Paradise lost - paradise found?

Trip Start Jul 19, 2009
1
129
148
Trip End Oct 25, 2010


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Where I stayed
magwa backpackers

Flag of South Africa  , Eastern Cape,
Saturday, February 25, 2012



I am not good at describing places, what I see when I look around me, what calls up all the feelings I am feeling now. A picture or two will give you an impression, but not more than that, for I am at a strange place, weird and wonderful, alien and friendly. 
Here come the mixed feelings again.
 
Gwexintaba must be one of the most beautiful places I have come across on my travels though South Africa. What is beauty? More than meets the eye, it stirs the soul and you would have to be here to know what I mean.
The village is near the Magwa Falls, which are said to be beautiful also, but I couldn't tell you, I didn't get to see them.
Only four nights I have spent here, and that could have been many more, if only, if only.
 
The volunteering project is an initiative of Louis, a middle-aged Afrikaner, who came here 6 years ago, built a main building and several rondavels on what appears to be the very best spot around. Great views and a short walk from the village, maybe 20 huts, and not far from the school, which serves three or four tiny neighbouring villages.
 Louis is a man with a vision for these people. His heart and soul is in it, showing them ways of supporting themselves in an environment where modern technology has not - yet - been introduced. No running water, electricity, cars - no regular doctors, no shops, life has not changed much over the ages.
 
Volunteers are invited to join in where they can, at school teaching, the school garden project, enjoy a day baking the traditional Xhosa bread, visit a home church service, washing clothes in a pool. Encourage the teenage boys to develop their musical skills, watch a movie with the kids on Louis' laptop (Tarzan it was, even I found it strange), have fun with the little ones while mummy fetches water. Well, that's as far as I got, for much as I loved the whole thing, Louis and I were like cats and dogs, quite amazing how in seconds, after we had just shook hands and agreed not to fight, we were at each others throats again. Astrid, the only other volunteer, a calm young christian, would tip-toe out of the room, a woman from the village winked at me, shaking her head, never mind, let go, but I couldn't.
 
I am not even going to get into right or wrong here, you wouldn't understand anyway, and besides, we were each equally bad. But the irony was on arrival I felt such a serenity and thought I had finally found the peace I longed for.

 
This is the second time I have got into trouble with an Afrikaner, something about them brings out the devil in me. Maybe I should work on something, not sure what - keeping my mouth shut, I guess. 
 
Anyway, this bird has flown and now at the Jungle Monkey backpack again, at Port St Johns, all better by the way, and at a loose end. 
 Sooooooo, I'm here, in Africa, what would I like to do most? I'd love to be in a mokoro,  watch the poler's smooth pushing, the lilies, the ripples of the water, the skies, listen to the gentle splashing, the birds, the silence - I want to go to the Okavango delta.
Leaving tomorrow, why waste time? Just hop on a bus my friend said, and that's just what I'll do:) 
Shuttle to Mthatha, Translux to Johannesburg, that means sleeping on the bus, that means no sleep. Next day find a ride to Gaborone, and then onwards and upwards to peace and quiet. 
 
 Will I finally find it or will it find me?
 
Ach, who needs paradise, as long as it's an adventure :)

 

PS  Won't be reachable when there and not sure of internet possibilities.....
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