Minnesota Farmer


South Africa Bound – Thursday Feb. 3, 2011
February 16, 2011, 12:11 pm
Filed under: church, friends, Kwazamohkuhle, South Africa, travel | Tags: , , , ,

Fifteen people from the Shetek conference of the ELCA flew to South Africa on an agricultural mission that departed on January 31, 2011.  Today we start our drive to the Kwazamokuhle center.

We finally realized that we lost a day in our flight to South Africa.  The trip over was long, and when you travel against the sun it is hard to keep track of the days.  Daylight here starts hours ahead of what we are used to.  First light is about 5 a.m. and last light about 8 p.m.  With my farmer upbringing it is hard for me to sleep after the sun peaks over the horizon.

Today we head south to the Ondini Circuit of the ELCSA (Evangelical Lutheran Church in South Africa).  Breakfast is at 7:30.  After morning devotions we pack and are ready to leave at 9:00.  We are short some items for the bible school program we are putting on so we make a “quick” stop at the local Pick and Pay.  Unfortunately all of the girls took this as an opportunity to go shopping.

Driving in a foreign country is hard enough, but compound driving in a new city with controls that are not where you expect them to be and you have a real challenge.  Luckily we made it out of the city with no big problems and moved out into the wide open country.

 

Driving in South Africa

 

Our journey from Jo’burg went south down the N3.  It’s a 4 lane highway down to Harrismith.  Cross winds and a heavily loaded van made learning the way our Quantum handled a challenge.  Driving at speeds of 100 to 120 kpm, 66 to 78 mph, was not that much different than what we do here in the states.  But some of the “rules of the road” are a bit different and we had to learn by watching those around us how the locals drive.

We stopped for gas at Bergville and then turned off of the N3 onto R74.  That’s when we hit the dreaded road construction.  The road up until now had been in excellent condition, either asphalt or concrete.  Now we encountered a new surface, packed rock.

 

Waiting for road construction

 

Notice the man in my rear view mirror?  He is using the opportunity of traffic stopped for road construction to sell livestock whips.

 

Packed rock road

 

When you make a rock road you pour crushed rock where you want the road to be, even over an already paved road, level it out, and then pack it until it is firm.  The last step is to spray some oil over the surface and you have a road.

 

My Navigator

 

With the help of my navigator Jessica, we made the trip to our destination.

We stopped in Winterton for lunch and an attempt to contact home at a local internet site, then we headed off for the last few kilometers.  We headed off down 600, a nice asphalt two lane, turned right onto a rocky dirt road, and then left at the sign.

 

Our last turn

 

The road turns to a two track path beside the railroad tracks.

 

Cattle guard

 

We cross the cattle guard,

 

The road in

 

Go past the guard house, the office and several dwellings,

 

Tree lined lane

 

Continue down a tree lined lane and the gardens to our home for the next few days.

 

Welcome

 

Several of the staff where there to welcome us.  Hugs were exchanged by the returning members and new visitors were introduced.

 

A welcome song

 

Friends from past visits gathered to greet us and welcome songs were exchanged.  We sang “All are Welcome,” it became our theme song for the trip.

After dinner and some time to settle into our rooms we were ready for sleep.  Tomorrow promised to be a busy day and we needed some time to prepare for it.

Our journey will continue with further posts.  I hope you will continue on our mission as we get to know the wonderful people of the area.

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