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Hello family and friends!


Here’s another long update regarding my latest adventures…. At the end of my last update, I think I was just heading from Swaziland to Johannesburg. I didn’t have much of a plan after that, but knew I wanted to visit Namibia.

Well, as luck would have it, I found out at the hostel in Johannesburg that a guy was starting his own overland camping company called Blue Chilli Adventures (www.bluechilliadv.com). (He’s worked for big overland trips in the past, and decided to branch out on his own.) And, he was just getting ready to take 2 people on a 42-day trip, with the first 2 weeks being a trip around Namibia. I signed on to join them for the 2 weeks in Namibia, and we left Johannesburg in a van on October 3rd.

Before we left, I had a couple of days in the Johannesburg area. I was able to take a full-day tour of the Soweto Township and surrounding area. Our guide took us through an informal settlement where he was raised and still lives on the outskirts of Soweto. That was really interesting – it’s a shanty-town that doesn’t have electricity (they have a battery charging station and use car batteries for power) and only has communal porta-potties and water pumps scattered throughout the settlement. Since our guide still lives there and is really involved with a community center there, we were able to walk all over the settlement (with adorable children holding our hands the whole way) and to have lunch at the community building. It’s hard to believe that it’s still considered an informal settlement, since the neighborhood is over 100 years old and has existed longer than the township. Although it was obviously a very poor area, the people were very welcoming and friendly to us. And the children were quite happy to see white people in their neighborhood. One little girl who was holding my hand kept studying and touching my arm, just checking out the skin color and hair. When we left the settlement, we went to some of the more well-known areas of Soweto. To name a few, we visited the street where students were marching to protest having to speak Afrikaans in school when police open fire on them, Nelson Mandela’s former house (which is now a small museum), and another museum focused on the history of the anti-apartheid movement and the role that the students and Soweto played. We also passed through some really wealthy areas of Soweto – there’s a huge disparity between the poorer and wealthier neighborhoods there. In fact, two of the nicest houses we passed were Winnie Mandela’s house and Bishop Desmond Tutu’s house.

I spent another day going to Pretoria, a city about 40km from Johannesburg. Wayne, the guide for the Namibia trip, had to do some errands there, so I took advantage of the chance to ride along and go to a couple of the embassies there. It was surprisingly quick and easy to get the visas I need for Tanzania and Kenya, and it’s nice to have that out of the way! So, on to Namibia….

The Waynedale News Staff

The Waynedale News Staff

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