More recent posts about South Africa

Articles from South Africa

  1. South Africa End of Celebration

    I had the opportunity to be invited to many weddings in and around my village.  I was always amazed at the amount of food that was prepared.  A cow was always killed for the celebration, then a sheep, plus the different types of porridge, pap, sour pap, gravy and more.  Here are all the pots cleaned up and ready to be delivered back to the rightful owners. 

  2. South Africa Too Many Marula, Not Enough Pineapples

      It's marula fruit season in the village. These marula fruit are everywhere! Dropping off trees left and right. Villagers are collecting the local marula fruit from trees to be sold at market. We saw people lined up along the main road to sell their fruit to a commercial purchaser. In addition to marula, there are several other fruits that are in season at this time of the year including mangoes and guava. As a result, we've noticed an usually high number of kids in trees these days try...

  3. South Africa First time on the computer

    Impromptu opening of the new computer lab at one of our primary schools.

  4. South Africa The math lesson

    Taking a break from sorting library books, Woody stops to give a math lesson.    “A quality education has the power to transform societies in a single generation, provide children with the protection they need from the hazards of poverty, labor exploitation and disease, and given them the knowledge, skills, and confidence to reach their full potential.”            ~Audrey Hepburn

  5. South Africa Literacy classes in the new library.

    Robin gives a lesson on the library rules in the new library.

  6. South Africa First Time With Computers

      We received 29 computers from a donor in Australia for the computer lab at one of our primary schools. Woody got a few of them set up in time to have an “impromptu” opening of the new computer lab after school just to allow the kids to check out the computers. Unfortunately due to a wiring mismatch with the electrical sockets, we only had enough working outlets to be able to get two computers running. But, after letting a few kids into the lab to try out the computers, we soon realized t...

  7. South Africa Reading Rewards Program

    One of the "Top Five Readers" in the Reading Rewards program receiving her certificate.

  8. South Africa Waka Waka South Africa

    Dancing in the village

  9. South Africa Geography Lesson in Progress

    Geography lesson using the world map project.

  10. South Africa Learning to Cook Pap

    Cooking pap with my host mom.

  11. South Africa Practicing Reading

    Kids in the library for the first time.

  12. South Africa The Girls

    Robin hanging out with the girls in the village

  13. South Africa The Computer Lesson

    Kids watch intensely as Woody demonstrates the typing program during the opening of the new computer lab at one of our primary schools.

  14. South Africa Kids in Kruger

      A local game lodge that is part of the &Beyond Foundation and focuses on “ecotourism” invited representatives from all three of our schools to attend a conservation lesson and game drive. Several teachers, principals, and students attended the event. Even our local village Indhuna (Chief's Headman) got to come along. The purpose of this event was to teach kids about the environment and the animals in the park in order to inform them about the importance of wildlife conservation. This...

  15. South Africa Broken Bridges

      Recent flooding from heavy rain washed away the bridge that connects the two sides of our village. Making it difficult for Woody and I to get to 2 of our 3 schools. We have to cross the river in order to get to two of our schools on the B-side of our village and our Principal says that there are crocs in the river.

  16. South Africa Kids in Kruger

    A local game lodge that is part of the &Beyond Foundation and focuses on “ecotourism” invited representatives from all three of our schools to attend a conservation lesson and game drive. Several teachers, principals, and students attended the event. Even our local village Indhuna (Chief's Headman) got to come along. The purpose of this event was to teach kids about the environment and the animals in the park in order to inform them about the importance of wildlife conservation. 

  17. South Africa Schools in Kruger National Park

    A local game lodge that is part of the &Beyond Foundation and focuses on “ecotourism” invited representatives from all three of our schools to attend a conservation lesson and game drive. Several teachers, principals, and students attended the event. Even our local village Indhuna (Chief's Headman) got to come along. The purpose of this event was to teach kids about the environment and the animals in the park in order to inform them about the importance of wildlife conservation. 

  18. South Africa Village Traditions

      Traditional Shangaan Muchongolo dancing in the village. There is a local dance troupe who performs the Muchongolo dances each Sunday in a different village in our area. Woody and I were lucky enough to catch one of these performances. The Shangaan people originate from Mozambique and are known more for being agriculturalists than pastoralists and cattle herders. The Muchongolo dances traditionally celebrate the role of women in society, war victories, as well as ritual ceremonies.

  19. South Africa Chicken Truck

    Chicken truck on market day... Once a month our village has a pensioners' market.  Everything from house-hold goods, fruits and vegetables, live chickens, clothes, and plastic buckets are sold at the market.

  20. South Africa If you are what you eat, does that make me an arthropod?

      I ate fried Mopane (Mopani) worms for the first time... Well, they are not actually worms, they're caterpillars.  So, I guess you can say that I'm officially an insectivore now.  They tasted smoky and were very crunchy. Mopani worms are a local delicacy especially for the Shangaan people. Sometimes they are fried and other times they are boiled. People eat them here like potato chips or popcorn. Eventually, if these creatures are allowed to grow, they will become a beautiful Emperor mo...

  21. South Africa Pots and Buckets for Sale at the Market

    Once a month, our village holds a Pensioners' market.  Here is a picture of cooking pots and plastic bathing buckets for sale at the market.  Everything from house-hold goods, fruits and vegetables, live chickens, and clothes are sold at the market.

  22. South Africa Broken Down Orange Truck

    Once a month, our village holds a Pensioners' market.  Here is a broken down orange truck at the market.  Everything from house-hold goods, fruits and vegetables, live chickens, clothes, and plastic buckets are sold at the market.

  23. South Africa Dry Season in the Village

    Dry season in the village - a view from a top a nearby mountain.  From this distance, we could still hear the cowbells ringing below.  Ding, ding, ding...

  24. South Africa Dancing With Joy

    Starley Talbott Thompson (aka Anderson) dances with an elder during a traditional wedding celebration in the village of Moruleng, Northwest Province, South Africa.  Onlookers cheered as Starley and her partner danced with joy.  Village weddings are events that take weeks to prepare for, and are attended by most of the residents of the village.

  25. South Africa The Long Road...

    Woody walking on the road to our school.

  26. South Africa Sunset over the Sand River

    Sunset falls over the Sand river - the river that runs through our village.  People use the river for washing clothes, bathing, swimming, fishing, drinking, and collecting water for house-hold use. 

  27. South Africa Sunset on the Railroad Tracks

    Sunset falls upon us as we walk home along the railroad tracks in the village.

  28. South Africa Spider Walking on Water

    A small spider swimming around in our cats' water bowl.

  29. South Africa Millipede...

    Millipede I found on our walk in the village.

  30. South Africa Falling Bridges...

    Dumptruck full of sand fell through the bridge that divides the two sides of our village.  Until the bridge could be repaired it made it quite difficult for Woody and I to get to two of our three schools.

  31. South Africa Bug on Our Windowsill

    This strange bug landed on the latch of our window at home. 

  32. South Africa Blue-headed Tree Agama

    A Blue-headed Tree Agama hanging out on a tree in the courtyard of our primary school.  Because they bob their head up and down, there is a myth among the villagers that they call down the lightning from the sky. 

  33. South Africa Dance Your Heart Out!

    In our village they often have traditional Mchongolo dancing parties for various occasions.  This one was after the completion of a one-year "wearing the black" grieving process for a prominent family in our village who lost a member of their family.  You can see that the boys are really dancing for all they're worth and the expressions on their faces tells the whole story!

  34. South Africa South African Summers

    There was a small river between our village and the neighboring village and summer rains would help fill it up enough for swimming.  It was also about the only way to cool off during the horriffic heat of South African summers and the local kids weren't shy to take advantage of it.  Here's a late afternoon picture of our brother in our host family following his friend with a large leap into the cool waters, while his sister in the background looks on.

  35. South Africa Don't Worry, Be Happy!

    The bridge spanning the river between our village and the neighboring village was never well-constructed.  Oftentimes it cracks or pieces of it collapse and the repairs are always temporary and poor in quality.  One morning a taxi driver's van fell right through the middle of the bridge as it collapsed beneath him.  But, why worry?  I think this picture of the taxi driver and his van greatly demonstrates South Africans' ability to look past adversity with a smile, and not worry about circumst...

  36. South Africa Cat Crazy!

    We started with two kittens that we received from the Pakistani store-owners in our village.  The kittens grew up to be cats who attracted the attention of male cats elsewhere in the village and we've been flooded with kittens ever since!  At least these two mother cats always help each other out with their massive litter of kittens!  How many cats/kittens can you count in this picture?

  37. South Africa Literacy Begins At Home

    My wife, Lora Willard, began gathering book donations to work on a literacy project at our schools.  But before she got a chance to begin the project at school, she pulled out a few books at our home.  Once the kids saw we had books they called all their friends and gathered around in our yard for an impromptu story time!  Literacy really does begin at home (our home in South Africa, in this instance)!

  38. South Africa Laundry the Local Way

    My wife, Lora Willard, is carrying our laundry on her head as she heads back home through the village after a hot day of washing clothes with the other women at the river.  Lora found that washing at the river was more effective with our limited water supply and carrying the laundry on her head was easier than in her hands.  At least in this instance, local is better!

  39. South Africa Leapin' Lizards!

    This large lizard with crazy eyes fell off the rafters on our porch ("stoep") and our brother from our host family picked it up to show it to me.  Our home for 2 1/2 years can also be seen in the background.

  40. South Africa I Spy a Waterbuck

    The boundaries of Kruger National Park in South Africa were just 2 km from our house in our village, so we had plenty of opportunities to visit and track down the wildlife there, trying to find at least one of everything that lives in the area.  Here's a particularly intimate photo (taken through the lens of a binocular) of a waterbuck relaxing in the shade during the heat of the day.

  41. South Africa After-School Snack!

    At school one day after classes I saw some girls throwing rocks at a tree and picking things up off the ground.  When I walked up, they were proud to show me the Mopani Worms (caterpillars) that they had caught for dinner that night!

  42. South Africa A Bear of a Laundry Day

    Our 6 year-old host brother's attempt at hanging out the laundry to dry...

  43. South Africa Peanuts, Sugar Beans, and Fried Mopane Worms for Sale

      Peanuts, sugar beans, and fried Mopane (Mopani) worms for sale at the monthly market in the village.  Mopane worms are not actually worms at all, they're caterpillars.  Mopane worms are a local delicacy and are sometimes fried and other times boiled. People eat them here like potato chips or popcorn.  

  1. South Africa How I Met My Host-Mother. . .

    After having been at our site for nearly 6 months, our host-mother shows up one day completely unannounced out of the blue.  After initially arriving at our permanent site, we were told by one of our Principals who arranged the housing for us, that our host-mother is not living on the property. She is a single woman who owns the property but she had recently moved to a bigger city and found a boyfriend.  So instead, her nephew has been living in the main house in order to take care of the p...

  2. South Africa Communication is Dead

        "The single biggest problem with communication is the illusion that it has taken place." ~George Bernard Shaw   A few weeks ago, Woody went to into our host mom's house to “top up” electricity on our meter box. The conversation that proceeded went a bit like the old vaudeville joke by Abbott and Costello “Who's on First?” Here is the conversation that occurred between Woody and our host mom:   Host mom: Do you have film? “Ni vone kamareni” I saw it in the bedroom. Woody: “U lav...

  3. South Africa Today's Reader is Tomorrow's Leader

    At one of our primary schools, the library has been up and running for a while thanks to the previous PCV. Therefore, I thought that it would be a good idea to start a Reading Rewards program there in order to rejuvenate the kids' interest in reading. At our schools at least, the kids all seem to love competitions. So, this new Reading Rewards program seems to be just the thing to get them excited about reading. I called the competition the “Big Five Readers” and made a chart for each grad...

  4. South Africa The Pied Pipers

      Soon after Woody and I first arrived to our permanent site, one day after school we had a gaggle of children follow us home like the Pied Piper of Hamelin.  Each one carrying a brick in their hands. When we stopped and asked why they were carrying bricks, they answered in unison “I don't know.”  Well, it turned out that our principal arranged to have a shower drain and “septic” tank (really a French drain) installed at our house and he asked literally every child from the school to bring...

  5. South Africa A rainy night kombi ride through the South African brush

    The town of Phoshiri where the Peace Corps assigned me to live is only reachable by bus.  There are no paved roads in or to the village.  The kombis (South Africa taxis) don’t run to the village and it’s not reachable by foot as it sits away through the bush on the side of a mountain over a river and 12 kilometers from the nearest ‘town.’                 My first three months in South Africa, it never rained.  Not once.  I have never gone so long in my life without seeing rain.  (Actually I’...

  6. South Africa Western Medicine in Northeast South Africa

     My host family in the village of Phoshiri has a daughter named Vivian and since I am an honorary member of the family while I am living here, Vivian is one of my “host” sisters.  ‘Vivian’ is her given English name and in her case it is unique that her given English name is far more commonly used than her native Sotho name.  In fact, I cannot even recall her Sotho name come to think of it.  The South Africans call her Vivian and so I do as well.              Vivian is 29 years old and she ha...

South Africa

South Africa

Map of South Africa
status
Open
program dates
1997-Present
current volunteers
123
cumulative volunteers
847

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“Sunset at the Railroad” by PCV Nicholas Baylor Hall. Namibia, 2011.