Monday, June 14, 2010

World Cup Fever

Have I mentioned that I enjoy receiving mail? Well I do! I only get into town every couple of weeks and my first stop is always the post office. The post office sits of the top of a very steep hill, tucked right in between the police station and the local jail. There are usually men in orange uniforms cleaning the premises while the guard sits off to the side half asleep. The taxi stops at the bottom of the hill. So, I make my way out of the taxi, climb the hill, avoid the random men in orange suits, walk up the five steps to the post office and my P.O. Box is the one on the lower left hand corner right before entering the post office. I put my key in, turn and yank. The door to my box is jammed so I always have to yank pretty hard to open it. After retrieving my mail I walk down the hill across the street, down another hill to my favorite little coffee shop. I try to treat myself to a coffee when I am in town. It’s the only decent cup of coffee I can get for weeks, and the coffee shop also has an amazing view of the Indian Ocean. That is a little slice of heaven right there, coffee, mail, and a beautiful ocean view.

I am sure you are wondering how the little puppy, Spot, is doing. Well, I am happy to say that he is much healthier. He is still not completely well; I have noticed these past couple days that he is looking quite skinny. In fact, I can count his ribs. I know they are feeding him so I am not quite sure what the problem is. The dog has a name now, her name is Speedy. Don’t ask me why, because she is definitely not speedy. She is still in that clumsy phase where, when she is running her front legs will give out and she does a nose dive into the ground. It’s actually quite cute to watch. Another part of having this puppy is trying to teach the girls how to treat a dog. Here, in South Africa, dogs are not seen as pets, like in the US, they are more just used as guard dogs. Most people are very scared of dogs here. The dogs are treated very poorly; they are kicked around and abused. I am using this puppy as a teaching mechanism. I am trying to show them that a dog can be trained and polite while still being an excellent guard dog. I am teaching the girls (my two nieces) how to play with a puppy. I think sometimes they just think I am a crazy American. Can anyone tell me what kind of dog Speedy is?

Yes, the World Cup is here! And I can feel it! Everybody seems to have come down with the World Cup fever. Excitement is runny high and everywhere you turn there is a South African flag. Unfortunately, I do not have tickets to any of the games. The closest stadium to me is in Durban, which is just about an hour south of here. All schools are closed for this month in order to “cut down” on the traffic. The South African team is the Bafana Bafana. Here is a picture of some of the students at school with World Cup fever.

On Sunday, I went with my host family to an umkhehlo. I am still not quite sure what the significance of an umkhehlo is but it involves the families of both fiancĂ©s and a lot of dancing. It started out with the young women running around yelling, dancing, and singing. They then presented the bride with cow fat. Yes, cow fat! The fat was washed and dried and then draped over the bride’s shoulders which she then wore for the remainder of the ceremony. As I talked about earlier, the men and women are always separated at events. The women sat under the shade trees while the men sat off in the bushes drinking their traditional beer. After the women danced and sang for about an hour, the men all got up and marched over. Then for the next two hours it looked like a game of pass the stick. The bride and her bridesmaids would dance over to the men and put sticks in the ground in front of them, they would then turn around and dance back. After a couple minutes a few of the men (never the groom) would get up and walk the sticks back to the women’s side. This went on for a good two hours. Occasionally, one of the men would get up, yell something and all the other men would respond. And then my favorite was when one of the Gogos (grandmothers) would get up randomly and dance around and yell. I have videos of the event but unfortunately I can’t upload them. Here is a picture of one of the men in traditional Zulu attire. He also proclaimed his love to me and told me he wanted to marry me (this is pretty common), but he then told me that he is from a polygamist family so he wants multiple wives. I told him that that wouldn’t work for me. The picture was taken by his sister whom had never used a camera before, hence the diagonal portrait.

 
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