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A Year Without Ice Cubes One year through Africa and Asia

Thanks for all the comments! Oh, and some serious stuff...

SOUTH AFRICA | Friday, 19 September 2008 | Views [951] | Comments [2]

I just wanted to thank everyone who's read this blog and commented (and those who've read this blog and not commented...).  It is so great to read notes from you all, please please please keep them coming! 

I have tons of pictures and some videos to upload, but the internet here is pretty sketchy, and the promised wireless is actually a no-go.  Hopefully tomorrow I'll get to an internet cafe the bartender here (who's name is Villy, is a native South African and just bleached his hair and looks like Eminem haha)says is nearby.  So stay tuned...

I've been keeping a journal on my laptop and then copying it onto this blog, but the last one I wrote I feel needs a bit of an explanation before I copy and paste it.  Michelle and I booked a tour of Soweto today, and went with our tour guide Mandla and 3 Danish guys who are also staying at the hostel.  It was an incredible experience, Mandla was fantastic and took us everywhere, we felt totally safe with him the entire time, the Apartheid Museum was excellent, and it was a perfect first official day out in South Africa.  However, the most memorable part of the tour was when Mandla took us to an "informal settlement" in Soweto called Kliptown, and a local guide named George (who, by they way, I'm in love with...) took us around the settlement and showed us some of the outreach programs that an amazing grassroots organization called SKY has implemented there.  When we got back to the hostel I wrote the following journal entry on my laptop about the tour of Kliptown, which I will now paste below with this hopefully sufficient introduction (Neil Vasan, eat your heart out!):

Today was possibly one of the most amazing days of my life.  It’s hard to even describe the sights and emotions I’ve experienced today.  I think instead of trying to blog about it, I’m just going to post photos/slideshows/videos.  But I will say that today I experienced greater poverty than I’ve ever observed first hand, and I was brought to tears, but not because of the desperate nature of the lives around me, but rather the joy and community that humans can spontaneously create against all odds.  I walked through an “informal settlement”, aka slum, as a voyeuristic Western tourist wearing bright new sneakers and armed with a camera, and all I could do was embarrassingly try to hide my tears as a result of my incredibly emotional and unexpected reaction to a group of women dancing and singing in an informal church service on a dirt road, and to the tiny children laughing and jumping and waving.  Sorry if this all sounds cliché and bleeding heart-ish, but I’m still trying to digest what I experienced today…

So there you have it.  I really hope I'll be able to upload photos and videos tomorrow.  Michelle and I are going to try to go back to Kliptown tomorrow with Mandla and talk more with Bob, the man who founded SKY around 1988 or so, and George, the love of my life...

Kids in Kliptown

Kids in Kliptown

Tags: kliptown, soweto



I would love to hear the laughter of the kids in the photo taken in Kliptown. The love of your life is quite adorable, too. Are you recording any of the sounds? Must be musical and magical and not much different from here if you closed your eyes.

  Sylvia Mom Sep 19, 2008 1:05 PM


yes -- sounds.

  caroline Sep 20, 2008 1:41 PM



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