Sunday, February 21, 2010

New Friends!

Yesterday’s trip to the store and the friendliness of the people has convinced me I need to make more of an effort to be social. Yesterday evening I went to the shop in the location and got a fanta pineapple (so delicious) and sat out in front of the store for a while. People would say hello, some chatted for a bit, some asked for money. It wasn’t too successful, but I felt good about trying and I am starting to recognize some faces.
Today after McLean showed up to help me clean at 8:30 I realized that I would probably go crazy if I spent another whole day in the house, so I set off back to town to go to the coffee shop. Today I actually walked most of the way there, and it was pleasant. It was hot and sunny, but the breeze was enough to make it tolerable. After about 3 miles, someone offered me a ride and this was my first introduction to Philip. He is a middle aged afrikaaner living in Uis and is super outgoing and friendly. We drove right by the coffee shop since it was closed and I decided a coke zero and a chocolate bar would suffice before walking back. I was sitting outside enjoying my treat when phillip came out and yelled, “I told my wife about you, she says you have to come to the house!” So I went and met his wife, their twin 15-year-old daughters and 19 year old son.
They told me to make myself at home and that was surprisingly easy to do. I spent 2 or 3 hours chatting with them about music, movies, life in Uis and in South Africa (where they’re from). We watched TV, played with their puppy, and I got a tour of the fruit trees grown in their garden. We had a long talk about racism, since apparently the older afrikaaners living in the town were scandalized when they befriended black people living in the town. The kids play with the black kids across the street and Philip and his wife are very obviously friends with everyone in town.
So anyway, after a few hours they drove me home, loaded down with homegrown mangoes, grapefruit, and lemons. I was so excited to have met someone but got mildly frustrated about the whole experience after talking to a co-teacher who made it clear that I was being judged for spending the day with a white family. I have a hard enough time showing I’m not racist here that this probably won’t help, and all I wanted to do was shout “these are the first people since I’ve been here who have asked me to spend time with them!” but I didn’t. Oh well, still totally worth a wonderful afternoon!

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