Tuesday, August 31, 2010

First Post, First Impressions....Well, A Lot of Firsts...

Hey! The blog is officially up!

Wow, I’m in Africa! Never thought I would be here 3 months ago...Anyway, so the blog....well, my plan right now is to make a post every week telling of anything that was of note that happened throughout the week and, if I took any pictures, explain the best of those. I’ll probably be putting up all the pictures in an album on Facebook...we’ll see how everything works out.

So, for those who didn't know, on Monday, August 23, I Ieft for South Africa. I pulled an all-nighter with Aaron Mason, Joel Borden, Seth Elsasser, and Alex Colwell at Bradley. We mostly played spades, and yes, Joel and I won :) I went home, grabbed my stuff, and left for the airport with my family. Some really good friends came to see me off along with my family. My first two flights were quite uneventful and boring. I made it to Atlanta with a seven-hour layover. I plugged my laptop in and proceeded to eat away the time by getting on the internet. During this time I met two people, one was an American headed to Moscow, Russia, and the other was a African girl headed back to Ghana (I tried to stay away from the World Cup in my conversation with her). It was pretty cool talking to them and learning what they were doing.

Finally, the Beakleys arrived! They were a very welcome site. We proceeded to get supper, since it was about 6:00 p.m. I ate at Panda Express because I was told it would be the last good Chinese I would get for the next year. Then, we headed to the boarding gate for our plane; the plane took off about 7:30 p.m. East coast time....we arrived about 5:00 p.m. Tuesday evening in Johannesburg. Oh, and this was the longest (about 17hrs.) and most boring (between two people, impossible to sleep, no good movies, etc...) plane flight I have ever been on.

When we got to Joberg, Mr. Beakley noticed that the customs officials weren't wearing uniforms. We found out then that the government employed doctors, teachers, and police had gone on strike. (They started the strike about a week before we got here and it's still going on. The people on strike are also intimidating private doctors, school teachers, and kids. Here in Polokwane some of the private schools had to shut down because people were threatening to burn the buses with the kids in them. As emotions fly, the violence will increase). Quinton, a friend from Pretoria, was there to meet us and he had the Beakley's combi which had been left there while they had been gone. (It was also stolen while they were gone, but the the criminals were caught and the vehicle returned -- though the driver side lock was broken and needs to be replaced).

For those who don't know what a combi is...here is a picture:

We made it back to their house and proceeded to go to bed since we were all pretty jet-lagged. We mostly recouped on Wednesday. I got to see Phil that afternoon and he already had plans of how he was going to use me. Handsome also came back home since he was staying at Joseph's while the Beakley's were gone. That night we went to a Bible study at the home of one of the church families. On Thursday, I practiced with the Senior Youth worship band and played guitar with Phil for a chapel that the seminary students had. I met Junior, a good friend of Jason's and the families, on Friday. He is a really cool guy and is leading a Bible study for students at Capricorn (a public school in Polokwane that is right across the street from the Beakley's). That afternoon I became a leader in the Junior Youth, without realizing it (Phil's in charge), attended a Junior Youth's leaders meeting, and then actually helped out with Junior Youth. Later, I practiced once again with the Senior Youth worship band, then immediately afterwards we had Senior Youth. Over the week I got "moved in" and made myself comfortable in my room.

On Saturday, we went up on the roof and broomed the leaves off onto the ground and in general just cleaned up the yard. It was mainly just a nice day to rest and stay around the house. We went to Sunday school and Church the next day. We went over to a family's home that was from Bible study. We had boerwors for lunch, which is a lot like a bratwurst. Later that night, we had evening service at church.

Monday was the official start of school for Jason, Jacob, and Handsome. To start of the weekdays we go to the gym at about six o'clock every morning; from there we get ready for the day and do Bible reading. School starts at about nine. In general, everyone is done around four and that includes homework. Quite nice. Well, Monday was more of a prep day. We went over what subjects each of them was doing, at what times, and then went to the mall to shop for school supplies. Today, Tuesday, was the real start of the school year. I'm still getting the hang of my role in it all and hopefully soon it will become natural for me and everyone else.

It's been one week -- almost to the hour -- since I arrived here and I like it a lot. Well, I think I have reached the limit of what I can remember or at least the main things I planned to cover. Hope everyone is having a great weak and God bless.

P.S. If you have a question about Africa, what I'm doing, etc...please ask. Or if you have a request for a picture or to explain a picture, once again...please ask. I'd be happy to do any of it  and it would help me get to know what type of stuff to put on here. Thanks.

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