Monday, February 9, 2009

First weekend in the homestay

So we moved in with our family on Saturday around 2:30. It was a bit nervewracking at first: our slightly crazy driver just drove around the township & dropped us off outside our homes-some families looked confused so we were worried that we weren't at the right house. But it worked out fine,and we all got taken to the right places.My family is wonderful,I'm very happy with them. The head of the house is Mama(who's real name is Cikiwze),she is 76 y/o and quite a talker. She's very friendly and reminds me of Mignon...very welcoming and acts like a true mother to exchange students: feeding them,clothing them & telling them exactly what she'd like them to do or
not do. :) We live with her daughter Pinkie who is 31 and her daughter Tina who is 7 and quite beautiful already.All three of them are so nice and very willing to help me learn Xhosa & learn South African customs. The older son,Thulani is about 23 and lives next door to us. I hardly ever see him other than in passing. He plays the trombone in a well known band that has traveled to China to play. I'll try to get some of their music to bring home. The neighborhood where we live is extremely poor. My host Mama told me how poor she is,that although she can
buy food for every meal,it can be hard to pay for other things. There is no shower-just a bath with a shower cord,no sink in the bathroom and buying certain things like red meat or bread can be a large expense. It's hard to really explain it,I will try to take some photos and post them to give you all a visual idea of my life here.People keep wondering about the food,which is a bit hard to describe. You can get most types of food here,so there's plenty of meat/wheat free options. Just an example of what we eat at home: fried chicken, boiled cabbage and onions, baked squash and white rice.(That's what we had for dinner last night) I have cereal & fruit for breakfast,and I'm currently eating a chicken,avocado & pesto salad for lunch. We have lunch while at school,so we're free to buy anything we want with the stipend the program gives us.

I tried Ostrich last weekend-it was very chewy like chicken but had the consistency of steak. They eat a lot of avocado here(they cost about 40 cents in the stores),so I'm happy! This week is just a normal schedule: get picked up at 7am, Xhosa goes from 8:30-10:30, lecture from 10:30-12:30, lunch from 12:30-3:30, Xhosa from 3:30 to 7:15, then buses home. On Saturday we are going to Robben Island where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned,then we're spending a few hours on the beach(I can't wait!)

It's about 2pm right now and I'm going to go try to find some shoes so I can go to the gym(my shoes got stolen in Jo'burg),and find a Xhosa dictionary.

lots of love!


  1. Oh, honey! I found a pair of your shoes (heavy black soles, purple canvas tops with side zipper) last weekend. Do you want me to send them? Just give me a good mailing address, and I'll ship them right away. Love, MIL/YOM

  2. Mignon,
    Thanks,but I found a pair of running shoes yesterday. And,I don't think those are my shoes...they might be but I can't picture them...