Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Voortrekker with Road Trippers

For the next couple of weeks, we have a group of 8 here at Pangani for a Road Trip. I took the group to the Voortrekker Monument yesterday, as well as Church Square, to hear some of the stories of South Africa and take time to hear what God might be saying to us about those stories. Here are some pictures of the group at the Voortrekker...

Monday, July 28, 2008

Some cultural context...

I just responded to a message from a friend, answering several questions about my context here in South Africa. After I wrote a somewhat long response, it occurred to me that some of what I wrote might be interesting to post here. Though maybe I won't post all of it at once...

On cars and the price of gas...
My roommate Sarah hunted down and purchased a 1996 Hyundai Accent while I was away in Vancouver. We're sharing the car and so far it's working out well. The price of petrol has gone up a lot here--it's probably still a bit more expensive here than it is in the States, though it sounds like prices are climbing pretty fast there too. I haven't taken the time to figure out exactly how gas prices here compare to the prices in California right now--I have to convert the price from rand to dollars and then the quantity from liters to gallons, and for a former English major, that's far too much math. =)

On living in the suburbs...
I'm living in Pretoria North, a suburb of South Africa's capital city. It's similar to suburbs anywhere in a lot of ways... and then in other ways not. Some obvious differences off the top of my head...

At parking lots and when you park on the street, there are almost always parking guards, either employed by the store (like at grocery stores) or just guys trying to get by and earn a little money. It's usual to tip them a couple of rand (about a quarter) when you come back to your car-- they keep an eye on it while you shop. There are attendants at all the petrol stations who pump your gas for you, they'll usually wash your windshield and offer to check your oil & water, too.

Then there are guys at intersections who beg for change, or try to sell you everything from cell phone chargers to rugby shirts. There are several places at the side of the road where people sell furniture, beanbag chairs, beach towels, and even stuffed & mounted animal heads. Sarah and I have been looking for furniture for our new house, so last weekend, we went to "the side of the road" and checked out what they had, just as if we were visiting the local furniture store. We even checked out a couple of "side of the road" spots to compare prices. We didn't buy a stuffed and mounted animal head, though.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Harris Tweed

Last year, I was introduced to local South African band Harris Tweed. They were playing in Pretoria last week and a group of us went to the show. They're recording a new album, and it was great to hear some new material. Looking forward to the album release...

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Good friends

Kevin, a friend from last year's apprenticeship, was in South Africa for the past 6 weeks, with a team from InnerChange. We were finally able to hang out last week before he flew back to the States. It was great fun to have our first group hangout at the house, reuniting with a lot of good friends from last year.

Awkward "candid" photo

Playing Apples to Apples

Sarah and Hazel

No one seems to even notice that I am attacking Lizzy, though Kevin shows mild interest

Group photo

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Sarah's Birthday

Concluding our day of glazing pottery, we had a birthday celebration for Sarah, with some amazing chocolate cake...

I absolutely love Ezra's expression in this photo, combined with Sarah's slightly chastising face...

Pottery, Part Two

Pottery ready for glazing

Lying in the sun, waiting to start glazing pottery... yeah, both me and the dog. I wasn't rolling aroung scratching my back on the grass, though.

Sarah, with paintbrush at the ready

A few of my pieces of pottery, ready for the last round of firing. The colors supposedly will be quite different after the firing... that pink will actually be brown, and the brown will be blue. Or so we're told.

Enjoying coffee together after all the pottery was finished. Now we just have to wait for the final product...

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Settling in continues

A few weeks ago, Sarah and I combed through what must have been every pawn shop in Pretoria North, in search of furniture for our new house. I took pictures of the microbus crammed full of furniture, but as far as pictures of the newly-installed furniture, I only have this one slightly ridiculous picture of me eating a fajita, sitting at our coffee table in front of our new bookshelf. I'm still quite proud of the fact that we obtained a dresser, nightstand, bookshelf, coffee table, desk, and chair... for the equivalent of less than $200. (Oh, and don't be jealous of the stereo equipment you see behind me, part of the partial furnishings left in the house for us to use. We have discovered that the stereo lacks the necessary cords to connect the speakers to anything that might play music.)