Just another message! We have already experienced some fun things that we don’t want to keep from you.
We are busy making ourselves at home here. Everyone probably knows that there is no country in the world where the contrast between rich and poor is as great as in South Africa. We knew that too, but when you come here it is strange. Last night we went to the rural area for the first time. This is the place where the “poor” population lives. Until that moment we had actually only seen the rich part. The airport here is very beautiful, the parking lot has the latest BMWs, Mercedes and the occasional Porsche. Then when you drive on the highway it all still seems beautiful. However, as soon as you leave the city you slowly see some dark people walking on the side of the highway(!). There is also someone sitting here and there on a stool selling a few bunches of bananas or other things. However, that was it, we didn’t really feel like we were in Africa yet. It was almost more reminiscent of the South of France or something… Yesterday afternoon, however, we collected a large amount of meals that are regularly donated by the Toyota factory that is located here. These meals had to go to the soup kitchen where we (Simon and Renskje and later we) cook soup every Saturday and distribute food to the poorest people. As soon as we took the exit with our trunk full of food and drove a few hundred meters further, we were back in Africa. It seems as if you are driving through some kind of imaginary border where everything suddenly changes. Unpaved roads with many people walking, waving children and small houses. When we arrived at the soup kitchen, there were already about 75 children there who greeted us enthusiastically and were very happy with the food. We are back in Africa… a lot of poverty and often misery, a lot of work to do but still incredibly beautiful in a certain way… people who have ever been to Africa probably know what I mean. The others should come over
Today we drove past a number of tunnels. These tunnels are provided by Charibiz through a micro-credit. After installing the tunnel, there is a very good guidance process. The tunnels are located in the rural area and the owners are people who can use the extra income that comes from this. We have met many people with whom we can work together in the near future. It is clear that one owner is doing better in terms of renovation than the other. An important part of our work will therefore consist of structuring, discipline and training in entrepreneurship. At the end of the afternoon we drove past Jay to get acquainted. Jay and his family are originally Indians. They have come to faith and become members of the same church as Simon and Renskje (the Full Gospel Church in neighboring Scottburgh). Jay is a farmer and helps a lot with the tunnels with his knowledge and experience. We visited his farm, very difficult to describe what it looks like. It is well organized by African standards, but many Dutch farmers would feel like they are going back in time. Jay proudly showed how he built his farm in a short time and how everything works. The ladies from the summer project were also there and just before we left the conversation somehow turned to weapons. It is easy to get a gun permit here and Jay also has some firearms. He asked if we would like to give it a try, so a little later we were shooting some kind of semi-automatic pistol at a wooden board. We did that once too. Nice for once, but we don’t really feel the need to buy one of those ourselves yet haha. It may sound strange, but it is almost as common here as cycling in the Netherlands…
Windshield wipers full throttle!
I still have to tell you this! Yesterday Baukje and I went away in the car for the first time, just the two of us. We drove in the Chinese, a small van, very funny, we will show you a photo again! In South Africa, of course, people drive on the left and that took some getting used to… at the first intersection I had the tendency to pass the cars on the other side (I’ve been doing it that way for 6 years anyway!) and when approaching the bend the windshield wipers went full throttle… those crazy Chinese also turned the levers for the turn signal and windshield wipers! Idiots! Driving on the left is now normal and tomorrow we will go out with the Chinese again to harvest at a number of tunnels!
Hugs and blessings,
Gerard and Baukje