My Training Village

With the Easter break in full effect, things have been a little slow. My site has been very quiet, and I have not been up to much. Many people were gone for Easter, although most are back now. Easter is a very big deal here. Many churches have mass meetings for Easter where everyone in the country travels to one place. Since my site (as far as I can tell) is not the pilgrimage site for any church, people took off. School is out until Tuesday, so I’m just catching up on work and spending a bit of time in the neighborhood.

So I decided to blog a bit about the village I stayed in when I first arrived in South Africa, while still training to be a volunteer.

The village I lived in during training was maybe a few thousand people spread out over around 10 square kilometers. The residents of my village spoke a different language than the rest of the people in the area. The name of the village even meant something along the lines of “we don’t want to live in harmony”, the direct opposite of the neighboring town’s name ("we want to live in harmony"). Nice.

There wasn’t much in my village in terms of commerce, it was mostly just houses (ranging from shacks to beautiful large homes). There were a few tuck shops (convenience stores), a few booze stores, a few panel beaters (informal body shops…they are everywhere, which speaks to the high accident rate) and taverns (bars). That’s a fairly typical set of options for a village. The lack of formal commerce did not mean there weren’t things going on–every night shabeens (people selling booze at home) would be blasting house music (gospel on Sundays).

The busiest place in town was one of the liquor stores, which had a very large tuck shop. You could even call it a small general store. In addition to food, they had a blanket on the floor with a collection of shoes for sale, a plastic drum full of petrol or some kind of oil, a few shelves of “general goods”, and a small army of drunk dudes courtesy of the attached liquor store. One dude would ask me for tips on getting white women every time I saw him. He asked me for money once, and when I said no he accused me of, “practicing apartheid”. I think a lecture on how one of the goals of Apartheid was to create a black populace entirely dependent on the whites for survival would probably not have sunk in.

There were a few tar roads. The border of the village was all major roads, and they were tarred. There were supposed to be 2 tar roads crossing through the village, but one of them wasn’t finished.

This is Seleka’s Tarven. Spelling is not a high priority. There was a "penal beater" down the street.

But at least the vandals can spell:

This was the bed that Dale, one of my fellow volunteers, slept on. He’s back in the US. I miss him.

Dale’s host family was awesome. They were traditional healers. They also made snuff.

The area around the village was pure African veldt. Check out the cows:

I was very surprised to find these prickly troublemakers growing everywhere:


1 Comment

Jesse says:

That Headboard is awesome

24 May 11 @ 11pm