Over mountains, both rolling and jagged, some mountains with vegetation and some that, when viewed without much attention, just look like large piles of rocks and across a few oceans, lakes and rivers in all colors of brown, blue and green there lays a town.  The town over the mountains and across the water would neither be considered large nor small, though some would lean on the air of calling this town small.  Despite such difference, and to do something people do regularly in this town, avoid confrontation altogether, is to say that what may be considered small to some would be large to others.  That way there are no arguments and confrontations, you see. 

            This town, well village rather, is and always has been a

One home's crop
One home’s crop

warm place.  Most inhabitants and visitors consider the village friendly, though without any feature that is too exceptional or very different from the next village.  There is a main town meeting place, which just so happens to be where people fetch water from two large water tanks, a tavern, houses that sell specific goods to people, a primary school and a daycare for little children.  So you see, there is no single force, resource or feature that would make the community change all too much over the years.  And that’s how many people here like it, the elderly folks especially.  It has long been thought in this village that if a place becomes too much of an attraction, as the theory goes, it will become loud, crowded, dirty and other bad things like crime would inevitably come to the people.  Better to enjoy peace and quiet without too many distractions. 

            Mostly, and with exception of course, children fetch water, do the dishes and play games such as soccer and marbles, men do the hunting and farm work, and women do the child rearing, cleaning, cooking and other housework.  Life is active and very social as there is not much else to do to keep people busy. Village life is warm both in physical temperature and warm in social climate where people grew crops, know all there is to know about any other person in the village and make efforts to pass as few judgments, or as many depending on the person, as are necessary. 

            Of course, confrontations and problems do arise; especially amongst people who know one another and live around the same people their whole lives.  As opposed to many other places however, judgment in this particular locale is taken in stride and is just as equally and easily given back to the original judging perpetrator.  Regularly, the one giving vocal and outward judgments receives it back the next minute, or second depending on the swiftness and cleverness of the victim, whether in the physical form of mild violence or in verbal assault.  Most choose both.  Either way, culturally, people in this village are not very much inclined to hold grudges against trivial and every-day wrongdoings.

Road leading from central meeting place (cmp)
Road leading from central meeting place (cmp)

            In all honesty, some of these mountains, rivers and other large undisclosed bodies of water on the way are no picnic to cross.  Wrought with such perils and dangers in the days of long ago, it is amazing anyone came here in the first place, mind you.  In years before the mild-manner of today, before many large predatory beasts and poisonous indigenous plants were widely eradicated, a shame if you ask me, bridges built over these rivers and planes to carry people over oceans and buses to carry people to and from this place, life looked and felt much different.  Considering that at any moment a lion that weighs upwards of, on estimate, 500 lbs. could come into the village and wreak havoc, the people of long ago had to stay sharp with the eye and keen on the spear.  All of this says something of the self-sustaining and resilient nature of the people that first came to this spot and continue to live in the village today.  Not many people where I come from can say that they can fetch water from three 25-liter jugs while carrying a baby on their back! 

Mountain to the north of the village
Mountain to the north of the village

            Whether travelers, students, volunteers, scientists or adventurers, terms for people crossing these mountains and rivers is entirely dependent on the nature of their reason for coming here, all have a tough time of it.  For these are the places and features I have had to cross and traverse in order to get where I am now, our village in the heart of a country known as South Africa.  Now, despite the similarities our particular village has with other places, it indeed is a very special place.  I hope these subsequent stories prove this to be true.  I hope you will find it to be true as well.