So the adventure has begun.
For those who don’t know, Michael and I have moved up to Mpumalanga for the year, where I am doing my community service (“comserve”) as a Dietitian. This is a compulsory year of service in a government health institution after having completed studies. It is a great way to gain some experience, while serving the community and maybe, like us, end up going to a place that you would not have expected.
We broke the 1927.7 km trip into 3 parts. First Cape Town to Bloemfontein, Bloemfontein to Johannesburg and then Johannesburg to Tonga in Mpumalanga. In Bloemfontein we went to meet some friends who were also traveling to comserve posts. By 9pm on a Saturday night the Bloemfontein “waterfront” was already pretty much dead and the roads were very empty. I’m not sure whether this is because everyone had gone to the coast for Christmas and New Years Eve, but we could tell we were definitely out of Cape Town. Bloem to Joburg was a relatively uneventful trip, apart from a piece of a boat flying off towards us while we were going 120km/h. A small piece of a boat. We drove over it and no damage seems to have been done. We then spent a few days in Joburg with some of Michael’s family and managed to feel like we were on holiday and relax.
The drive from Joburg to Tonga is really beautiful. I have not been to Mpumalanga before so there was a lot of new scenery to take in. We have made a timelapse video of our drive from Cape Town to Tonga, which we will post soon. The roads were surprisingly good the whole way, until about 1km before the hospital when they become pretty bad. All the cars weave around trying to find the best route.
Our house is quite cosy (read ‘small’) and needs some care (read ‘grimy bathroom etc etc’), but we are working on it and will do our best to make this home for the next year. When we arrived our air conditioner was only functioning as a fan and was not cooling the air at all. For those who know the area, you will understand that this can be a problem. The night time temperature felt like about 30C inside, but we managed to get a decent nights sleep after cold showers and and an answer to prayer for sleep. We were very fortunate in that we managed to get someone in to fix the aircon this morning and we now feel a lot more positive about life 🙂
The other staff here have been really friendly and helpful. I think that it is really the people who make the experience what it is.
What we have learnt/noticed so far:
The are a lot of really nice cars driving around here, even though it’s pretty rural.
There are also many nice hoses being built, but many are half built and just standing there. We will see in the next few weeks whether this is just due to builder’s holidays or whether the building just happens slowly here.
Many people seem to have installed their windows upside down.
The people in Malelane are not sure whether it is spelled Malelane or Malalane.
We are by far the minority at the local mall (understatement), which makes for some interesting conversation starters while walking the aisles of Shoprite. Some hospital staff members arrived at the mall while we were leaving and although we had not yet met one of them, he immediately knew who we were just because we were the only white couple there.
The ants are big.
Airconditioning is fantastic.
We will be cleaning up and packing the house some more tomorrow morning and then maybe heading out to do a little exploring. We will try to post some pictures soon.