Friday, 28 February 2014

Its been a long, long time...

Life has many twists and turns, and the past year was probably the most arduous one our family has ever encountered, and thankfully I am now on a (fairly) straight road as our lovely daughter has now recovered well from surgery etc.  I am so thankful for the wonderful health system in New Zealand.

So, blogging took a back seat for a while.

But now I feel as if its a good time to get going again! I am presently visiting my father  and sister in Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa. Our family left South Africa in 1996 to start a new life in New Zealand. I have come back here quite a few times to visit my family, and its been interesting to see how the country has changed while we have been away. There are good things, there are bad things. Poverty and lack of employment are still bad, and with this comes problems with begging at street intersections theft, etc. Its so sad to think that Mandela's dream of a better place for everyone has not become reality.

 At present I am staying in my fathers house in a small retirement complex, with electric fences 12 foot high to protect the aging community from break ins and theft. And this is no exception, everywhere you go, properties have really high walls with electric fences and razor wire on top of that. Its horrible.

However, there are many things about South Africa  that I am really enjoying. The weather here is warm , sunny , most of the time punishingly hot and humid, but its so lovely to feel the warm air on your arms, and not the ever-so-slightly chilly wind which we get in New Zealand. And wonderful to jump into an outdoor unheated swimming pool and not shudder with shock! I go for a swim every morning, annoying the troupe of geese as I have entered their 'territory'.
I love the sound of familiar birds, doves cooing in the trees, the raucous "KA KAW!" from the Hadida bird, a brown ibis which is so common here. As it is a tropical area, the plants that grow here are huge, and flowers are everywhere.

What is really lovely, though, are the clothes people wear. I am really enjoying looking at the styles that people wear. Not much black clothing around(NONE!), lots of colours, fabulous shoes. And the African women have the most glamorous hair. They don't like their natural hair, which is very tightly curled, so a lot of wigs, and braiding with extensions are commonplace. I can't help myself, I keep saying, gosh, I LOVE your hair!

What's next? A visit to a game park is definitely on the list. Buy some shweshwe fabric. A traditional cotton printed fabric with amazing geometrical designs. 
 I love Africa!