Final Thoughts

Thursday, January 25, 2007

By Matthew Kuperus Heun

Greetings everyone:

Here is our final group picture from Detroit.

What a wonderful experience! It was a joy to participate with each of you this past month. There are several people I want to thank, and this weblog is as good a place as any to do it. So here it goes (in no particular order). Thank you to:

  • Our great God: the world you made is endlessly fascinating. “Father we adore you!”
  • Students: you make it all worthwhile. I hope that if we stretched you outside your comfort zone on this trip, you also learned more about yourself, South Africa, and the US in the process. Thank you for your willingness to research, make presentations, write blog entries, learn, sing, and experience.
  • The Calvin College administration: the Interim term (January) is a wonderful way for students to experience other places and cultures. For many students this is the only possible time in busy academic schedules.
  • Parents: you trusted two Calvin professors to take your precious children halfway around the world to a place few of you have ever been. We hope that your child’s experiece merited that trust.
  • Blog viewers: Your interest in our experience and pictures has been amazing. We blew past 10,000 hits, and we’re still counting!
  • Blog czars (Jeremy and Jeff): You spent many long hours updating the weblog while we were in country. Those hours were very much appreciated by friends and family back in the US.
  • Calvin’s IT department: Your willingness to let classes blog provides many benefits, including communication with parents and a student-generated record of off-campus experiences. In particular Ben Nanninga and Emily Brondsema deserve all the credit for developing the design for our blog site.
  • Matt’s mom and Tracy’s sister: Without you, none of this would have been possible. Your time is valuable, and you chose to spend it with us in South Africa.
  • Our South African hosts: So many people in South Africa gave their time and energy to meet with us, talk to us, share ideas with us, and fellowship with us. Here’s a partial list: Linzay Rinquest and Mr. Koen at Cape Town Baptist Seminary Noor Ebrahim at the District Six Museum Edwin Louw and Xolani at the JL Zwane center Uncle Lionel Davis and Vanessa Mitchell at Robben Island Dean Rev. Rowan Smith, Rev. Bruce Jenneker, and host families at St. Georges Cathedral Amanda Gouws at the University of Stellenbosch Clarie Hughes at Fisantekraal and Clint Atlee of A-Gas Fanie Dutoit and Charles Villa-Vicencio at the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation Carin DeVilliers at the Koeberg power plant Nico at the Emerald Guest House Hosts from the NGK church in Johannesburg Mmathabo Mrubata and Marlett Balmer from PDC Our township lunch hosts in Kwa Thema The East Rand Proprietary Mine guides and Robin Binckes Lynn Abrahams and Thandi Chezi at the Apartheid Museum Mama Clara Masinga and others at the Kgautswane Community Development Centre Africa and Duncan and other guides at Kruger Park

May God bless and inspire us all.

January 24, 2007

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

By Matthew Kuperus Heun

Here are a couple pictures from the final day in South Africa.

Our final meeting in Johannesburg.

Mmathabo (from PDC) with the solar cooker.

 

Natalie’s drawing for IJR. This piece was really a group effort. My recollection is that it started with my (Matt’s) idea. Natalie composed several drafts. Lots of people provided feedback. Josh supplied the words along the right side, someone (not sure who) created a nice card, and Amanda supplied some text describing the meaning of the elements of the piece. We mailed it to Fanie DuToit at IJR from the O.R. Tambo airport in Johannesburg using an improvised envelope, Matt’s tape, and purchased stamps.

 

Mark’s Last Post

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

By Mark Heun

Hi Friends:

I hope you’re having a good time back in America. What are you doing in school? I’ve done all my homework!

We’re coming home tonight. I’ll see you on Friday.

Love, Mark

January 22, 2007 and January 23, 2007

By Christi Bylsma

We spent our last morning at Kruger Park splitting up; half of us went on a sunrise bush walk and the other half took a sunrise drive. We tried tracking a leopard, elephants and a water buffalo. Like yesterday, we saw plenty of animals adding zebras to the list. We even caught a glimpse of Dumbo and his family crossing the road as we left the park. The rest of the day was spent driving back to Jo-berg. Arriving at Emerald Guesthouse felt like coming home after the weekend away.

Today is our last day in South Africa. Everyone is packing, journaling, relaxing, soaking in the sun by the pool, or still trying to locate lost luggage from our first flight to South Africa. We will arrive at the FAC at 5 pm Wednesday evening. Please keep our travels in your prayers. Thank you for taking the time to read our stories and share in our experiences.

 

 

 

 

January 21, 2007

By Jeremy Schut

Today was our earliest morning yet and was the first day of the walk through Kruger National Park.  Eight of us students had to wake up and be ready to meet with our guides at petrol station at 4:15 in the morning and eight others would do the same the next day.  Our guides and protectors’ names were Africa and Duncan.  We all jumped in the land rover and were on our way before the sun began to rise.  On the way we saw a hyena run across the road and a herd of five giraffes cross as well.  Once we reached our destination we hopped out and listened to Africa explain the rules of the walk:  Walk single file, the two rangers had to lead with their guns, stay quiet while walking, and no running away no matter what.  On the walk we only saw a few animals, like impala, kudu, a white rhino and a young rhino skull, but we learned some great tips of the bush.  We learned that rhinos have a designated bathroom area and use it to mark their territory.  Also we were shown which plants could be used as toilet paper (the weeping wattle) and which plants had edible berries and had a stem that could be used as a toothbrush (the magic quarri).  The walk was a great way to experience the bush without being confined to the vans.  While half of us were on the walk the other half had the opportunity to go on a morning drive to spot some animals and they were quite successful and saw hippos, elephants, kudu, buffalo, giraffe, impala, waterbuck, and a chameleon. 

In the late morning we all went down to the pool to lie out, swim and catch up on some journaling.  Then we all gathered back together for a meeting and for a little worship service that we had put together.  In the afternoon part of the group wanted to go for a run around Pretoriaskop, where we were staying.  Others who didn’t go running had another opportunity to go for a drive for some game spotting.  Right out of the gate we ran across some elephants.  After snapping a few photos the elephant decided he was sick of us and began to charge us so we in turn decided that would be a good time to leave.  In addition we also saw kudu, impala, rhino, and some hippos. 

That evening we also had another great game spotting opportunity by doing a night drive.  The drive was given by our new friend Duncan and proved to be very successful.  The drive started out a little on the slow side spotting animals, which had become somewhat common to us now like, elephants, warthogs, and kudu. Then Duncan received a message on his CB and started to turn the land rover around so I asked him why we were going back and he said, “We are going to see some lions Jeremy.”  The excitement was really kicking in now.  After driving the area they were last seen and not finding them we ran across another land rover that took us to them.  There they were, four lions lying and play fighting next to the road less then 20 feet away.  There were three females and one male.  Duncan explained that in the morning the lions had killed one of the baboons young and that is why the baboons were yelping in the direction of the lions from a mountainous rock a few hundred yards away.  After taking tons of pictures we headed back out to continue our search for animals.  We concluded our night excursion by spotting a bushbaby, an owl, and a few buffalo.  A little stargazing in a perfectly black clear night sky after our evening meeting rounded out the evening.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Kruger National Park has been very eventful so far and we have seen amazing and exciting animals.  To summarize:

Kruger Park fee:  a few hundred Rands.
Going on a night safari:  a hundred Rands
Seeing a pride of lions up close and personal:  Priceless

There are a few things money can’t buy, for everything else there are student loans.

Jeremy Schut

 

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