Guess where I am? Swaziland, Africa! Check out this hello from my new African friend.
Entry #1 Today is Friday, September 4th and I am in Swaziland, Africa with Miss Young. I think this should be a very fun trip with lots of new things to see! But right now, I’m all tuckered out! We just arrived at a small motel in Johannesburg, South Africa after traveling for 26 hours!!! Miss Young and I took 3 planes to get here. First we flew to Washington DC, then to New York and finally to South Africa.
Our traveling isn’t over yet, because tomorrow we are going to drive about five hours in a khombi (comb-bee) to get to the country of Swaziland. This vehicle is like a mini-van and a regular van mixed. Fifteen people can squish inside! The crazy thing is that we see them filled with a lot more people than that! I guess safety belts are not required, but it seems very dangerous! Many people here don’t have their own cars so they share a ride with other people in a khombi. Each khombi is like a taxi and people pay money to get a ride in one.
The plane ride from New York to South Africa was extremely long and VERY boring! Some things you could do on the plane were read (Miss Young likes that!), journal (Miss Young loves that too!), play cards, talk to a friend, watch a little movie on a screen in front, or you could sleep! Sleeping is what most people seem to do on such a long flight!
Talking about sleeping…Miss Young and I are going to have some pizza for dinner and then it is off to bed, for real this time!
Talk to you later when I have more news!
Entry #2 Today was a great day! First it started off with a great view of the African mountains behind the little cottage that I’m staying in with Miss Young. Can you see all the rocks and trees? How about the little house on the side of the mountain? Our khombi driver told us that if we had binoculars and carefully looked at the mountain we would see lots and lots of monkeys running around and having a grand old time! How funny! I was excited to hear that every morning and afternoon a gang of monkeys also come to eat from some nearby avocado trees. Hopefully, Miss Young will be able to get some pictures of them! How cool would that be?
This morning I went to church with Miss Young and her friends. The church was a lot like an American service, but they sang songs in their language which is called Siswati. It was hard to keep up, but fun to try and sing along!
Afterwards was the best, because I got to meet many Swaziland children!!!! Did you know that many of them hadn’t seen a bear like me before? Miss Young had to sneak me out of her backpack just a little and show them that I wasn’t going to BITE!! (Can you imagine? Me? Bite? Hahahaa) They really thought my sunglasses were hilarious! Do you think they make me look funny or just terribly cute?
After church, we went to visit a special place with many many more children. This place is called a carepoint; and it is a place where children from the neighborhood can come and get a healthy meal everyday and have a safe place to play. They also have a school there, but the school doesn’t start until next week!
Guess what! It was supposed to start this Monday, but the King of Swaziland cancelled it until the next week! Did you know that Swaziland is one of last countries in the world to have a real king who makes ALL the rules for the country? In America we have president and all the grown-ups get to vote for who will be this great leader! Also, grown-ups vote for other people to help make the rules and laws that we have to follow. So, it is a lot different in Swaziland. Know what else? Do you know why he cancelled school? Well, it wasn’t for a tropical storm or a hurricane like that old Fay! He actually cancelled it because… it was his birthday!!! Can you believe it? He even declared his actually birthday a holiday and NO one had to go to work either!! I wish my birthday was a holiday, don’t you?
Once again, I stole all the attention!! Everybody just loved me like crazy! Miss Young had to hold onto me tight so no one would take me, because they loved me so much! Can you believe that none of them seemed to have ever seen a teddy bear before, either? I don’t think they have many toys or dolls, but they do know how to make their own!! Like playing a game of ‘jacks’ with a little ball and some rocks! The children also like to just climb a tree or play a clapping game with some friends! They really have fun together!
We all went on a very interesting walk into the village by the carepoint where all the children live! If you look at my pictures, you can see that their homes are very different than ours. Can you see that they have flat roofs and wooden walls? Did you see that they have one big bed to share? Did you see their little kitchen? Did you see that they hang their clothes out to dry, because no one has a washing machine or dryer? Did you see that they have to get their water from the middle of the village from a little pipe? Water doesn’t come into their house and neither does electricity. So, they use candles and cook on a fire, like they are camping; and they have no televisions or computers! What else do you notice that is different?
Miss Young will be going back to this same place to help the children. Many of them don’t have mommies or daddies, are sick, or maybe they are just very hungry because they don’t have a lot of money to buy food! I’m learning a good lesson with Miss Young and I hope you do too: I think I should be very thankful for my Chets Creek family, for my beautiful school, my nice teachers, for all the grown up who love me, and all the healthy food I get to eat! You know what else? Maybe you and I can do something to help someone around us too!! Would you like to help someone too? Maybe we can find someone to be extra nice to!!! Let’s try!
Thanks for checking in on my adventure!
PS: Did you watch the video of my new friend Musa (Moo-saw) saying hello to you? He is in a lot of my pictures. Can you find him?
Entry #3: The game park day is finally here! Game doesn’t mean the games we play. Instead this game means animals. So it is an animal park we are visiting. It is sort of like a zoo, except these animals run wild and live like normal just in a very huge fenced in space. It is so big, they probably don’t even know there is a fence! J The park we are going to is called Mhalne (Heh-lawn-knee).
The first thing we saw was a friendly ostrich. Well, sort of friendly, we didn’t want to get too close! An ostrich looks really interesting close up. They only have feathers on part of their body, not all over like a chicken. Under their wings you can even see where the feathers each stick in. Kinda weird, if you ask me!
Once we all got into the jeep, we were ready to go. There are no seat belts and the road is VERY bumpy…it was fun, but also kinda scary at times. One time, we thought the jeep might flip! Good thing Miss Young had a good hold of me!
We quietly drove through the park keeping our eyes wide open. We saw lots of kudu and impala, which seem like deer. Finally we found a family of four elephants. They were all digging around in the dirt. Something very interesting was in that dirt, I guess…probably some kind of food.
We also saw a whole family of lions! We got so close to them! Good thing we had the jeep to protect us! We saw 3 baby cubs nursing, two lionesses and a male lion with a big fluffy mane!
Know what? That is all we saw! We hoped to see a lot more, but they were all hiding from us!
The good news is that later we got to drive ourselves through another game park! We found a bunch of other animals there! We even saw hippos!!! They even growled at us! We saw a crocodile, two families of zebras, warthogs, and wildebeest! Miss Young’s camera died, but we promise you they were neat! Maybe we can get some pictures later from one of our teammates!
Well, now my adventure is over here in Swaziland, Africa! Now we have to take that super long flight all the way back to North America! I hope you liked hearing all about my trip, especially my pictures. Do you think you will want to visit one day? I hope so, because there is so much more to see. Did you know that Egypt is in Africa too?