South Africa Update

South Africa Update

Tuesday Evening the 11th

We arrived in Soweto at our first homestay with Kamamma Mamule Tau, her daughter Tilly, and her adorable identical twin grandsons.  Joining me were Ricardo Alvarez, our cameraman, Anthea the Founder of Dreamcatcher South Africa, Dr. Henna Renfurn, a social anthropologist and researcher.  I was exhausted after being up for 25 hours straight and so happy to be served a delicious home cooked South African meal of spiced chicken, rice, salad and home made bread.

We woke up very early for our shoot at the Baragwanath Bridge, followed by the St. Martin’s school in Soweto.  I was in such eager anticipation about what this day would bring.  Driving to the school I was struck by the intense poverty in this community, the garbage uncollected, the heavy iron gates surrounding all the little homes, and how they all just walk in the middle of the road.  When we arrived, I was happy to see that we had a large hall instead of one of their smaller classrooms to shoot our exercise routine.  The girls were all so polite, excited and attentive.  We had them dressed in t-shirts with  the colors of their flag. I was concerned because they were in 8th grade they may just roll their eyes at the whole thing, but instead I was so incredibly touched by their hugs and tears after it was over telling me they never wanted it to end.  It was the best day of their lives!!   We all joined in a circle dancing and singing in celebration.  My heart felt full, and I knew then that Anthea as she approached me with tears in her eyes, that her vision was a success!  I feel blessed to be a part of this amazing project.

Saturday the 14th

So much has happened it is difficult to put into words.  I have had no access to the internet until now so have much to catch up on.

The next day we flew to Port Elizabeth.  It was a very windy and muggy day.  Anthea’s Sister and husband picked us up at the airport to give us the Dreamcatcher’s vehicle, and we then proceeded to drive 4 hours along the Indian Ocean, the Garden Route which was beyond spectacular.  South Africa offers every kind of rich landscape you can imagine.  I even got to see the little monkeys along the side of the road. It was a striking contrast to see all of the majestic beauty combined with the extreme poverty of little shacks built into the hills along side of the road.  It’s hard to comprehend and wrap my head around people actually having to live this way.  So very sad and tragic.

We arrived at our second homestay with Magda Kock, our Kamamma in Knysna. Her home was a step up and perched up atop of a hill with a beautiful view.  She cooked us a lovely meal of beef curry, rice, butternut squash soup and salad.  Ricardo and Henna arrived a bit later and we all we sat outside on her porch to enjoy the lovely view and breeze.  Slept heavy that night!   Seeing the night sky with all the vibrant stars was such a treat for me.

Sunday the 15th

One of the best days of my life.  Arrived at the Botlieskop Private Nature Reserve for our 4×4 Safari adventure with Marco as our guide.  It was a bumpy, bumpy ride so I can up with a new exercise program called “The Toss Around.”  I’m sure it will be a huge success:)  Ricardo did a brilliant job capturing all the animals in their natural habitat.  We got a little too close to the lions, but how truly amazing and gorgeous they are.  My other favorites were the giraffes, Rhino’s the rare black impala and the zebras.   It was a gorgeous sunny warm day with a wonderful breeze.  We set up a picnic in the grass right near the giraffes.

After the safari, we headed to the lodge to sit and enjoy some delicious South African Beer out on the deck looking out at the miraculous view.  What an upscale, top notch this place was.  I loved it!!  Hated to leave…

We then drove another 2 hours to our next destination, Oudtshoorn.  We stayed at an old renovated 50’s farmhouse, which was spacious and perfect for us.  We went into the quaint little town and had an Ostrich Dinner at a beautiful old hotel.  I had to try it didn’t I?  When in Rome!!

The next morning, Illse who owns the property, served us a fresh farm breakfast outside.  I do believe I am getting spoiled with all of this home cooking!!  Her husband, Katot, is a ranger of note and showed us unique pictures of the rare mountain leopards they had taken recently.

After that, we drove to the Ostrich Farm.  How hilarious and crazy looking these creatures are.  Very dangerous too, so didn’t get very close.  They had a very nice restaurant set up outside surrounded again by so much beauty.

Our day ended by checking into one of the most beautiful and lush family run wine estates anyone could hope or dream to stay at.  Nuy Valley not only produces world class wines, but this family run concern with outstanding labor practice, offering opportunities for all of their staff to develop, has a range of accommodations to die for.

That’s all for now folks.  Gotta shoot my routine, do some wine tasting and feast my eyes on unsurpassed views!