You Know You’re in South Africa When….

You know you’re in South Africa when
  1. You drive on the left side of the road
  2. You say “Now now” to inform someone that you will be there anywhere from 5 minutes to 4 hours  Ex. “The taxi will pick you up now now”
  3. The only sport your family watches is the Rugby World Cup
  4. There are baboons on the side of the road
  5. You say “Shame” after most sentences Ex. “I’m tired” “Ooh shame shame”
  6. When Mayonnaise is somehow involved in most meals and ketchup is used as tomato sauce
  7. You never wear seat belts (Sorry mom)
  8. After watching Rugby you watch soap operas with your host father
  9. You haven’t had Mexican Food!!
  10. You put hot milk on your cereal every morning
  11. Water is never offered during meals, only juice
  12. The dogs in the neighborhood bark at all hours
  13. You take baths instead of showers
  14. No one knows what Netflix is
All jokes aside, I’ve very much enjoyed my time here in South Africa. The typical day for me starts at 8 AM when I arrive at the local clinic in Crags to work with my caregiver. Then at 11 my work partner Sam and I hop on the public taxi into downtown Plettenberg for a cup of coffee/hot chocolate or a light lunch. Then We meet up with two other people in our group and take another taxi to PlettAid office – the organization we are partnered with. For the rest of the afternoon we enjoy lunch as a group and have a seminar or other activity. Seminars usually start with a general question about public health and most end with me having wayyyy more questions about it. Then, at about 4 we all head home to our families. Julia -my home stay partner- and I spend the evening reading and spending time with our family. I usually am super exhausted and go to bed around 9.
The caregiver I’ve been shadowing the past two weeks is amazing. Her name is Marie and her understanding and the love she has for all her patients is very admirable. I’ve learned so much about TB, Aids, Diabetes, and many other diseases, and about the medical system in Plettenberg. For instance, the clinic in which I work at isn’t open during the weekends, therefore, if you needed immediate attention you would need to call the ambulance and be transferred to the clinic in Knysna which is about 40 minutes away from Crags. It really makes me grateful for the immediate and local access to doctors and hospitals that we have in the States. One thing that I have picked up in just the 4 weeks I’ve been here, is that there is so much to be grateful for. I encourage you to think of one little thing that you have (Ex. A dentist, a car, or even just food in the fridge) and try to imagine how things would be different if you didn’t have that. There is always something to be grateful for and I hope that although you haven’t seen what I’ve seen, you can still understand that.
Dankie (Thank you) and please let me know if there is something specific you would like me to write about and I will!
Patty Dougherty