January 14, 2007

Sunday, January 14, 2007

By Laura Vogelzang

I feel a little bit like a dishtowel. You know when you are drying dishes after dinner and the dishtowel you are using is so wet that it doesn’t even pick up water off the plate, it just moves it around? I feel a little bit like that wet towel. Saturated. We have seen so much and experienced so much that I feel like I am dripping with stories and facts and encounters and growth.

This morning after a good night’s sleep in this new place we wiped the sleepers from our eyes, ate a delicious breakfast, and piled into the van to go to a Dutch Reformed Church. The service was great: a warm welcome from the pulpit, friendly people, and Dutchy pastries afterwards. The only snag was that we couldn’t understand a word. Everything was in Afrikaans. But, Afrikaans is very similar to the Dutch language, and I could even belt out my English versions of the hymns they were singing. We sang “How Goote is U” which is “How Great Thou Art” in English.

After the service we met our host families for the afternoon who volunteered to open their homes to us. I met my cheery, middle class family with two children who were home from university. The son, in fact, has a dream of becoming a Hollywood actor so he proceeded to take out his guitar for the Americans and serenade us before dinner and talk in Irish, New York, and English accents throughout the meal. It was entertaining to say the least. We were served mutton, chicken, potato salad, pan, cucumber salad, carrot and pineapple salad, rolls, muffins, sausage, a tomato salsa type dish, tea, and milk tart for dessert. Needless to say, they were more than hospitable and we all waddled to the car to head home.

The interesting, and maybe a little heated, part of the afternoon came when conversation flowed to issues of politics. My family was astonishingly progressive, but many other students were hosted by families who were openly racist and/or sexist. It was the separatist mindset of the Dutch Reformed church in the early 20th century that helped fuel the apartheid movement, and apparently, old habits die hard for some people. Overall, this afternoon’s experiences were fascinating and beneficial.

On other news it was Matt’s 40th birthday today! Woot woot! Also, it is the rainy season. And by rainy I mean sporadic torrential downpour. I have started to gather gopher wood for a small ark I will begin construction on tomorrow. Africa is great, I miss and love you all and thanks for being interested in our travels.




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