Sunday, 5 October 2008

Time flys

When I counted back how much I have been doing for the last 6 weeks, I had a fright. I have covered 6 different South African territories, taken 5 internal flights, had 4 hours sleep for 4 consecutive nights, driven nearly 10 000 k's and had 1 day off. Healthy? No. Enjoyable? I think so, when I get a moment to reflect I'll let you know.
Notable highlights?
Attending an aerobics class and being the only white person in the studio, let alone the gym.
Breaking down (running out of petrol) and being 'saved.' The man who 'saved' me, has turned out to be a great contact. Not only for touch rugby team, but for potential living space and for having a bakkie. Last week was the National Cup of Heroes competition... hence the no sleep. The Finals were arranged for Loftus Versfeld stadium in Pretoria.. fantastic for the kids. On the Saturday we realise we have no way to transport the nets for soccer and netball. A phone call later he saves the day for Score as well. The journey with the soccer nets was most memorable. Geoff and I standing up in the back of the truck, holding the soccer posts down with all our weight, whizzing along the highway. Safety first right?!
Having my volunteers describe me as a 'tree of life.' The body of the tree they drew to represent me was the trunk with 'reliable' on, the branches had many other descriptive words that apparently summed up me. Very flattering.
Attending a Spanish Embassy function, dancing to Jazz and pretending to be the fifth wife of a South African Chief.
Leaning back and breaking a chair at said function...
Sneaking into the Union Buildings (South African Parliament) on the day the President Mbeki was asked to step down, using charm to infiltrate the first layer of security. Subsequently appearing on Sky News..
Wearing my orange outfit (thanks Dad) to a cultural evening and being asked to go and stage in it.. to receive some applause.
Running the quickest 10k I ever have, BYE BYE typhoid.
Knowing the girls will be here in a few weeks
Sleeping for 16 hours, and feeling like I had woken out of a coma.
I am surviving. I sometimes cannot believe quite how much I have learnt, about development, South Africa and myself. The scary but also intriguing part is that there is much more still to come.. Everyday seems to through a new challenge, pose a new question and require a serious amount of introspection. Being here, I realise how many of my thoughts, my morals and my norms are a result of cultural socialisation, of thinking that the way I knew, is the only way. This is not true. I do not know exactly where this adventure will lead, but I am holding on because I feel like I need to know.

3 comments:

donbarrell said...

"Being here, I realise how many of my thoughts, my morals and my norms are a result of cultural socialisation, of thinking that the way I knew, is the only way."

There is always another way, but is it the right way?

Marte :) said...

sisi, I'm so jealous of you. It sounds like you are having a great time. I'm surviving, still waiting on the world to change :) cheers my love. send me that email soon!xxx

menopausaloldbag (MOB) said...

This is a really interesting post in that your growth in cultural terms is clearly evident – I hope you don’t mind me saying that as it may assume a rather familiar tone which you might be uncomfortable with. It is a fascinating journey having assumptions challenged by new cultures and belief systems that are so very different to Western ideology. In one sphere we see that so much of a new culture is challenging, interesting and workable for that demographic and that there are parts of it that our own societal model would benefit from such as more shared values and goals and working together as a cohesive group to achieve that.

Our western ideology in the UK and the States is very much based around the success of the individual and the competitive lone struggle to get there. This creates a selfish me,me,me environment and the fallout tends to be a selfish society that loses touch with the need to help others. It would seem that the cultural values where you are, are based upon a more inclusive model. In my travels over the years I found other cultures fascinating but at the same time I was assured that people are the same the world over regardless of colour, creed, culture. They want security, food, warmth, laughter and love in their lives. If only we could get politicians to fully understand that!

I almost joined the VSO over twenty years ago so your journey is very interesting to me from that perspective. Good luck with your journey.