A Passion for Peace

Responsibility, respect and a loving connection with all beings and for this Earth we share.

Nissan Karma

Do cars talk? Did my old Nissans put in a bad word for me? Or does this truck (which I have totally learned to drive, by the way, reversing down single-tracked rocky road-less hillsides no less) just enjoy breaking down when it’s 95 degrees Fahrenheit while I’m driving women home after church (where I even sang along to transliterated Zulu hymns)? Or when I go to our neighbor’s dairy to pick up fresh milk that’s apt to spoil? Or right outside the gate after traveling around the rural communities for hours and totally burning my white white skin?

Saturday I finally got a break (from driving, politics and church), and went on an amazing hike to a world heritage site and state park called Giants Castle. I went on a hike with a friend to see 2000+ year-old Bushmen cave paintings, picnic atop a mountain near the Lesuti border, avoid a poisonous black adder, spot a baboon eating his way up a hillside, drink from and swim and slide and generally frolic in the Bushmen’s River on the way back down, and sip a glass of wine on the park’s restaurant patio as the stars came out. This weekend we’re going to bring the fancy telescope home and break out the star chart and see what we can pick out. In addition to driving on the other side of the road than I’m used to, the constellations in the Southern Hemisphere are mirror images of what I’m used to too. I think you can tell a lot about people by whether they make a comment about driving on the “other” side of the road or the “wrong” side of the road. Hey, I have no judgment when people here tell me to turn left at the robot (aka traffic light). It makes me giggle on the inside. (Photos: 2000-ish-year-old Bushmen paintings, right are medicine men with animal heads and human bodies, one on the right has bubbles on his body)

Maybe it’s all that giggling the mosquitoes find so attractive. I’m continually impressed by their ingenuity in covering me in welts. Maybe they’re in cahoots with the Nissan. Well, it’s not gonna work. I woke up Thursday morning and took an extra-long bike ride in the mist with the Oklahoma “Oh What a Beautiful Morning” song swimming through my head. I even got someone in a government department to call me back unprompted this week—I was on such a high. That day I left the Zulu to in charge of something themselves which resulted in yelling, name-calling and threats to quit. Now we need multiple meetings to sort it out and smooth it all over. Why is it so hard to assume the best in people? Or in cars? Go, Nissan go! I have faith in the Zulu and in you! (Photo: Giant's Castle park)

Today we found a family in crisis: two-year-old twins without birth certificates, but with TB (no birth certificates generally means no social welfare grants). One little girl was full of sores and so listless she could barely keep her eyes open, and both were in shirts only, no bottoms. The father said there is no food and he wants seeds to start a vegetable garden and they are quite far off the beaten path (45 min drive on rural “roads”) winding up and around and through the Drackenbergs. Luckily we made a great contact at the social welfare agency last week, and when I called today she said she’d help them get an emergency grant on Monday. I even finished the last minute presentation for India today so it looks like I get the weekend off (hooray!—or maybe I should start translating that book for the other NGO…) and Monday at 7 am I’m off to pick up the family in crisis to take the mother and children to hospital (people outside the US don’t say “to the hospital”), and the father to social welfare.

Posted byValerie at 8:23 PM  


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