UWS trip update
By: aafadmin
Dec 9, 2013

Last weekend we stayed at a glorious beach called Zinkwazi, at a delightful self catered cottage which literally backed onto the beach. The weather was a little dismal and overcast, so we didn’t need our swimmers after all, but we did take appreciate the view and the roar of the waves from a deck/look-out built into the gardens. We went shopping in Ballito at a huge shopping complex, but the shops opened up into paved courtyards and walkways with gardens rather than the malls we were used to. Shoes and clothes were surprisingly cheap… I may have some difficultly re-packing my suitcase (like Tetris!). We had delicious lunch with Phumzile, her adorable baby boy and some friends in Durban on Sunday, before driving (slowly) back to mountains in thick fog and drizzling rain.

The hospital is an incredible learning experience, we gain knowledge and practical skills every day. However, I think last week at the hospital was the busiest and most confronting week yet, even the doctors were exhausted by the end of it. In addition to the constant strain of too many patients and not enough doctors, it is just so awful to see victims of violence, or to turn away people seeking a “DG” (disability grant) for uneligible conditions because they are so poor. Much to my relief, we were invited to a dinner party hosted by the Stockil’s which broke up the week with an evening of cheerful company and delicious food (pumpkin with cinnamon is divine!)

This weekend’s adventure is Sani Pass, a bumpy zig-zagging road (requiring a 4×4 ) leading from KwaZulu Natal into Lesotho (which is pronounced like “tutu” rather than “toto”). Our guide, who was born in the area, knew everything there is to know about the region and first drove Sani Pass 60 years ago. He had a great sense of humor; “enjoy your African massage” when the road got really rough, or “if you get scared when were coming down, just close you’re eyes – that’s what I do.” He pointed out rare animals, flowers and names of hairpin bends like “Devil’s Elbow” and bumpy “Haemrrhoid Hill.” He took us to a local shepard village where we were offered traditional bread and sorghum beer, and Hussain joined in a soccer game with the boys. We stopped at the highest pub in Africa, which was completely engulfed in cloud.

We’re toasty warm in the lodge next to a crackling fire, it’s chilly in the mountains tonight.