Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Rhythm and Theory...

Last week was spent in very little pursuit of my project – appropriately, this has resulted in this week becoming very intensely project oriented. I had two observations and two interviews last week; this week, I've already had one observation and an interview, have two or three more planned, and then will attend a three-day Baptist camp this weekend. I hope and believe it will yield a lot of valuable information. (For the record, I didn't waste time - I simply worked on other projects; i.e., coursework that I needed to do, and worked through some class notes, as well as some creative work I describe below).

I also feel I've broken through some kind of barrier – a fear, maybe. I'm going to attend a World Cup match in Capetown, I'm going to buy souvenirs, I'm going to a Baptist camp in Chintsa (pop the tongue off the back of your teeth, as if tut-tut-tutting someone, and then “hintsa” simultaneously as you finish the pop); I attend young men's activities (as a leader), I'm helping with a soccer camp, etc. I feel like I'm in things now, and that's a good change.

Sundays – LDS services on Sunday, are and have been a blessing. I truly enjoyed fast and testimony meeting – spiritual food, quite directly.

I attended a Xhosa cleansing ceremony where two Xhosa choirs sang – one from a local church congregation, and one from the prison. The prisoners were phenomenal – in the tent where we were, the twenty-five of them sounded like a hundred, and their music was amazing. If I am able, I will post the video. The cleansing ceremony was a mixture of Christianity and traditional Xhosa beliefs, with both sides represented roughly equally. Three or four Christian ministers were there, as were the Xhosa royal family and a traditional Xhosa healer (who looked very dark in his countenance, - (his look, not his skin.)

Interestingly, people have trouble guessing my age here. I've had a few who guess correctly at 22, but I've also gotten three 28s, two 26s, one or two 24s, and surprisingly, two “18 or 19s.” I've started asking people I know how old they think I am, out of curiosity and just for fun, and seeing their reactions.

I wrote the beginning of a “grand” (attempting to explain a lot) theory this week. I'm still working on it. It's interesting – I feel simultaneously more rooted, and more shaken, than before I wrote it. I felt like there was some inspiration given concerning it, and I was very excited about writing it – Again, I think I've broken through into a different world, a different realm of my life. I'm not sure yet what this means, but it seems like I'm moving forward.

And now, off to get a rabies vaccination!

(Note, afterward - I wish I'd gotten ALL of my rabies vaccinations here. Painless, and 130 dollars less here. US- 200 dollars; SA - 480 Rand/70 dollars. Oi. But, they don't carry Japanese encephalitis vaccine at all, so that's a problem.)

The YSAs had a dance event. Rolanda taught us the first part o the diski dance (the national soccer dance) and Heather and I taught them how to Swing, and Brandon taught a little breakdancing.
This is Sipwesihle, one of the YSAs.

Here we are at Nokuthula's house, eating walkie-talkies, so named because they are in fact chicken heads and feet. The flavor isn't bad, but looking at them too long makes the feet begin to resemble human hands. Also, they're not particularly tasty - it's mostly fat and sinew - so I would recommend a stiff sauce if you're going to eat them, and a proclivity for crushing bones and beaks in your teeth. I didn't enjoy this meal too much, to be honest.

Here's Macrae making a frightening face behind Auntie P, while we were making cook sisters. Cook sisters are quite good - imagine an cinnamon wheat bread, made into doughnuts, deep fried in oil, and then boiled in syrup until soaked through, and then rolled in dried coconut. They're quite unhealthy, but pretty tasty.

Here's my abstract image for this week. Almost all houses here are ringed with razor wire (or the wall is topped by a very high voltage electric fence) - at least in suburban and urban areas. Slums, of course, lack such an amenity. I saw the wire here entwined with a flower bearing vine, and thought I'd snap a shot - something about beautiful nature and dangerous people. (Or about life, and the benefits of exercise. I don't know - I'm making this up as I go.)

Ok, this was just me being silly. I guess THIS is the abstract photo of the week - again, life and the benefits of exercise. It's deep, trust me.

The Xhosa cleansing ceremony was to bless an area in which four murdered women had been found stashed in a cave. A women's shelter we've worked with (they're the ones who invited us to the Trafficking in Persons Conference) invited us along. Afterward, we went to a prison for supper (the prisoners make and sell food at this particular prison.) This was a decorative carving in the hall, also made by a prisoner. I found something similar for sale for about 100 bucks yesterday; I just don't know how I'd get it home or what I'd do with it.

Here is Nokuthula demonstrating how to properly eat a chicken head, and me stalling before eating one. There just isn't a lot of meat on any of it; again, it's mostly fat, skin, tendons, and ligaments. Chicken tongue, for example, is meat - but the piece is smaller than my pinky fingernail.
Anyway, it was for the experience anyway, not to be filled. And, although I balked, and didn't eat much; I did try both, and did eat something, clearing both my name and my mother's for when she didn't want to eat Walkie-talkies in Columbian soups.

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