Merry Christmas from Joanne in South Africa
Joanne Garnett: Molo, sisi and bhuto!
by Pinedale Online!
December 25, 2007
Editorís Note: Pinedale resident, Joanne Garnett, is in Cape Town, South Africa working as an international volunteer. Her blog website isnít working yet, so weíre passing along her notes. She can be reached by e-mail at: email@example.com. Below is her Christmas Day greeting.
Merry Christmas to you all. We had a delightful Christmas Eve dinner with three (count 'em) turkeys and enough mashed potatoes to stuff a horse or two. I made dressing that was pretty OK (no one spit it out and some even wanted seconds), and we had lots and lots to eat. We then had a toast of smuggled-into-the-house wine to further celebrate the holiday and exchanged Secret Santa gifts. I brought presents for everyone that came from Pinedale and/or Wyoming, including the infamous Moose Poop and moose magnets, etc. They were a hit and let the rest of the volunteers discover that Pinedale, Wyoming is indeed a special place -- which I already know.
This morning I went to the children's hospital, and it was quite a time. Christmas music played in the background as I fed one child that looked like he was about 9 months when he was actually about a year and 9 months. After he was set, I bottle fed a 4 month old. Then it was off to holding babies and playing with a few tiny ones while the nurses ran around getting things done. I picked up one very, very tiny baby girl and was utterly shocked when I discovered she had a severely misshapen head, like it had been put in a vise and squeezed. It's a birth defect and though she'll never be a so-called normal person, she was as sweet and appreciative as could be. It made me think that my next career should be working with a hospice or sick children, just trying to make them realize they are not alone and someone cares about how they feel. I loved it.
Marisa and I went up Table Mountain this afternoon, taking the cable car up and down. Because it IS Christmas and because we DID feel like it, we bought a bottle of champagne and two bags of chips to sit out on a picnic table and watch the fog roll in and out over the coastline of Cape Town and South Africa. It was pretty darn neat. We got a dissertation from our cab driver on the way back all about the country and what was good and bad about it. He was from District 6, which we hear about repeatedly. Apparently District 6 was a section of Cape Town that had a mixture of blacks, whites, East Indians, Malays, and so on that functioned very well and in considerable harmony, until the government moved every one out and tore it apart a few decades ago. People from there still very much lament its loss, sort of like how the US Urban Renewal program impacted communities in the 1950's. When neighborhoods are torn up, the former residents don't really ever quite recover from that loss. In the case of District 6, the neighbohood was torn up because the government wanted to have separation of races. There is talk now about rebuilding the district to bring back the former residents, but that discussion has been going on for 7-8 years. Who knows....................
I'm so sorry I haven't sent photos yet and promise to send some out after I return. I am normally using the house computer and it doesn't work to send photos out on that system. Just consider them to be dessert after all this verbage going on!
So tomorrow we do the wine tour in three towns since it is Boxing Day and a legal holiday, then Thursday and Friday it is back to the play school. Some kids will still be gone visiting families outside of the area, but we'll still have our hands full. Let's put it like this: I go to bed at night about 10-10:30, SO unlike me! ;-)
We have a good group of volunteers. As always group dynamics are, to say the least, interesting. But good hearted? Absolutely. Caring for those around them? Totally. So we all attempt to accommodate one another's eccentricities and enjoy the time. It'll be real interesting to see how 10 of us do in a van tomorrow, riding around for the wine tour.
I hear Jingle Bells playing on the radio in the other room, and look outside at a palm tree, dark purple flowers, and lush greenery. We're all a little confused about what time of year it truly is, but know in our hearts that it is indeed Christmas. We share it with all of you back home and send blessings of love and peace-filled days ahead.
Until later! Jo