Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Pictures and Update: South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia, and Botswana!

Hello everyone!  I am now typing from Zambia, although by time I upload this, I may be in Zimbabwe!  There have been a whole lot of things going on since I last sent out an email, much less posted on this blog, so we’ll see how much I remember, and can tell you guys!

If you couldn’t tell already from the second sentence, traveling is a big part of what I am doing here, particularly since the Meriwether Foundation has a number of programs in different countries, plus there are lots of other touristy things to do in neighboring countries.

But first things first!  South Africa:  As I said, it definitely was different than I expected, in that it is filled with greater development and infrastructure.  There is a store called Makro, and I supposed you can call it South Africa’s Costco.   I don’t have any pictures of the inside, but you can kind of see the largeness of the store. 
As for living arrangements, they are certainly much swankier than I expected.  All the places we have been staying at quality establishments, and it makes a long day at the village that much more rewarding coming back to a comfy bed.  There is a kitchen, and so we “get to” cook our own dinners, which have so far just consisted of pasta and vegetables.  I know, not that creative, but when you’ve spent all day in the dust and moving around, cooking some elaborate meal is the last thing on your mind. =)
Here was the first place we stayed at while in Johannesburg:

Zitha village: This is the place where I have spent the most time, thus far, and where I will be doing the majority of my work.  I am working mainly with the preschool program, which is going to be providing education and 2 meals to eligible preschoolers, and it has been a joy to see the kids each day.  I am also helping out with the feeding program the Foundation has in place for orphans, which provides lunch to them.

As for the tourist attractions in South Africa, Kruger National Park is the first thing on the list, and as far as game drives go, it is a beautiful and scenic drive, with the smattering of animals in between.  Below are just a few of the animals we saw: elephants, giraffes, and of course, a mother rhino and her baby.  The Kruger boasts having the Big 5, referring to the 5 most dangerous animals to hunt: lion, leopard, water buffalo, rhino, and elephant.  We saw three of these in Kruger, failing to see the big cats.  They are rather difficult to spot.

Now for the current stuff: Things have been progressing rather well at the village, and it has been awesome being able to work with people who are passionate about what they do, and can see constant progress in what they are trying to achieve.  As to why we are in Zambia/Zimbabwe, it is partly for fun, and partly for business.  I said before that the Meriwether Foundation has a number of projects in other countries, Zimbabwe included.  They are trying to start a clinic in Zambia, and part of this trip was laying the groundwork for that project.  We will be returning in a couple of weeks to formally start, so that should be very exciting when that comes around.

As for the other part of this trip – there was much fun to be had! =)  One of the Seven Wonders of the World is right on the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe: Victoria Falls.  It is this breathtaking waterfall, and you can view from both sides, and get completely soaked if you want to get a closer look, as evidenced by our pictures below.  My clothes and shoes were drenched, and took at least 2 days to dry.  That means uber fun times when you are traveling, but it was definitely worth it.

Animals were also seen too!!  Chobe National Park, which is in Botswana, provided the setting for a river cruise and game drive.  LIONS chomping on some buffalo were spotted, as well as many elephants, impala, crocodiles, monkeys, and hippopotami.  It was a cold day, and the river cruise was a tad nippy, but being surrounded by God’s creation and a quintessential African landscape made up for it.

Last bit of animal news: I rode an elephant!  Pictures will be coming from sister’s camera, but it was quite an adventure through the bush and we even got to feed them!  Bonus, we got to see some cheetahs, lions, and caracals.  Note: these are all tamed animals, as they are part of a program that lets you “walk” with these cats.  The elephants we rode on were also somewhat domesticated, having been orphaned, rescued, then trained to be ridden.

So there you have it!  The adventures and pictures so far!  A food post will be coming shortly, regarding what South Africans normally eat, but before I go, I’ll leave you with some little tidbits from “The Boma”, a restaurant we went to in Zimbabwe, as it is not the regular fare and actually caters to tourists.  On the all-you-can eat menu: bream, which is a white fish; impala terrazine; crocodile tail, which is quite tasty; guinea fowl; water buffalo, which is not anything spectacular I think; ostrich, which I’ve had in meatball form before, but this time were on kebabs; and warthog, which was by far my favorite of the meats offered and is exceptionally juicy.  I, unfortunately, forgot my camera, so no pictures of what they look like, but here’s some from sister’s shoots of the restaurant.

That’s all folks!  Uber long post, but it might be a while until the next one.  Enjoy!

Until my next chance to get on the Internet…


  1. WOOOW!! that's awesome.

    jealous, i am.

  2. thanks for sharing karissa, thats sooo cool! and hooray for bffs! :)

  3. haha awesome Karissa. Sounds like a pretty sweet time.