Day 8 – Chris’s Story
We started Day 8 dragging ass. It took a while, but eventually we all made it through our morning rituals, and got ourselves loaded up to bus out to our starting point. It was extremely foggy, and still very dark. The morning was quiet, foggy, and had an air of mystery permeating the beauty of the landscapes. As we rode through the fog, we saw a lot of kids walking down the highway to school. We had grown to see these kids, walking to school in pristine uniforms and brilliant smiles, as a source of great joy, of something simple, but beautiful. We stopped, briefly, for an amazing lunch, then pushed on to Kokstad.
At Kokstad, we were welcomed by a party atmosphere and brilliant spread of food. Hospitality is a huge component of South African culture, and it was an honor to receive these shows of love. There were bowls of biltong (which quickly had become one of my daily treats from the start – it’s like jerky, but marinated in the tears of angels) and beer in the fridge for us. There is something home-like about having beer in a fridge for you when you arrive. We all went through our end of day rituals, and got ready for the party. Quite a few people came to have dinner with us, and we got to chat about the trip so far. It was nice having this new audience, full of questions, ready to soak in the stories we were sharing. It solidified in my mind what we were there to do. This turned out to be one of our biggest social gatherings of the trip. After dinner, we enjoyed a show put on by the students. It was because of these kids, and their joyful entertainment, that Kokstad got the nick name Rockstad. I’m not sure how long we listened to them sing and play their instruments, but it wasn’t long enough. The show was a great end to the day. Eventually, though, we had to all wind down, and start mentally preparing for our last long day.