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(Standard South African greeting used by our driver, Bro. Lawrence, on a frequent basis, especially when greeting toll booth operators. There are a lot of toll booths in South Africa. At each, Bro. Lawrence would ask for a “slippy”, which we finally figured out is just another name for a receipt. We’re smart like that. #insidejoke)
Welcome to Pennington! In the last post, we had just arrived very late Sunday night after an arduous journey, and now it’s time to take a bit of a tour! In the picture above, you can see the dormitories at Pennington. To the left up on a hill were Wian’s and Roy’s houses as well as a bathhouse, and down the hill to the right you could find the main dining/living hall. The weather? Very humid and tropical. (No surprise, since we were only 5 minutes from the Indian Ocean.) Laundry never completely dried out, and neither did we, for that matter. The birds? “Pretty annoying,” to quote Myron. But despite the challenges, Pennington was fun. A lot of fun. I really enjoyed being able to live in close proximity to the rest of the group as well as get to know Roy’s and Wian’s families.
Above – the camp rules on the backs of the dormitory doors. #4 was perfect: “Musical instruments in the hall only to be played by musicians.”
(Side note: please forgive the watermark placement. I had so many pictures that I didn’t feel like placing each watermark individually, so I chose to put them all in the middle and hope for the best.)
We enjoyed spending time with Wian’s and Roy’s families! The kiddos loved to spend time outdoors with us.
(below: photo credit to Wian)
We gave our first school program at an Afrikaans school Monday morning. The service was mandatory for the students and included singing and instruments, then we invited them to come back on their break (posa) for more music as well as some preaching. South Africa is fairly open to Christianity, but we did have to be careful not to make Gospel preaching mandatory for the students to listen to. Usually we gave a music program at the beginning of the day that all the students were required to attend, then invited them to come back later for preaching accompanied by more music.
This first school was very disciplined and well-behaved. There were about 750 students at the first service, and 200-300 came back in the afternoon! Typically the schools would provide some sort of refreshment for us between the two services, and if we had a long enough break we usually went to the ocean to eat the sandwiches we had packed the night before. (Balogna and cheese sandwiches, of course. We didn’t branch out much.)
(below: photo credit to Myron)
(below: photo credit to someone else)
The school we gave a program at on Valentine’s Day was chaos. Discipline was nonexistent. It was interesting to see the differences among the different schools we gave programs at over the course of two weeks.
After the school program, we went to a mall for food and supplies, and some of us got candy hearts courtesy of the mall. We were taking a picture with them when the manager of the mall walked up and asked if she could take our picture as well. She put it on their Facebook page, so now we’re famous.
(Photo credit: Yuriy, obviously)
That afternoon we went to a slum right across the road from the school we sang at that morning. It was a totally new experience for me – very eye-opening. We sang, passed out literature, spoke with the people, and prayed. By the time we left, we had attracted quite the following of children. Roy took the picture below:
We were all popular at the schools we went to, but Leah was definitely the star! The students found her so intriguing because of her skin color.
One afternoon we went to another slum, this one slightly worse than the one before. There were live electrical wires all over the ground (see the vlog linked above) of which we had to be very cautious. There was more drinking at this slum, and I just felt more nervous than I had the previous afternoon. Our group split up into two groups so we could cover more territory, and my group finished and was back at the vehicles waiting on the other group when we experienced something that I will never forget. A mob suddenly formed not too far from where we were parked, and after a few minutes, a truck full of men drove up. They dragged a man out of the bed of the truck, dumped him on the ground, and started kicking him – over, and over, and over again. Our drivers were nervous about the situation and wanted to leave, but we couldn’t leave until the rest of our group came back to the vehicles. To make a long and excruciating story short, we waited and prayed, the rest of our group finally came back, and we left with no harm done to us. But that poor man. I had never seen anyone beaten before, and even though our drivers explained that this was the local justice system at work and he was likely being punished for a crime, it was very sad to watch. Knowing that many of the mob were probably drunk and out of their minds and witnessing where they lived, I just wanted to be able to show them that there is hope. There is a life beyond what they know. But our time there was so short.
(below: Wian watching the mob)
Even though our time there was short, God can use anything to bring people to Himself. Vince took this picture of a young girl reading one of the papers we passed out while waiting for her water bucket to fill:
On a more lighthearted note, South Africa has Cadbury chocolate, and Cadbury makes, “I’m Sorry” bars. They come in handy. 😛 In one particular instance, one of the guys made a joke on Southerners that Valonna (a TN native) and I took exception to. He apologized with chocolate.
(Note the extreme sunburn.)
South Africa also has ice cream. We stopped for some on one very warm afternoon in between school programs.
One of my favorite parts about Pennington was sitting around in the evenings playing games and singing. In this case, I think we were playing Occupation. Psychiatrist was another fun game that I was introduced to on the trip.
Abigail and Valonna traded dresses one day:
These beach pictures are kind of out of order from the rest of the pictures in the post, but since there are so many of them, I thought I would include them at the end. The Indian Ocean was absolutely beautiful, and we spent a few evenings there.
Even though Myron was standing on the side of a mountain of sand, he was actually trying to enable Gesture Mode on his drone, not trying to catch his balance. You can see his drone in the upper left hand corner of the picture.
Photo credit to Cari:
The guys had fun racing up the mountain of sand:
Yuriy preparing to capture David’s leap on camera:
Myron captured some cool footage with his drone (check out the vlogs to see some of it!).
See the crabs?
The crabs were shy and scuttled off the side of the rocks as soon as the guys went out to investigate.
I’ll leave you with this. Yes, that is a snake. A Burmese Python, to be exact. I was not planning on holding it, but then most of the rest of the group did and I knew I’d regret not taking the opportunity. David didn’t want to hold the body, and I didn’t want to be anywhere near the head, so we teamed up for moral support. It really wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be, and the snake was very sweet as far as snakes go.
See you next week when we travel to Bakgatla, camp in the mud, and go on some safaris!