Dear Family and Friends,
Molo (hello) from South Africa! We are having a truly amazing experience here. We are treated with incredible hospitality wherever we go. Here are some general observations about South Africa:
1. It is very westernized! So far we haven’t seen any elephants, lions, or giraffe. Johannesburg actually looks a lot like many other cities in the world and we feel right at home because everything is written in English.
2. Most people speak at least 2-3 languages here. Everyone speaks English and most of the population, particularly the white popular, also speak Africaans, a language very similar to Dutch. Aside from that there are 11 tribal languages and all the black cultures speak at least 2 of those. Zulu and Xlosa seem to be the 2 predominate tribal languages in this part of S. Africa. By the way, Xlosa is the clicking language and we learned a song in it. We’ll have to sing it for you when we return; it’s really cool! (I think we actually butcher it pretty badly though, because people usually laugh when they hear us trying to sing it.)
3. There are bars, gates, locks, security cameras, and electric fences everywhere. I have never seen housing complexes so heavily secured. Apparently, since the end of Apartheid, things have become very dangerous here. Robbery and violence is very common here; a fact of life for these people. They are very cautious as a rule.
4. I find it interesting that whenever we thank people here, instead of saying “you’re welcome” they say “pleasure”. Isn’t that a kind thing to say? They truly act like it is their pleasure or honor to serve us. We feel incredibly humbled by that.
5. The food has been really wonderful. We have sampled a wide range of food. They really like beef here, so we have had minced meat casserole type things, to steak, to tripe. The tripe was part of an authentic tribal lunch that we had. It looked a lot like some kind of stewed mushrooms, so some Singers torn right into it. Surprise! We have some great pictures from that meal. We also had steamed pumpkin (pretty tasty), creamed spinach, and pup (or something like that) which is basically hominy, as well as a very tasty marinated chicken.
We absolutely love it here and are so grateful for the support and prayers you are all offering on our behalf. We can feel them! We feel really humbled, grateful, and full of love for the people we are meeting here. See you soon!