Tag Archives: South Africa

Note: I wanted to share photos of the kids from the school we visited in South Africa but I realize that I don’t have permission from their parents or guardians – only their teachers. Consequently, I’ve tried to select images where the kids are either in the distance, or not visible head-on, so that it wouldn’t be easy to identify them. In some instances, I have tried to reduce the focus on them (literally) while still trying to maintain the integrity of the image. My intent was not to reduce them to a background, to dehumanize them, or turn them into props for the white tourists visiting their school. Rather, I wished to maintain their privacy. I hope that my efforts to keep them anonymous has not insulted their autonomy in any way.

Needless to say, these are real children. They have real feelings and problems and losses and triumphs. They are not anecdotes. They do not exist so that I can make a donation to their school and feel better about myself. But they do exist. And they should not be ignored or overlooked.

I am also acutely aware that it is kind of messed up to have the only non-blurry image be of a small white child in South Africa. But that’s the compromise I went with, as I have Jack’s parent’s permission to put him on the blog.

Please feel free to email me or leave a comment if you want to further discuss the issue of how to portray children on blogs.

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The fence around Blomvlei was tall, lined on the top with barbed wire. The buildings inside had bars on all the windows. The administrative offices were surrounded by multiple barred doors.

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Later, when we talked about that dinner, we spoke with reverence of many things. The sky. The lanterns. The food.

 

But none of these could hold a candle to the bathroom.

We could not stop praising that tremendous toilet. That remarkable restroom. That lavish lavatory. That wondrous … wiz palace? (Sorry.)

Which is not to say that the rest of the evening wasn’t incredible – it was. But I’ve been to nice restaurants. I’ve seen amazing things.

But I have never peed in a nicer toilet.

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“Jack, look! A lizard! What should we name him?”

“T-Rex.”

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My husband has a habit of wearing his nicest clothes around his favorite toddlers, and after I found myself scrubbing blueberry out of his favorite dress shirt, I kindly suggested through clenched teeth that he be a little bit more careful. Or that he consider wearing something less expensive and more machine washable.

 

And because life is about inevitability and just desserts, I had repeated this again over dinner one night at the Kloof, when Rand was wearing a beloved button-up and dear Jack was very close to leaving the indelible mark of toddler friendship upon him.

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Not every element of our trip in Bushman’s Kloof was Jack-proof.

Though many were.

When was the last time you looked this content?

 

When Reggie, our field guide, told us about the crystal pools, he explained that the hike wouldn’t be appropriate for a toddler, and the staff made arrangements to have Malcolm, our lodge manager, watch Jack. I wish I had a photo of the expression on Malcolm’s face upon our return. He looked like a man who had seen unspeakable things.

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When you have a wonderful trip, it is incredibly hard to remember one distinct day, because they all sort of run together in a crazy, cake-fueled haze. At the end of it, you are five pounds heavier and you have on a bathing suit bottom instead of underwear because you wore your last clean pair the day before.

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Warning: Today’s post is all about me gushing over my husband. The jaded and cynical may want to skip it entirely, or possibly read it with a barf bucket at hand. Because holy cats, you guys: he’s really effing cute.

 

I can’t get over this shot. I think he looks so handsome:

 

This one, too:

 

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Our first two days in the Kloof, it rained. This was new. Last time, the weather varied from hot to “OMG MY FACE IS MELTING LIKE THAT NAZI FROM RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARC” hot.

Now it was colder than it had been in London the week before, which isn’t really saying much, because London was weirdly warm. I don’t really know if that has to do with global warming or something to do with the monarchy (I don’t really understand how either work, to be honest). But the Kloof was, on those first two days, downright chilly. We went out anyway.

 

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