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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 Mix of Work and Fun

semi-overcast 66 °F

So it has been a busy last couple of days. On Friday, I spent some time at a preschool teaching shapes and the alphabet and playing games and singing songs with the local children. In the afternoon, I helped lead an information session on HIV/AIDS at the local clinic to the village caregivers. I learned SO much about it. Like I didn’t know that you can live with HIV if you get treatment but once it progresses to AIDS, which is the 3rd stage of the disease, it is completely fatal.

Saturday started off as a really great day. I FINALLY SLEPT IN!!!!! Went for a run and met the rest of my cohort at the beach. A couple waves demolished me, but still had the time of my life! The beach is my happy place here. Went for a nice, long walk along the beach and saw a family slaughtering chickens on the shore. Supposedly it’s cleaner, so that’s why they do it. We then walked back to the lodge, about 30 minutes, and I was able to FaceTime audio my parents!! Hearing their voices made me start to tear up; it has been so long. I was so happy! I rode that mood to Zulu Cultural Night…where it quickly faded. It started to rain as soon as we arrived. The beginning of the night was kind of interesting because we got to learn about the traditional Zulu culture; we wore some of the traditional dress, partook in dancing, and at dinner, but it felt like they were selling their culture, which was a bit of a turnoff. The activities ended at 7:30 but we were there until 9AM the next morning. We sat around a bonfire and played Mafia and most of us didn’t sleep at all. It was a bit uncomfortable because we were in a really unsafe area. I could hear EDM music all night, animals howling and cooing, and then when I was lying in bed, one of the male employees walked into our hut on accident (yes, we stayed in the traditional huts), and it was very awkward. None of us felt comfortable the entire night and barely slept. I did make me grateful for the lodge though :D

Today was pretty good as well. Took a relaxing morning. Ran and saw some monkeys having sex and a snake. Tried to do laundry but the not so “7 days/week” laundromat was closed…guess I’ll do it tomorrow? Made avocado toast and eggs for lunch then got to not only talk to my parents but see them as well today because I found strong enough wifi to FaceTime. Tried to see the sunset at the jetty but just missed it. Whatever. I have many more days to make it happen. I’m so sad that I have to wake up early again tomorrow, but then it’ll make me more grateful for sleeping in on the weekends. Hopefully everyone back home is doing well. I think of you all often. XOXO

Posted by kfkeane 11:48 Archived in South Africa Tagged monkeys sunset traditional hut south_africa zulu eggs preschool early avocado Comments (3)

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