That Knowledge May Be Increased: Site Shadowing in Venda

That Knowledge May Be Increased: Site Shadowing in Venda

“Venda is beautiful!” everyone swore to us.  We couldn’t name the place without hearing the refrain: “Beautiful!  Beautiful!”

I confess to doubting what they meant.  Should we be expecting more of the rugged, arid beauty we had witnessed so far since arriving in Johannesburg?  If so, then why all the fuss?

We crawled onto the bus at 6:30am last Saturday and hunkered down for an all-day drive to South Africa’s northernmost province — just shy of the border with Zimbabwe.  In exchange for seven hours of travel one way, the Peace Corps promised a taste of our future lives, courtesy of the much-anticipated “site shadowing” with a current Volunteer.

As these photos will attest, Venda made good on its reputation.

We raced the clock on Wednesday, hopping on the first taxi out of town after 4am reveille, angling to arrive home before the sun bid a firm farewell at 6pm. It was a daunting trip, demanding three transfers from we neophyte journeymen, but the Lord placed kind and helpful companions in our midst. 

The brutal wake-up paid off: We breezed from “rank” (station) to rank, waiting a maximum of twenty minutes at any given stop, and cut two hours from our expected travel time.  Emmie and I alighted on familiar soil just after 1pm, victors of the Amazing Venda Race!

The moment the taxi rolled away, I could feel tension sloughing off my bones.  As much as Venda had delighted us with lush, green pastures, I realized that coming back to Bhundu felt like coming home.


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