Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Quick rundown of our days....:

Day 1-3, June 25-27 – Arrived in Cape Town. Immediately greeted by Table Mountain overlooking the airport, which is a very stunning sight. The airport is surrounded by the vast shanty townships of cape town, composed almost entirely of rickety handmade shacks, and it is this unbelievable poverty that greets anyone who flies into Cape Town. Met a great deal of David's family (there are tons of them) over the next few days then I (Shaun) got quite sick.

Day 3 - Sunday the 28th - Jo (David's niece, amazing woman) took us to Guguleto (a cape town township) to see a church service done in about 80% Xhosa. afterwards we went to the shack home of one of her friends who lives in Khayalicha. I'll write more about this experience later, as it was a very important one.

Day 4-6, June 29-July 1– We explore Cape Town with David (a place of unimaginable beauty) on the 29 but I feel physically wretched and by the following day we both are both sick with miserable colds. We lie in bed for two days recovering. I read #1 Woman's Detective Agency, which was lying around David's house and I thoroughly enjoyed it (this fact is important to remember for later).

Day 7-9, July 2-4 – We do three gigs at three different venues in Cape Town on thur/fri/sat, all of which go over very well and were very warmly received. On saturday, David's friend Mitch Besser, a doctor who has started a very effective and successful anti-AIDS NGO called Mothers 2 Mothers 2 Be, saw our show at the Obz Cafe and really liked us. Thus he invited us to go the very next morning to a special summit that he was presenting at. The event, which was at a orphanage for AIDS orphans in Khayalicha, was a summit of the Academy of Achievement (or something) which as far as I can tell is an organization for rich graduate and doctoral students interested in social change. What was nuts is the incredible number of celebrities there. Among those we met or at least stood close to: Vince Gil, Amy Grant, Nadine Gordimer (Nobel Laureate, author of July's Children), Chris Matthews, Sam Donaldson, Jeremy Irons, Barbara Holden (Minister in the government and extremely important figure from the Anti-Apartheid, released from jail at the same time as Mandela), and I got to have a lovely little chat with Alexander McColl Smith, the author of (yes) #1 Woman's Detective Agency that I had just read a few days earlier. The nuttiest thing was that after the summit, everyone was bussed out of the incredible poverty of Khayalicha and housed in the fanciest hotel in Cape Town, literally one of the most expensive and fanciest in the world.

Day 10, July 5 – We drive 3 hours NE of Cape Town to where David's son Alex lives with his wife and twin 10 month old girls on the top of a huge mountain in the middle of a state forest. The vistas off the mountain were unbelievable and David's grand daughters were the sweetest imaginable. Oh yes, and this was also my first trip driving on the left side of the road! We rented a car so we could come back to CT early and david could stay an extra day.

Day 11, July 6 – We drive down off the mountain in the morning (down insane switch backs that stretch off into hundreds of feet of nothingness) and rush home so we can meet Bongani. Bongani is a musician/composer/choir director who is the music director of the church that we went to in Guguleto, who had agreed to spend the day with us and take us to the rehearsals of his youth band and youth choir, as well as give us a tour of some of the town ships. Much more on this later, but the music was unbelievable. Just incredible. Both band and choir sing songs that Bongani composed, largely about social issues. His youth band, called Siyaya, is made up entirely of teenagers from the townships, sings songs about HIV/AIDS (“Masturbation is the safest form of sex, sister, come on”!) and has toured the US several times. We got to sing for them and they did a special 40 minute performance for us. Wow! His choir was undoubtedly the best community choir I've ever heard. His choir and band survive off of partnerships with foreign organizations, largely from the US, and he has asked us to help him find more sponsors to help keep these incredible groups going.

Day 12 - July 7 – We hike in the mountains directly behind our home with Nick, a fabulous Kalk Bay artist. We leave at 6:30am and watch the sun rise as we climb the hills. Incredible, incredible beauty. And since this is fynbos country, I recognize maybe 5% of the plants. Nick is a great naturalist (it features very prominently in his work, which I will describe later) so he proved an excellent guide, describing the various plants and flowers. Our hike took us to several peaks from which we could see for miles. Stunning! Then in the evening we were getting ready to eat super when we got a call from Dan Eppel, David's nephew, who is a fabulous musician, producer and audio engineer. It turns out that he had been asked to record a pitch for Shoprite's TV & radio ads and he asked if we would help him record it. We went on to spend the night singing the old R&B tune “Shout”, which has a good chance of being everywhere in ZA for the next two months. Weird!

Day 13, July 8 – Today we are sleeping in this amazing B&B in a little costal town on our way to Grahamstown. We walked along the Indian ocean as the sun set and the water here is perhaps the most beautiful I've ever seen, a blue bordering on purple.

Alright, more detail later... the internet is not very cooperative here. We miss everyone terribly but we are having such an amazing, amazing time here!

1 comment:

  1. What an experience you're having. Thanks for sharing.

    Peace --- Ron Rink