for the longest time we weren't sure if we were going to be able to go on the safari.

sunny 78 °F

It’s Sunday night, and I’m back at the Lodge after going on a weekend Safari at Rhino River Lodge. It was…one of the greatest experiences of my entire life. It’s impossible to capture the experience, but I’ll try to give a description of our schedule to try and give a picture of it. All in all, it was about a 24-hour experience; we left the Lodge at 11AM, arrived by 1PM, then left the next day (today) at 11. We got there and immediately were greeted with lemonade refreshments and cool towels to wipe our faces with. That’s when I first sensed this safari experience was going to be better than I imagined. The property was gorgeous. I roomed with three other people and our “Chalet”, as it was called, had two floors, bath and shower, coffee/tea/biscuits, and a huge living room with plush couches. We did have a couple of visitors being many crickets and a gecko in the bath tub – the real wildlife experience. Now, the rooms we stayed in were on the game reserve, so when night came, we had to be escorted by guards because there was a risk of wild game (which we saw impala and many warthogs). At 1:30PM we were served an amazing lunch of cheeseburgers/cheesecake and then went on our first safari at 3PM. We were on the drive for about 4 hours. I have never been so content and calm in a car for that long. When we finished I thought it had only been 30 minutes. It was nice because we stopped halfway on this grassy plain by this rock that looked like Pride Rock from The Lion King. We were given free drinks (I had a tequila mixed with Passion Fruit granita) and snacks. Our guide’s name was Stuart. We are now following each other on Instagram. He was amazing. His specialty is the Big 5, so we ended up seeing every animal from the Big 5 except a panther. My favorite favorite favorite animal we saw was a momma cheetah. She was a queen. So gorgeous. I made sure to take notes on every animal we saw as Stuart explained facts about them. When we got back, dinner was chicken or lamb and then a dessert.

This morning, we were served muffins and coffee/tea at 6AM before leaving for our morning game drive at 6:30. It was insanely cold! Right off the bat we saw a hyena, which was a big surprise because they are nocturnal. It looked mean, but it was pretty stocky, which is different than how The Lion King portrays them. We were out another four hours and our goal today was to spot a rhino. We saw momma cheetah again which was cool, but I was worried we wouldn’t see a rhino because we were heading back to the lodge and had only seen outline of two from a long distance. Suddenly, over the radio our guide got word of a White Rhino. We were lucky enough to see it! It had its horns cut to help prevent poaching. Our guide was such a daredevil. He went off the path and got way closer than they are supposed to get. Our car was full of girls and we all trusted him at that point and were like “get closer! Go Stuart!”. When we got back, we were served another huge breakfast. I swear, I could never in my wildest dreams imagine how amazing that safari was going to be. And to think, I wasn’t going to sign up to go because of the price, but all of my friends told me that if I never had the opportunity to return to South Africa, I would regret not going on one. Really, this safari was super cheap for everything that was included. I swear, if the doctor thing doesn’t work out, you’ll be able to find me on the safari being a ranger. It was a once-in-a-lifetime, beyond expectations experience that no one should miss out on.

Posted by kfkeane 09:37 Archived in South Africa Tagged sunset queen breakfast dinner safari lodge chicken drive cheetah game coffee rhino tequila volunteer cold cricket hyena golden_hour big_5 muffin Comments (2)

Give It Time

sunny 75 °F

I’m a little surprised by myself. I keep waking up so tired and feeling unmotivated, but I stay dedicated and run each morning. I enjoy running so much and I am always grateful when I do it, but it’s so hard to get excited and pumped to run early in the morning. Most days, I think of my mom and how she works all day but continues to wake up every day at about 5 AM to do her runs. She motivates me to run the most out of anything, especially since she is running her first ½ marathon this weekend. She has no idea how proud I am of her. It’s making me so sad to not be there and I think of her accomplishments every day.

So something I’ve been talking about in my blogs a little bit is how I don’t feel welcomed in the community. Today, my perspective changed a little. I was walking around before dinner and realized that less people were staring at me and more were saying hello to me. I’ve noticed people are really happy when I greet them in Zulu. While walking, I decided that because I’m always out running/walking through town, people see me and recognize me (I stand out like a sore thumb with my hair/skin color) and have noticed I’m not just here for a week, but more permanent. As reinforcement of this point, I was almost home, and a security guard at the Lodge next door waved and stood up to talk to me more. He said he sees me running every morning and can tell I have an energy and love of running. I learned his name is Talent and that he lives in the nearby village Khula. I told him a little about myself and said I’d see him tomorrow! I left that conversation with renewed energy, just so happy.

Honestly, the biggest thing I think I’m learning from this trip is patience. Everything takes time. It took me about 2 weeks to stop feeling homesick and it took until almost the end of week 3 to feel welcomed in the community. It’s all just an adjustment.

Something I don’t think I’ll ever become accustomed to, though, is the germs that children carry!! This morning I was working at Holiday Club (basically day care). Here is just one example. A kid had come up to me wanting to hold hands and jump on me. I let him, of course. Then, five minutes later, I see him peeing in the grass and then fondling his junk for about 3 minutes. I’m still horrified. Needless to say, I disinfected up to my shoulders when I got home, because you know if one child is doing it, they all are.

The afternoon was chill, though. I had gardening, my absolute favorite! All we did was water the community garden we had helped plant the first week. The plants are really growing quickly! Then we sat on a hill and chilled and talked while waiting for the bus. Dinner was great; I had beef (yay red meat!), and now we are just getting ready for karaoke night. Still not sure how to feel about it. I could totally go for just eating and playing sudoku while a movie plays in the background, but I’m sure this will be interesting too.

Update: Sang Hips Don't Lie and A Whole New World

Posted by kfkeane 11:01 Archived in South Africa Tagged food water friend garden dinner run time karaoke beef volunteer zulu patience adjustment germs Comments (2)

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)

The Team, The Team, The Team

rain 65 °F

Today has really tested my ability to ride the wave of life. My first clue of the ups and downs I was to face for the day was during my run; I had such a high when I ran within 50 meters of a group of zebras, including a baby zebra. They look exactly like striped horses and seem nice enough. Then I found a 50 cent South African rand. The down part was that it started to torrentially downpour during the last 15 minutes of my run. Now for the actual ups and downs of my day though.

My first project was a clinic session. It was the translator, our supervisor, my volunteer partner, and me and we were telling information to the patients in the waiting room about vaginal thrush. We were at the clinic from 9-11:30, and finished giving the talks after about 30 minutes, so we went to the reception area to assist in taking patient vital signs (blood pressure, temperature, pulse, height, and weight). It was our first time at this clinic and we had never had an orientation on how the clinic takes vital signs. To add to this, no patient information is stored electronically, and every patient brings their patient files into the room and every folder looks different. It's very disorganized. Not to mention, the nurses are all able to speak English, but choose to speak to us in Zulu, well aware we don't speak the language. It felt like a power move, like to emphasize that we were in their place. So going into the clinic, all we knew was which vitals we were taking (not how to run the machines or which patients get which vitals - because apparently babies and adults require different vital signs to be taken, which we know now) and to mark the vitals that were out of the healthy range in red pen (we weren't shown the healthy ranges, which were later shown to us after we had mistakenly recorded a high BP in black pen). The entire time the nurses were very huffy, rolling their eyes, scoffing, and snapping at us. I was rolling with the punches until the nurse snapped at me for saying the weight of a baby, which didn't make sense because 5 seconds later she said the exact same weight of the baby. My partner and I felt so dejected. We were working so hard, even trying to speak Zulu and smile to the patients, but the nurses were making sure we felt like imbeciles. It was a really depressing experience because we felt unwanted even though we were doing all we could to be helpful. The part I don't understand is that when we were leaving, the nurse requested we stay to do one more patient. I don't know how to read it, but I have to think something bad had happened in their lives and they were just frustrated that they continuously have to keep reteaching new volunteers such a simple job, because it does get easier the more you do it...but it was just our first time.

My partner and I were very quiet and sad for most of the afternoon. I just wanted to be alone, so I went on a walk and listened to music, which helped a bit. What really helped was being surrounded by such positive people. In the clinic, our supervisor kept reassuring us that we were doing a really good job and being very efficient, and we kept reassuring each other that it was going to be okay, then when we got back to the lodge, everyone was asking what happened and if we wanted to talk about it. I never know how project is going to go, but I love knowing that I have a place to come back to with lots of friends who will go out of their way to make me feel better :)

The afternoon was like night and day to the morning session. I went to building/gardening!! We helped Lucky, a Zulu man who works with African Impact, build a table from scratch for a woman to sell her vegetables on. Then we went to another woman's garden to pick weeds and plant seedlings. I love the hands-on work and I love that Lucky is all business. He's very quiet but gets serious work done. I also feel like when you finish gardening/building, you leave something physical behind that you know will help someone -- the other projects you never know whether they are doing any good.

We finished out the night with a big trivia game night at the Lodge. Everyone joined in. Our team unfortunately came in fourth out of six teams, but it was really fun :) Later, we did some girl talk in one of the rooms and watched the movie "Us". I have to say today turned into a gorgeous day (not weather wise because the rain never did clear). Thanks to my friends and teammates here in South Africa, I am going to adapt to life here and have a good time.

609186a0-8e18-11e9-b7d5-ffb8a6b1543c.png
Picture of game night!

Posted by kfkeane 12:31 Archived in South Africa Tagged rain tea friends dinner run weather zebra volunteer clinic thriller trivia teammates vitals game_night Comments (2)

(Entries 1 - 4 of 4) Page [1]