Hi to everybody! I made it safely with all my luggage to Lily in Mophela Township outside of Pietermaritzburg in Kwazulu Natal, South Africa. I got to spend a few hours with Rachel, my sister, in London during my 11 hour layover which was a lot of fun even though the weather was completely bizarre. Harry Potter alert: There is, by the way, a Platform 9 3/4 at King's Cross Station. I got about halfway through but then decided since everyone had been so supportive I had better go on to South Africa :). I have photographic proof of this for those of you who doubt me!!!
The first interesting thing that happened when I got to Johannesburg is that the customs official and I had the exact same birthday. He got really excted about it! I think he was the first friendly customs official I have ever met. The area that Lily is in is very rural. As we were driving up the roads turn to dirt and we were met by about 30 children running alongside the van. A lot of them knew my name already and were yelling "Miss Sarah!" and waving.
Lily has about 20 houses with 114 children total living in them. The permanent house mothers are hired from the community, and raise these children together. The children call them their "ma" and the others in the house with them are their sisters or their brothers. It seems like a really stable situation for them, especially considering the situations some of them came out of.
My internet access is going to be more sporadic than I thought, so I think what I'm going to do is type blogs on my computer and then post them when I can. So if you see I've posted a new blog, check and see if I've put more than one!
And now to leave you with a typical story: my first day here I was walking around and a few of the children were yelling my name and waving me over. So I was over talking to them and they asked me what my last name was. I told them and they gasped and said, "Sarah Underwear?". So it took about 30 seconds for that elementary school nickname to follow me halfway around the world. Hah.