After long hours of travel by bus and car, here I am in the northern-most part of South Africa in a town called Masealama. With many stops that dotted the journey from Pietermaritzburg to here, it is nice to finally call Masealama home for the next ten months. I would try to describe the layout and look of the town, but I cannot physically see the place at the moment. You see, at this time of the year, early spring, there is a fine layer of mist and clouds that cover the homes and buildings around Masealama. What a shocker, I know! Despite my own romantic expectations of sunshine hitting my face as I stepped out of the car to be greeted by a stampede of children, what I saw was quite the opposite. Throughout the months to come, I am sure there will be plenty of sunny days and fun times with the children of the town. For now, life consists of getting oriented to the magical place of Masealama. Stay tuned for more details! And now, time for a tidbit on how I got here…
Three of us left Pietermaritzburg last Monday, September 3rd and we made our way up north. Two of us were headed for Johannesburg and another was going to Pretoria. I stayed the night in Soweto with a fellow volunteer where I saw a little of the vast township. The section of Soweto where we stayed was in the middle of the township high on a hill. As we walked to a nearby restaurant for dinner, we could view the bright stars of lights of the houses that dotted the landscape. Off in the distance we also could view the stadium in Joburg where the 2010 FIFA World Cup final between the Netherlands and Spain was played out. What a lovely stay it was.
The next morning, a generous person who works for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in South Africa drove me to the bus station in Jo-burg. As it turned out, I had lost my ticket on the way up, so I had no way to get to Polokwane, the next leg of the journey five hours further to the north. My heart started thumping harder and harder as I thought I might not be able to reclaim my ticket. Further, I thought that if I tried to buy a new ticket they would tell me that the bus was full. Oh what anguish!
Whew! The rather stern worker at the counter let me slide with a re-printed ticket. I kicked myself for how much I worried over such a small thing. After arriving in Polokwane, I was greeted by a friend of my host. She took me to her work place from the bus station and asked me if I wanted to go to the gym after work…. “what?!” I thought. “The gym?” Indeed, as soon as she was finished with work we went to a “Virgin Mobile Fitness Center”…which just so happened to be across the street from another stadium that participated in housing the 2010 World Cup. Soon thereafter, my host came to pick me up and we went to her house with the promise that I would get to Masealama that next morning.
When I awoke I was greeted by my host’s three year-old son, who is quite a wiry fellow. Over the span of a couple of hours, we ate breakfast, I picked my host’s son up and twirled him a few times, let him play with the beeping features on my watch, and I finished packing my things before we left. “Ok, off to Masealama!” I thought as we stepped out of the house. Once again, against my expectations, we went to a woman’s meeting with ELCSA pastors. “Ok, just another thing before we go to Masealama…no big deal”. Five or six hours later, we finally arrived in Masealama! What a joy!
I am now settled in and am ready to get started. I have met some people already, which has been very fun. Where this next year takes me in this town, I cannot say. The only thing left is to live it out!