“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.
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Note: I returned home Thursday morning, August 15th, after a red-eye flight — safe but sleepy (and fully recovered from food poisoning!). My thanks to everyone for their prayers and support during the trip. Many photos and stories remain, so I plan to continue updating the blog through my journey’s conclusion.
Note 2: I struggled to finish this post — hence the two week plus delay in updating — and it nearly finished my instead. I credit my sister with the spark that finally kindled this saga of church camp. Read the rest of this entry →
Ecuadorean highways combine the etiquette of the U.S. east coast with the switchbacks of West Virginian mountains. The road winds through the peaks as if a bored student had scribbled it there. Speed limits and caution signs litter the roadsides, and a single fluorescent line separates two lanes. Kevin referred to the signage as “sugerencias” — i.e., suggestions. Traffic swerves freely across both lanes, around trucks, buses, and the occasional car. When nobody approached from the opposite direction, we straddled the center line. On tight curves, Kevin slid over into the other lane. I watched every twist and turn to stave off carsickness — hardly a sacrifice, considering the view. Read the rest of this entry →