Friday, June 08, 2012

Durban ho!

A long ride in the mini-bus and we arrived in that Indian-flavoured African city.  The city is beautiful – but I’ll let the pictures tell you firsthand of the stately buildings, Zulu dances (carefully censored so Curt & I don’t have to dress anyone in magic-marker swimsuits), and many Indians (apparently the largest concentration outside of India itself.)  Aaron had his beautiful DSLR Canon along, and whenever we cracked it out for pictures we felt every eye gawking.  In a place where people are killed for their shoes, we felt it was something of a liability.  And perhaps that’s why we were a little less careful of my camera –take note.  Anyways, we hightailed it for the ocean and spent that afternoon in salty sunlight, tossed about in the Indian O's warm surf.  We eventually emerged to discover that my camera, left under the eye of the lifeguards, was gone.  It was foolish of me and I’m sorry to you, Dad & Mom, who gave me the camera.  I also lost many pictures, and there will be none for the remainder of the trip :( 

 Nonetheless a good curry dinner cheered things up a little, and we scuttled off to a hotel.  The Metro Lodge had the luxury of toilet seats (the first we’d looked at didn’t!) and we booked two rooms there for the night (for those wondering, rules of propriety were definitely followed.)
On Tuesday we went to uShaka – shark, in Zulu-speak.  It’s a massive marine aquarium, the best I’ve seen yet, and we were thrilled by the graceful dance of the dolphins, the slinking sharks, the crotchety old faces of sea turtles and muscle-crackers, and the African penguins who were swallowing fish twice the length of their heads.  But I think I liked the seal show best – it was more of a play than anything, and one hapless gent was voluntold from the audience to come “on stage.”  But he was petrified by animals in general and only ventured near the area at the persuasion of the trainer.  There a seal burst out from nowhere, he gave a girlish scream and the seal chased him off stage.  The seal returned a minute later with underbroekies in his teeth :)
And then we left the blue and yellow world of Durban –its sea, sky and sunlight—and headed back to Richmond.  I said goodbye to Aaron (it was really REALLY nice to trade experiences with an old friend!) and arrived much later in Pretoria.  And there’s not much more to say, except one very interesting event.  While waiting for my ride in Pretoria, a young man sidled up.  He was Sebastian.  And his story poured out in emotionally-loaded pieces: parents dying, leaving him only deep debt, depression setting in...  A close encounter with death and deep scars to tell of it.  Then somewhere along the line, God stepped in.  He sent a man to tell of Jesus and offer hope.  After some time in rehab, Sebastian was released three days ago.  He had been living in that terminal, trying to raise funds to make it to Pietermaritzburg where he might have family.  And so our paths crossed: he was headed for the very place I’d left!  Suddenly I knew why that ride was taking so long.  We prayed together, and I told him of Immanuel’s Wish Foundation (the hospice/ rehabilitation centre) in nearby Richmond.  God willing, he is in Pietermaritzburg as we speak – and if he doesn’t find family, he’ll find help at Immanuel’s Wish.

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