Monday, April 14, 2008

Township Life

The following is an excerpt from a journal entry that was shared during one student's year end testimony.

You can’t describe what it’s like to walk around a township, Let alone live in one. You can’t describe the feeling, there’s a lot of paved roads, but then there are clay allies between the shacks. It’s like being in a constant maze, with passage ways everywhere. The shacks could be the most incredible sight. Pieces of wood, tin, cardboard, thrown then nailed against the wall, with cracks or gaps as windows. Tiers and cement bricks sit upon the roofs to keep them from blowing off. The walls are often slanted and deformed, slowly toppling over. These shacks are no bigger then my room at home, yet an entire family will sleep in them.
The sight of hundreds of people living so closely together is incredible. Houses are built side by side. There are no front yards, only shared allies where drying clothes hang over fencing wire. And wherever there is any shade, you will be sure to find a dog sleeping. I don’t know if anyone owns these dogs, or if they wander looking for food, their bodies are slender and limp. But dogs aren’t the only animals. Chickens run lose, across the streets and into shacks. I can only image all the roosters in the morning.
There are so many baby chicks as well, they kick up garbage to make areas to rest in. There is garbage everywhere, and no one picks it up, except for the few BFI sized bins on the paved streets, but they, themselves, overflow. People throw their garbage any where they please, you cannot look anywhere without seeing pop cans, condoms, and wrappers. You kick as you walk down the street, and kids play in it with bare feet. Along side the paved roads is a ditch system where water flows into the sewer. But the garbage quickly piles up and blocks the water from running. You wind up with flooded streets running through rubbish.
So with wild animals garbage, minimal hygienic resources, its not hard to imagine the smell. Tons of corners have a rotten out in the sun with a strong urine smell. People are living among these unpreventable smells. These shacks are built among these odour hot spots.
And despite this Kayamandi is the most beautiful place I’ve ever been. And it is all due to the people.
Life in township changes at every corner. One corner a girl is playing a drum as her friends are dancing, down a back ally two men are playing a game of checkers on their homemade board, and down the street little kids are running around, playing on their toy cars, as their neighbours are blasting rap music of their stereos. Someone is running a hair salon out of their front porch, and another is selling lamb heads, muddy and piled in the streets. It’s a megalopolis of people, something is always going on. There are always people mingling, dancing singing, listening to music on every street, and every street corner.
It’s a unique vibe and feeling. I can’t describe not going somewhere and seeing hundreds of people. You can’t describe soccer games in the middle of the street with a flat ball, and you can’t fully describe the smile on a kids face as he rolls his tire with a stick. It’s the most beautiful feeling and place.

Submitted by Kyle Wiebe

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Safe, Sound and about to Graduate

Winnipeg, MB

Well we are safe and sound and recovering from Jet Lag, after 49 hours in transit.

This weekend will be our Grad weekend, a chance to meet each others' families, to have one last site gathering and to celebrate the work God has done this year in each of our lives.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Out of Africa

Greeting Friends and Family!

Just an update for you.

Tomorrow morning we will be leaving bright and early for the airport and our travel iternerary is as follows:
Seven hours on the bus from the camp we are at to the Airport in Johannesburg.
Six hours at the airport in Johannesburg.
A twelve hour plane ride to London, England.
A six hour layover in London.
An eight hour flight to Toronto.
A short layover for some in Toronto, a medium layover for other in Toronto, a longer layover for the rest in Toronto at Johnny Fukumoto's house!
A two and a half our flight to Winnipeg where we will begin our weekend festivities.

And that concludes our time in South Africa, thanks for following along with us. More stories to follow as we continue to unwrap our experiences.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Outtatown... for different reasons

Most people join Outtatown at least partly because of the promise of cross cultural adventure. They’re sold when they watch the catchy little promotional video that plays on the Outtatown website. It shows students bungee jumping, playing with lions, singing on gospel trains and being swamped by loads of delighted little school children who just want to touch your skin and hair. I admit that these things caught my interest as well, but my primary reason for joining the program was for first semester, in travelling around our OWN country, Canada.
I am a missionary kid through and through and have spent my life growing up in Africa. Like most missionary kids who grow up overseas, I struggle with the issue of identity. Who am I? I’m Canadian by passport, but have never really lived there. I am definitely not African. My skin color and family income separates me from a sense of belonging to the place my parents work. This is the struggle of us in-betweeners, a.k.a third-culture kids.
I have loved Outtatown because I feel like it has been the perfect transition phase between life as a missionary kid and life in Canada. Not only was I able to see my “home” country and be introduced to other Canadians my age, but I was also able to learn about Canada’s history and culture, a completely new experience for me. Then came second semester where flying back over the Atlantic into Africa felt like returning home. I was delighted to return to the heat and rain. My favourite parts of second semester so far have been the home stays with families from Pretoria, Durban, and Strandfontein. Though I came into their homes knowing little about their lifestyles I felt a connection with them simply because they weren’t Canadians. I enjoyed the social awkwardness with which they interacted with our team because in so many ways, I saw that in myself as well.
Though it has not always been easy or fun, I have learned a lot in Outtatown. I’ve learned about Canada and South Africa and who I am as an individual. Most importantly, I’m learning that the bonds of community are stronger than the bond of nationality and as Christians; our differences are something we can praise God for, because we all have something unique to give.
Submitted by Adrienne Leitch

Adrienne at the top of Table Mountain

Friday, March 21, 2008

Sports Column

The starting line-ups take their place on the field.
Date: Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Ajax Cape Town 1-1 Platinum Stars
Game Recap:
There were four aspects of the game worth note.
First: The pre-game celebration presented by the Ajax Cape Town fans. They were decked out with 6 foot blow horns, a World War II siren and fans that smoked lots of cigarettes. Fortunately they were merely 15 feet away from us, so we were right in the middle of the action!

The game about to begin.
Second: #101 on the Platinum Stars. I have never in my life seen a triple digit jersey number in professional sports so I was intrigued. The more I think about it, the more confused I become. Are there over 100 players on the team and they all need their own number? But the mystery is solved by his yellow cleats (there uniforms were black); he just wants to stand out.
Third: The main attraction of the game was the accurately dubbed “superfan”. Fully loaded with an Ajax flag and two cigarettes, one in the mouth, one behind the ear, he tore up and down the front row of the bleachers keeping even with the ball on the playing field for nearly the entire first half, sprinting especially hard when there was a close play at the visiting team’s goal.

Fourth: A high school band arrived late in the first half and promptly initiated an African dance party on the opposite bleachers. I was impressed, and slightly annoyed, in the second half as they played the same song over and over for the duration of the 45 minute half.
Submitted by Steve Klassen

Game Night

The Fans waiting patiently for the game to start.

Sarah and Brittany

The crowd

The Outtatown Fans representing the hometeam with PRIDE. (Johnny, Dave and Reuben

Table Mountain Hike

Wednesday, March 19, 2008
It’s one of the best known sites in South Africa, and you can find it on everything from postcards to t-shirts: Table Mountain, which is aptly named for its characteristically flat top.
Everyone on the site dressed for the heat as we set out to hike up this beauty. I noticed in amusement how we, with our hats, beloved bandannas, clanging water-bottles and cameras swinging at our sides didn’t need a sign for anyone to know we were tourists! Several people chose to take the cable-car up to the top of the mountain, but for those of us who hiked it our spirits were almost as high as the elevation! Our initial charge gave way to heavy breathing after several minutes, as the trail consisted of large rocks that put the Stairmaster to shame.
Once I reached the summit, I felt accomplished and recharged by the view that met my eyes – outstretched below me in toy-like simplicity lay Cape Town, massive stadiums looking like mere thumb nails. The aqua waters of the ocean met strips of white sand beaches, framed in my view by the steep pillaring rock cascading downward which we had just conquered. I felt so small compared to it all, yet the awe of such great heights was washed with a calm sort of assurance, how great is our God, that he can care about EVERY person in all the dot-sized houses, that he has the might to move mountains?!
We stopped for almost an hour to rest, take pictures, and take in the view before modern technology whisked us back to the bus, in the form of a three-minute rotating cable car. How was Table Mountain? Well let’s just say that I liked it enough that I bought a post card.
Submitted by Rachel Nafziger

Megan enjoys a lunch break on the way up with a great view from the mountain.

Tiffany and Rebekah

We were thankful for a slight cloud cover and a gentle breeze as we hiked up during the hottest part of the day.

The view of Table Bay and the Cape Town Waterfront from half way up the mountain.

Taking in the scenery and a quick photo break... Libby, Jen, Dana, Kim in the back and Adrienne and Sully in the front.

Dana tries to run up the mountain, only to quickly realize maybe that's not such a smart idea after all!

Sarah, Rachel, Hannah, Kristi, Darren

Jen stops for a quick drink of water.

The path we took was a giant staircase up the side of the mountain. This is the final "flight" of stairs before the flat Table Top.

Libby, Ryan and Kim

Rachel, Sarah, Kristi

Ryan... king of the hill

Chantel, Steve and Megan at the summit.

Da Boyz at da top

The view from the top! Well worth the hike (or the optional Cable Car ride up!)

After an hour plus hike up the five minute cable car down seems like a breeze!

Hannah, Megan, Chantel, Steve

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Shark Diving

March 18, 2008
Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would stare into the eyes of a Great White Shark of the Indian Ocean. However, during our stay in Simon’s Town many of us boarded the bus by 5am so that we could reach the shark diving location in good time. We started off with a good breakfast served at the base, and then with a quick briefing we headed out on the boat. The sun was already shining and it appeared that we had a good day ahead of us. The boat took us out for a good 45minutes till we dropped anchor at the spot where we would wait eagerly (yet patiently) for any sort of sighting. I was trying so hard not to get my hopes up because we were told there was a chance we wouldn’t see any sharks. It was a bit discouraging when by noon there was still nothing.
But then the time came. We had to face our fears, climb into a wetsuit, strap on a pair of goggles, and jump into a 6-person cage off the edge of the boat into the frigid water. While the crew threw bait over the edge of the boat, and there were sharks circling in the water right in front of our very own eyes! It was a huge rush, since you didn’t know how long the shark was going to stick around.
Our group was very fortunate. We saw two whales, one jellyfish, many seals and four sharks! By the time we started heading back we were all exhausted but still excited about what we had just experienced. We got back to the base and had a delicious lunch which ended off our day. All in all Shark Diving was an awesome day and something that I know is a once in a lifetime experience for me.
Submitted by Sarah Janzen


The gorup waiting for the sharks to come.

There's a fine line between "suntanning" and seasickness, here it's hard to tell which is the case.

Tessa on the deck of the boat before seasickness hit her.

Kyle lounges on the boat.

Julia and Brittany enjoy the day at sea.

Carissa, Ryan, Jen and Stephanie.

The boat

Brent, Amanda, Steve enjoy the ride.

Kim and Chantel suit up to be lowered into the shark infestic Atlantic waters in the cage.

Reuben and Justin opt not to wear the wet suits.

Kyle demonstrates that the ocean is in fact quite chilly!

The cage.

In the cage Kristi, Sarah and Darren. Ready for a close up of the sharks.

Justin, Steve and Tiffany

Mmmm lunch... thankfully this is the shark's lunch and not ours!

The bait and wait game.

"Here sharky"

and finally the moment we've all been waiting for!