Personal note: My trip to South Africa got me thinking about a lot of things. Firstly, I wasn’t at all sure I would be able to go nor should go on this trip. A year ago when my high school friend, Jeff Coulson and his wife, Betsy asked me to join them biking in South Africa, I was quite excited. Several months after booking the trip I got diagnosed with advanced stage prostate cancer. One of my major questions for the doctors was: “will I be able to bike around South Africa three months after having surgery to remove this thing?” They encouraged me to keep my appointment with Africa. However, as late February drew near, I had second thoughts. Would it be a waste if I couldn’t do all the riding? Would not riding give me a less than complete view of the country? Would I look like a weenie? I concluded that I wasn’t going to let anything stop me from going. I knew that if I didn’t go I would regret it. As it turned out, I was able to do the biking and completely enjoyed myself. It also told me don’t wait around for my end but go out and do what I have always wanted to do. Screw cancer! Please no notes of sympathy. Word of my death is premature.
My recent trip to South Africa began with several days with a wonderful family. My traveling companions, Jeff and Betsy Coulson, had an exchange student live with them back in the late 1980s. That boy is now an accomplished man in KwaZulu Natal in South Africa. He has a family of his own…an extended family. Luthando comes from a very rural town of Indawana up in the hills of Kwazulu Natal. Not only does Luthando have his own children and wife, he has taken in the children of his brother who died of AIDS several years ago, he cares for his employees who run his transport company and he cares for his sisters. We spent three days with Luthando and got to meet all this family, if only briefly. Part of the problem for the briefness of our interaction, was that Luthando and his wife live about three hours apart. Not that they are estranged but out of economic necessity, Luthando lives in the large city of Pietersmaritzburg and his wife lives with some of the children in the village Indawana where she is an elementary school teacher.
Luthando, Jeff Coulson, Nonyaniso, Tebugo, Betsy (Coulson) Evans
Luthando and Nonyaniso with Tebugo
Manchester United 2 – Named after the iconic British Premier League team, this is local soccer/futbol team. These guys play when they can raise enough money to pay the other team. Whichever team wins the match wins the pot. It is one of the ways that men in this community of Indawana can make a living.