It feels as if life has just exploded here. My work and social calendar have gone from 0 to 60 lately, making me negligent, forgetful, and lazy to post. I’m so sorry for the overdue update. My latest personal and professional adventures consist of: an exploration of the Cape Peninsula and Franschhoek, a road trip to Transkei in the Eastern Cape, a camping trip with Green Pop to plant 3,000 trees, a visit with the BU study abroad group, and new developments in my responsibilities at the SAHRC. For now, though, I will just tell you of the wonders of the Eastern Cape.
My traveling has brought me to lovely parts of the nation, untouched by commercial development or western culture. Outside of the Western Cape, South Africa has a beauty truly foreign to my eyes.
Even though I traveled with other Americans and South Africans for several of my excursions, many of my needs were unexpected. For instance, for two days in Transkei I had no cell phone service. This was unfortunately not accounted for and led to many misadventures. After following landmark descriptive directions for about three hours in the dark wilderness (including a hour long wrong turn because our car couldn’t make it up a hill), my fellow comrades and I rolled up to Bulungula backpackers at 12:30am. Long story short we didn’t think things through and sent non-Xhosa speaking comrades to speak to the only Xhosa speaking villagers we woke up in the middle of the night. The result: sleeping in a tent/the car/fail. In the morning, we did realize that we,in fact, found Bulungula in the dark and we were camped in the middle of the school yard. The funniest part was that everyone went about their day like it was the most normal thing in the world.
While Bulungula provided a fairly difficult destination to get to (especially with the flood-washed Eastern Cape backroads in our cheap car), it was one of the most serene places I have beheld. The backpacker is essentially a social venture, empowering the local community by providing entrepreneurial services at the backpackers. I spoiled myself with a canoe trip, sunrise pancakes on the beach, and a massage. The BEST!
On the way home, we realized that cell phone service would have been helpful while our gas light was flashing about one hour away from the closest petrol station. However, our previous adversities made us innovative and strong. Well that and we were lucky. One of our comrades was African, so we had to rely on her to pull up to a shady minibus rank, speak broken Xhosa, and buy some greenish looking petrol to get us to the next garage.
Our road trip ended well, with me safely making it to the gas station and learning how to drive manual!