Running on the Beach

So this morning we actually got to sleep in (until 9), praise the Lord! We could have gone to church, but I didn’t have dressy clothes so I figured I would just rest and go next week. We got up and had breakfast and then headed off to the market at 10:30. The market was so cute! They had a ton of homemade things (along with non-homemade things of course) and it was just so cool to see the existing talent that so many people had. I bought my brother a couple of souvenirs today and was told about 5 minutes later that I may not be allowed to bring them back to the states with me, but hopefully it all works out! There were also seals (or sea lions??) there that were so cute! After the market, we did some habitat work to prepare for Mandela Week (THAT STARTS TOMORROW AHHHH EXCITEMENT). The habitat work was kind of frustrating. There was a lot of confusion, which caused things to have to be done multiple times, which is never fun. However, we got it done (and learned a war chant before leaving, which is always fun) and headed back to the hostel and had free time until supper at 6. On the way back we played the high-low game. It’s essentially a game where everyone states their favorite moment from the week, followed by their worst moment of the week. I love the high-low game because it really just allows you to get to know the people you’re working with more and lets you see what makes people happy/sad which is always interesting. After arriving at the hostel, Reed, Jane, & I decided to take a quick walk to the beach to watch the sunset and along the way decided to stop at a McDonald’s for snacks (where I ate McDonald’s for the first time since 9th grade– other than apple pies, fries, or sweet tea– but the food is better here). Anyways, back to the beach. It was about a 15 minute walk and it was well worth it (I’l post some glorious pictures below). While we were at the beach, we were watching the sunset and saw a lighthouse a little distance away that we decided to RUN (jog, occasionally walk) to so that we could be at the lighthouse before dark to get some good pictures in. Well bad news, we ran for no reason because we didn’t make it in time, but good news: 1) we passed a lot of puppies (which made my heart happy) and 2) we still have a good number of days left here so we can always go back. We got back to the hostel in time for supper, which was a lamb roast. I tried it with an open mind, but just did not enjoy it. Jane and I decided we probably needed to go get real food for supper, so we headed to the waterfront where I got a croissant (super nutritional, I know…) When we got back, we talked to and hung out with some of our friends at the hostel and then decided to call it a night. Most people are asleep, but I think I’ve got a cold or sinuses and can not sleep so I’m up writing my blog, hoping to make myself tired. We have to wake up at 5:45 tomorrow morning, so I’m gonna try and get some rest now! Please pray for us and the work we will be doing! Good night (or good afternoon there)!

Side note: today both our bus driver and workers at the hostel told us that we were the first group of Americans that they have worked with that they like because we have manners and that made me really happy and really proud to represent Mercer. Go Bears. Go southern hospitality. 

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I love seeing cute little seals everywhere!         Looking like a tourist is my specialty.

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 We made it to the beach!          Saw the sunset…

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Thanks for photographing our run, Reed.

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What Day is It?

Not a day here goes by that isn’t fun, eye opening, and long. When I say long, I don’t mean that it drags on. I mean that it’s packed full of things to do and places to see. That being said, I ask what day it is almost every day and I think I get a little judged by that, but oh well it’s all fun. We got to go to Robben Island today to see where Nelson Mandella was imprisoned. We rode a ferry over at 8:30 am and got there around 9:15 am. On the way, we saw seals and a whale! I don’t really know what I expected, but it was a very dark, gloomy place (and it didn’t help that it was cloudy and windy). I don’t really understand how someone can live in a cell that has room for one rug (made by inmates, used for a bed), a small table to eat on (with nothing to sit on other than the floor), and a bucket (which was used as a toilet because they did not have running water). Just thinking about the quality of life of those imprisoned there was saddening and really made me thankful for the life I’m living. After we finished the tour, we hopped back on the ferry, and a little bit into our ride, I was awoken from my nap due to pouring rain (see a pretty fab pic below). We made it back to the waterfront and had lunch, which was so so good, and then proceeded back to our hostel to take a 2.5 hour nap. It’s exhausting here, but it’s so worth it. I looked at the time and it was roughly 6:30, so I decided daddy would be home on lunch break and called him… except it’s Saturday and I forgot. Anyway, Jane and I woke up from our nap and headed down the street for some mexican food which was pretty great and we will definitely be going back there soon! We’re now back at the hostle, just hanging out and probably sleeping soon.

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The prison entrance and AFRICAN PENGUINS!

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High quality pic of the ride back from Robben Island when it started raining.

(I’m not fat I just shoved my kavu under my jacket. Also, take note of the guy in the background.)

What Happens in South Africa, Stays in South Africa

So yesterday I never really had time to say anything about my day, but it was so much fun! We started off the day at Pelican Park, where er worked on cleaning and organizing the site for next week. We finished that sooner than expected, and were told that the rest of the day was free and we could do whatever we wanted, so a group of us walked about 15 minutes to the waterfront to shop, explore, and eat. While exploring, we found a cute little bridge that went along the shoreline and we were able to watch the sunset, where we all fell in love with South Africa’s beauty a little bit more. After eating, we ended up riding the ferris wheel, which had an amazing view of Cape Town and the waterfront. Then we headed back to our hostel and met up with some of our new South African friends who took us to the equivalent to our downtown, where we ended our night with a bang. Sorry for the lack of details, I just took a 2.5 hour nap and am still not completely back to planet Earth. Enjoy these pictures. ūüôā

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Working hard or hardly working?

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The sunsets here are beautiful every single night. Also, enjoy this random picture of a boat I took.

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This is the ferris wheel we rode at the waterfront!

The Land of Honey Boo-Boo

¬† ¬† ¬†Today was packed full of things to do, but so so so much fun! We started off our day at Habitat for Humanity SA where we finished up some office work, and then headed out to our work site, Pelican Park. At Pelican Park, we met with the Pelican Park Owners Association where we got to meet some of the workers and youth that help keep the neighborhood in good shape. After our meeting, we helped organize tools that needed to be placed in sets for the volunteers next week. I’m positive that I now have that list forever engraved in my mind. Reed and I mainly helped with organizing the hard hats. We had to count them, lay them out in rows, clean them, and bag them by the twenties. You want to know how many hats we cleaned? 440. Yeah, that’s a lot.

¬† ¬† ¬†During the time of counting and cleaning hats, we both just felt as if it was a pointless job. I mean, honestly, has anyone ever heard of cleaning hard hats that were going to be used and get dirty 4 days later? no. About 80 hats in (and 10 complaints later), I was reminded of 1 Corinthians 16:14– “Let all that you do be done in love.” What was complaining doing for me? nothing but harming my spirits along with those of the people around me. Yes, I still occasionally complained, but any time I did I was reminded of that verse and was reminded that what I was doing would not glorify The Lord if I weren’t serving with love.

¬† ¬† ¬†We finished the site work way faster than planned and the weather was beautiful, so we got to go to the top of Table Mountain! (We were originally supposed to go Tuesday, but the weather did not permit.) Y’all, South Africa is beautiful. Take the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen and multiply it by 1,000 and that probably comes close to the beauty I’ve seen in the past 3 days. It was just so amazing to sit on top of Table Mountain and look over the edge and just think, “wow. my God created this.” Like, how awesome is He?

¬† ¬† ¬†After Table Mountain, we headed over to supper early so that we could get seats for 15 people without a long wait, which was perfect because I was already starving by this point. I ordered a burger that had bacon, salsa, and cheese. Three of my favorite foods suddenly combined into one, and boy was it delicious. By this time, it was already 8:00 so we headed back to our hostel. A few of us started talking to the people working the front desk and Reed & I got called out on our accents. (Apparently, we don’t sound like Americans– we sound like ‘hillbillies’.) After questioning and quizzing us on our accents, they asked us where we were from and as soon as we said Georgia, he replied with “Honey Boo-Boo??” (Shoutout to Jerod) Yes, all the way in Cape Town, South Africa they do in fact know about Honey Boo-Boo.

     I think this has been my longest blog of the trip thus far, but today was just amazing. Below are some pictures from today, but more will be to come on Facebook eventually.

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Our group in ur matching jackets.              Members of the PPOA during our meeting.

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Tell me that’s not the most amazing view ever… ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†love them to death.

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We had to ride a cable car to the top and back to the bottom of the mountain. It wasn’t too bad until the floor of the car started spinning and you¬†couldn’t see where you were going.

South Africa Stole My Heart (and it’s only day 2)

Today was our first full day in Cape Town and it was a lot of fun! We had to wake up early, but it was totally worth it. We grabbed breakfast and then headed out to one of the townships named Langa. Langa was so interesting to see. Their townships consisted of sheds, hostels, and kids. Lots and lots of cute kids. After we took a walking tour of Langa, we got to see a group of kids who are part of the Happy Feet Youth program dance and it was so awesome! The kids put so much energy into what they were doing and you could just see the joy on their faces. We also started working with Habitat for Humanity SA today! We didn’t do much other than office work, but it was good to get an insight on what we’ll be doing at Pelican Park! Tonight we had a traditional South African meal at the hostel and it was tasty, but too spicy to enjoy the whole meal. That being said, I didn’t eat much so we ventured down to the waterfront for food and free wifi. We’re currently at McDonald’s and I’m using an hour of free wifi and enjoying an apple pie with some coke. It’s nice to be here relaxing and being able to see the shore out the window. That’s all I have for today, but enjoy this quick story about an adventure I had last night.

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Last night on the way to supper, we passed an internet cafe. We didn’t really pay too much attention to how far away from the hostel we were, so we decided to walk there from our hostel last night after supper. It gets dark around here at about 6, so it was dark by the time we started off. After walking a good distance, we weren’t really sure of how much further we had to go, but we kept walking anyway. We finally got there and didn’t even stop to go in. It was sketchy. Black light cubicles were not what we had in mind when we decided to go. After standing on the sidewalk for a few minutes, we saw a restaurant that had free wifi and used it to order an Uber to get back to the hostel. We made it back safe, but never again will we walk to an internet bar without checking into it before hand.

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South Africa has BEAUTIFUL sunsets

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A typical shack at the township we toured.

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Just to give you the full experience, this is lamb head. It is a delicacy here, but hopefully I never have to eat it.

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Some of the sweetest, cutest kiddos.

All McDonald’s Don’t Have Free Wi-Fi

We made it to Cape Town today! Our flight was a little shorter than 12 hours long, which I was actually fine with. I slept A LOT on¬† the plane. It was interrupted by some turbulence once, but other than that, I slept really well. Once we got to Cape Town, we walked in a group to where we would grab lunch (oh, and out of 14 people security picked me to question, again.) Anyways, we went on a driving tour of Cape Town which was so neat. It’s crazy to see how similar, and different, things are. The biggest shocker to me was the driving. Not only do they drive on the left, but I feel like there isn’t much of a rule system to go by, and I would have definitely had a wreck. After that, we got to go up to Signal Mountain and got to overlook the city and even had a cute photo op, followed by Jane chasing a few wild turkeys. We rode around a little more before going to a beach that was beautiful and then heading to our hostel, which is decently nice. The only downfall is that we have limited wifi here, so we went to McDonalds much nicer than American McDonalds) but they didn’t have free wifi either. So on my limited 250 MB (0.25 GB) of data, I’m posting this and seeing what else I can do before I run out.

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throwing what I know

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we love fun photo ops

Both of my Bags Failed the Security Check…

So this morning we arrived at¬†the Heathrow Airport at around 10:30 am. We (Jane, Reed, & I) decided to just have a relaxing day at the airport (due to the fact that we got very little sleep) and figured we would go exploring on our stop on the way back. Today I found out that you can not simply relax at an airport.¬†First, we got off the plane, rode a shuttle to the airport, and thought we got lost within the first few minutes, but after waiting for a bit we saw a few people from Mercer walk around the corner. Thank God. We asked some of the workers where we needed to go and were off to our terminal. Somehow we ended up in the wrong security check lane and had to switch, but we finally got to the right one¬†and did everything as we were told to do. I put all my belongings in two bins and walked through to wait on them on the other side. I watched one bin, followed by the other, go down the side that had to be checked and immediately got worried. I didn’t want to do anything wrong in America, much less another country. They ended up checking my bags and everything was okay (I still don’t know what made them go off). By this point we all just wanted showers…… which just happened to be in a completely different terminal that we could not get to. Annoyed and agitated we all decided to go to a bathroom and wipe down with make-up remover wipes. Jane and I took ¬†up a small corner of the even smaller bathroom and tried to stay out of everyone’s way, but by the looks we were getting, we didn’t do too good of a job at it. We finished up and met up with Reed, followed by grabbing lunch and looking around some shops. And finally, finally… we are relaxing. Sitting in a laid back chair, napping, blogging, and charging our electronics until we board our next flight and head to Cape Town!

Today I was reminded that everything does not go my way and that I can not get everything I want, when I want it. And that was a frustrating, yet sweet reminder. I can’t wait to see what God has in store for us these next few weeks, and I can’t wait to see the daily reminders He shows me.

Until next time, enjoy some silly pics we took on the plane today.

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Through the London Eye

First off, shout out to my roomie, Megan, for the title of this post. I’m new to blogs, so sorry in advance if I’m not good at this. I’m definitely going to keep this up for the next three weeks, but who knows, maybe I’ll keep it up afterwards! Today I’m going to be leaving the country for the first time and I couldn’t be more excited! I’m currently waiting to board my flight to London with my best friends, Jane and Reed. Even though I’m excited, I must say that my nerves are starting to kick in (which is weird because I don’t ever get nervous)! Our flight leaves at 10 and it is currently 8:45, so you could say that the time is passing by pretty slowly. I can not wait to be in London and to make memories with my favorite people! But I’m even more excited to get to Cape Town and help serve the people there! I’m nervous and running out of things to say, so until next time, goodbye!

(P.S. I just went to Starbucks and got asked about my accent. I’m still in Georgia.)

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Jane and I preparing to take off!

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Saying goodbye to my parents!