Wednesday morning our group took a relaxing trip to a local community center and was given marimba lessons. For some of the group, like myself, this was the first time we had ever seen a marimba. The marimba is a musical instrument made of smooth wooden pieces and pipes. The wood is struck with drumstick-type mallets, and sound is produced. All of us got a chance to display our skill, and some caught on quicker than others. Every one of us had a terrific time trying our hand at this traditional South African instrument and making beautiful music together. We also loved the break from our usually busy morning schedule to sit in the sun and listen to a professional marimba band as they played for us.
It is wonderful to see how well our group is getting along with one another and becoming a family. You can really tell that people are really comfortable with one another when they are willing to display their marimba talents, or lack thereof, as well as their “unique” dance moves. By the end of the morning, we were able to walk away with another piece of traditional South African culture, as well as many smiles and fantastic memories.
Two weeks into our adventure and I still cannot believe we are in South Africa. Being thrown into a completely different place and culture was not as difficult as I had originally anticipated. I had envisioned myself feeling unsettled and alone…I could not have been more wrong. I have never felt so welcomed in my whole life.
My host mom looks after me, and has made me a part of her family. She has taught me how to bake and how to hand wash my clothes properly. Doing such simple things in a different environment was an experience.
It is easy to feel lost when everything surrounding you is new and very different, but the amazing people you encounter along the way make any adjustments or transitions that much easier. I have fallen in love with the people of South Africa, they have a pride and sense of being that is unshakable. I feel honored to live with these people and to be able to learn from them.