Hi all, Barb again - Barbs to the Eshowe friends. We've arrived safely in St. Lucia. We had quite the shuffle ball change in our itinerary today. It's great to travel with such flexible chaps (not sure that this includes all the ladies). The gals are all shopping at the street vendors and practicing their haggling skills. We're not so good at it, but it's fun. The weather is warm and sunny though I understand the swimming in the pool here is refreshingly chilly. The sun is on it's way down and we have a potje dinner tonight in the courtyard. This inn is wonderful and the travelers are enjoying its amenities.
For those of you who contributed to the 2007 trip, I wanted to mention our visit to the classrooms built with those donations. It was an amazing moment to meet these children and their principal again, to see these gorgeous classrooms filled with students. When we visited here in 2007, the kids were crammed into just a few classrooms - it was a rainy and gray day - miserable except for their beautiful singing and dancing (though they'd waited more than 3 hours for us to arrive). On our return yesterday, the sun shined, the kids smiled and danced. I took a picture with Pretty in the doorway - both of us smiling wide. It is a feeling I hope you will all have. It motivates me to continue the work we do raising money for these classrooms. And Mrs. Qwabe, their principle is now the Deputy Chair for ECAG in South Africa. She joined in our school visits and evening festivities - it was a pleasure to have her.
And on the matter of my fine driving acumen which landed our little Toyota Avanza in the shop with two flats, I must say it was a flippin' deep pothole. I later learned that there are often cartoons in the paper showing a giraffe's head sticking out of the pothole - so really, we've had an authentic South African adventure with our flats. It was good, too, that we were a group of 12 as each played a role in the tire changing extravaganza.
I will give good credit to Budge Rent-a-Car and Yusef at the Total minimart gas station in Melmoth. Obviously, we could not drive the car with the second flat so we left the car and the keys with Yusef until we could talk with Budget. Then we all crammed into our mini van and head back to Eshowe. The next morning, Henry called Budget's roadside assistance. They drove to Melmoth with two new wheels (yes the rims were mighy bent) and replaced them. Yusef kept the car and it's keys safe through the whole event. After school visits yesterday and before dinner, Emmanuel, Henry and I drove back to Melmoth to pick it up. It was nighttime and being a bit skittish of the surprise potholes, not to mention the many peds alongside the highway, I drove rather slowly. Gracious thanks to Emmanuel who generously followed us home, never once tailgating me and keeping other tailgaters at bay. Noting how quickly we arrived in Melmoth, I know he could have been home a lot sooner if he'd driven the speed of his choice.
Back to that shuffle ball change in the schedule. We were to have visited a school on our way to St. Lucia today but we learned it is neared to where we will be tomorrow for the jeep safari, so we changed schedule and will tuck it in tomorrow, which now will be a big day == 10am boat safari, 2pm school visit, 4pm jeep safari and move into Hilltop camp. We like to keep 'em busy.
This seems enough for now. I would expect more posts as we have a nice internet set up in this inn.