Saturday, March 29, 2008

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.


Claire said...

Sarah!! I'm so glad that you got there and had such a warm welcome! I think that having kids running around the car calling my name before I met them would just make me melt. Sorry about the nick-name...much be universal. So these kids speak English? That's nice. I'll be checking often...praying for you, too! Love ya, Claire

Alice said...

Your arrival sounds like something you would see in a movie. I bet your Mom will love it! She'll probably get a lump in her throat like I did!! I will enjoy hearing about your time there. God bless you!

Smith Family 5 1/2 said...

I'm so glad you're there safe and sound! I'm looking forward to seeing pictures of some sort! Especially the HP thing! Can't wait to see some of the cute kids you are working with.

LStan said...

I think I would just die if i had a bunch of cute little africans running after me saying my name!!! ahhhh!!!! i hope you can post pictures!! maybe you could just bring a kid home for me :)

Anonymous said...

Hi Sarah, I'm glad that you arrived safely. I only wished that you could have met me for lunch when I was home a few weeks ago, so that we could of had an official good bye party :). Sounds like the children are very loving and you will be loved the entire time you are in africa. I will keep in touch and expect interesting updates.... Love Ya and God Bless you, Tracy