I made it!

After a 3-hour bus ride from Madison to Chicago, a 7.5 hour flight from Chicago to London, and 10-hour layover in London, a 10.5 hour flight from London to Johannesburg, a 5-hour layover in Johannesburg, a 1 hour flight from Johannesburg to Richard’s Bay, and a 1.5 hour car ride from Richard’s Bay to Kube Yini – Here I am!

I have only been here 2 days now but I am already taking in a lot.

This place is magic; I feel it deep in my bones and straight to my soul.

I want to share my journal entry from my first morning, because I don’t really know how else to explain it:

18 May 2017

I awoke just before the sun. As I lay awake in bed, in the dark, my mind replayed yesterday: the zebra, giraffe, the rhino. Except Michael was there too. I am always dreaming of that beautiful man, even when I am awake.

I took inventory of my body: feet, ankles, calves, thighs, ass, belly, arms, shoulders, fingers…all ten, breath. I’m all here. Here I am – in South Africa.

As the sky turned blue and orange and pink I ran to get my camera from the kitchen. I started feeling sleepy again, but if the sun wanted to greet me, I figured I should at least say hello.

In my underwear, I walked out on the deck and stared in disbelief. I took inventory of my body again as the cool morning danced around my skin. Yes, I’m still here.

After a few moments, and even fewer pictures, I walked back inside, lit the candle by my bed and stared lovingly out of the window. Watching the sun settle in and listening to the birds as they awake…

Here I am.

Good morning, Kube Yini.

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I have been taking in a lot and am still not entirely caught up on sleep. My accommodations could not be better and I feel perfectly at home (minus M&M – god I even miss Muriel waking me up with her scratchy ass tongue up my nostril saying “mom fucking feed me now” with every meow).

I am going to try my best to learn some basic Zulu while I am here, but the clicks in the middle of the words are really throwing me off – there are 3 different kinds! I’m going to have to trade my singing in the shower to practicing my Zulu clicks.

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Today Christa (my boss) took me up the mountain to see the Ngwenya community, and it’s absolutely beautiful. I can’t wait to get to know the community and work with Africa Foundation and Silethokuhle Foundation on their projects. I already have some blossoming ideas about program evaluation and strategic planning after meeting with a few people, current and past projects, and learning a bit of history of the area.

On my first day here Christa was driving me up to my house for the summer and my jaw dropped as three Zebra were trotting along the road in front of us. And then we saw two giraffe on the side of the road, and then a white rhino who had recently given himself a lovely mud bath. I was so stunned I didn’t even think to take pictures. But there will be plenty of time for that.

Today, while driving up the mountain, there was a small herd of cows in the middle of the road. As we got closer we saw that there was a brand new calf, born just that morning, who struggled to get up on his feet to move out of the road. It was just so beautiful. I have to remind myself to take more pictures later but right now it isn’t on my mind much.

After several giraffe sightings I finally grabbed my phone to snap a few photos. Who knew that giraffes look so damn majestic when they run..

**running giraffe not pictured**

Everyone has welcomed me with open arms and my boss is great! We are so eerily similar and in awe of how life has brought us together for the summer. I know I am going to learn a lot here, not just in support of my academic education at the La Follette School of Public Affairs at UW-Madison, but also about myself and this incredible life I have and the magical world I get to live in.

 

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