Jake and I continue to have amazing experiences in South Africa - there seems to be no end to the good fortune that comes our way in the form of people, weather, time, and kindness.
Our host doesn't seem to be sick of us quite yet even though we've stayed here longer than we tend to due to not wanting to overstay our welcome. We feel very welcome and try to be the best surfers we can.
We've also had the fantastic opportunity to meet up with the parents of a girl we met in Morocco (remember our favorite hostel
in the entire world?). Caylee was this animated Canadian
whom Jake and I instantly loved and wanted to get to know more. Her stories had us rolling every night. So when she found out we'd be in South Africa some time, well that's where she was just at visiting her parents and "here is their contact information." As soon as we got into Durban we called to figure out how to meet and when we returned from St. Lucia, Caylee's mom Arlene offered o pick us up and show us more of town.
We had a very wonderful day around downtown Durban and the beach promenade, finding gifts for friends and some needed sandals for myself. That night her houselady made us lasagna that was to die for and we were able to see how open-hearted and generous both of Caylee's parents are.
Just about the loveliest people Jake and I have encountered.
What we'd like to do more of while here: HELP
The next day we asked Arlene if we could see the Township (aka the slums) and volunteer with her through the local Salvation Army. So late in the morning we headed over to sort bread and pick up soup. When we arrived, we saw the bread and soup had been taken care of and due to the weather, there was far less than what they were used to unfortunately. When the people lined up, they were a little agitated with me and Jake for taking pictures, assuming we were with the local paper and going to turn them in or get them in trouble. However, one of the lead ladies, Octavia, asked them in Zulu and in English if it would be okay that we photograph for our country to get more help to them. About 1/3 of the guys were okay with it and separated accordingly. When we weren't taking photos, we were handing out bread and soup with the rest of the Army workers and saying hi to the people ("Sawubona! Unjani brudda?").
After handing out at the church, it was time to drive up to the township and see the women and the children who line up. This is where we met a South African girl named Jo who drive us up in the Army van while Arlene drove herself and some other young workers in her car. Here we got to see the poorest type of neighborhood and how the people live day to day life. The statistic is 99% of the people have HIV and the ones with full blown AIDS are separated from the community like lepers. They have a school and shops to sell things and services to provide, just like other "self-sustaining" towns. But these areas need so much more help due to the economic crisis and the way the president Zuma has rid almost every good thing Nelson Mandela helped establish. Some of the pictures below show the housing that has recently been built due to government funding and donations. But the houses are poorly built and not suitable to put in furniture and other living requirements.
Meeting these children and mothers, grandmothers, and other townfolk, your heart immediately goes out to them and more than anything I'd like to be apart of a community that helps all over the world. But right now I'm here and I'll be honing my energy for this community. I'll probably set up a donation page soon, but more than anything, these people need more food and more people willing to donate their time. So I'm going to try and reach out to local hotels and restaurants that have a lot of leftover food that usually just gets thrown out. And then larger hotels that base out of the U.S. if they can donate as well. If anyone has more experience in this area, too, please let me know what you've done with success or other suggestions you may have.