Saturday, October 11, 2008

Crocodiles and Pumpkins

I can’t believe it is already October 11. That is crazy! I haven't updated for a while because it’s been quite hectic since I arrived. Three days after I got here, I drove with 18 other people from 9 different nations for two days across South Africa to attend the YWAM South Africa staff conference. It was quite an adventure getting there with one vehicle breaking down all along the way. At one point, we needed water for the combi so we walked down to this stream which we later learned was named “Crocodile River” – yikes! We had to abandon one trailer along the way and by the end we had to push start one of the combis whenever we stopped, but we got there. At the conference, we camped out in tents for six nights. Just imagine 300 people in tents – it looked like a refugee camp! Not many people slept well, but having just come from the bush bush, I felt right at home and slept like a baby! The conference was great. It was exciting to get a sense of the larger vision of YWAM Southern Africa which I am a part of, and to get to build relationships with everyone. We also got to spend a day and a half in Kruger Park. It was awesome! Some highlights were seeing a herd of elephants, a herd of buffalo, a crocodile, a leopard and a cheetah, and two close calls with angry elephants!

We got back in Worcester on Sunday night and the ELS started on Monday morning. We have 41 students in the school this term, and I have a class of 10 students – 7 Brazilians, 1 Korean, 1 St. Tome, and 1 Angolan. They are a quiet class, but I am hoping they will warm up to me soon.

Last night, I went to the movie theater with some of the ELS students (actually 90% of the theater was YWAM people – there’s not much else to do in Worcester on a Friday night, haha). We saw Swing Vote. I don’t think they understood much (it wasn’t until we were sitting in the theater watching the previews that they asked me what word “vote” means), but I enjoyed it and felt especially proud to have sent in my absentee voter application. After Kenya’s political crisis and the uncertainty in the South African government right now, I feel particularly grateful to be a citizen of the greatest democracy in the world - even if I don't live there right now.

A final thought…I am missing all the sights and sounds of Virginia in the fall. There is just nothing like it. So if you’re reading this from Virginia, please take a drive in the mountains, go apple picking, have a pumpkin spice latte from Starbucks, bake some oatmeal raisin cookies, go to a UVA football game, take a late afternoon stroll on the Lawn, and buy a pumpkin for your front stoop for me :)

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