Sunday, August 19, 2012

August 20

Paul and I are celebrating our 35th wedding anniversary today. We look back into our life together and feel truly blessed. And we give thanks to our family and friends who mean so much to us. The hotel we are staying in is not a typical hotel. It's truly lovely.. Today they had rose pedals, card and chocolate on the table when we came to breakfast! Were on the ground floor surrounded by beautiful gardens. The breakfast they serve is amazing, freshly baked croissants, cheese, salmon, fresh fruit just for starters. Every day they have tea time and happy hour.. We've been so busy we haven't had a chance to really enjoy those, however today is the day! During the day we did some shopping (what fun). And then drove around the east side of the peninsula, fantastic views of ocean, mountains and villages. For dinner we ate at a terrific Indian was a perfect anniversary day.
Photos: village by the ocean, one of the shopping stops, views of vineyards along the hill side...each winery has a restaurant and of course a taste of their wines... We'll fine all that out tomorrow
Before we leave Cape Town.

August 19

We were told that the boat to Robbin Island was booked for several days, however I wanted to take a chance and went to the pier. At 9 am I went to the ticket office and we bought tickets! The boat took off at 10 am. It wasn't the catamaran, we went onto to the prison boat. It was quite chilly 58 degrees. It took almost an hour. Buses meet us and we had a terrific tour leader. The island has 200 folks living on it. I was surprised about the size of the island
There are over 1,000 graves. Some of the previous prisoners and wardens live in peace on the island and there's no crime. There are two churches. Only one is in use...what was fun to learn is that they only do weddings on Valentines day. This past year they performed 13 weddings and the one thing you can say is "these were life sentences'. We had a former prisoner walk us through the prison building where Nelson Mandela was. His room had a cot, a very, very small table with cup and a bucket for a toilet. The room was the size of a bathroom. There's much more information I'll share with you later. Next we took a drive around the peninsula and stopped at a place where there were 100's of African penguins. What fun to watch them. Paul and I are finally on the restful part of our journey. We are definitely not in the third or second world anymore. Tomorrow we will celebrate our 35th wedding anniversary. What a joy to be married to this wonderful man. Blessings and Joy be yours, we'll see what tomorrow brings.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

August 18

What a day! We left For the airport inDurban at 5:30 am . Scott was kind to take us. We landed in cape town and was out of the airport by 10:30am. Cape town has up and down weather and for the past weeks it's been cold and raining, however today was absolutely beautiful, blue sky, no wind and around 70 degrees. As soon as we arrived at the hotel we asked a driver to take us to table mountain. What a spectacular view.... Robbins Island, mountains off in the distance with snow on them, the beautiful Atlantic ocean and the whole city of cape town. The cable car up the mountain imade my tummy rumble, but it was well worth it. Then place we are staying in is terrific. Beautiful gardens, high tea, and all the comforts of home. I didn't bring the I pad with me, but Paul took many photo we'll share later . Tomorrow we hope to see Robbin Island and a drive around the Peninsula. I'll take the iPad so more photos to come. Blessings, Jean
Ps.. These photos are from the plane of cape town.

August 17

When Paul and I woke up at 6:30 am the family was already gone. When Scott came back we were all set for another day of exploring the great history in Durban. We first visited Rev. Dr. John Dube's Ohlange Institute which is the first African run and African funded educational institution in South Africa . It open it's doors in 1901. Dube
Was an educationalists, editor and also one of the founders of the ANC and its first president. His aim was to uplift and empower the local African community through education and skills training coupled with strict adherence to Christian moral principles and values. Through the dedication of Dube the Ohlange has a successful educational system today and is one of the most important historical sites in post-apartheid south Africa. In a symbolic gesture, the country's first democratically elected president, Nelson Mandela, choose to cast his vote here in 1994. Ohlange means 'place of reeds'. An area where the Ohlange river flows.

Then we visited Gundi's original cottage. (1903). The site is a symbol of political activism and social justice. It was the stronghold of the passive resistance of 1913 and remained an important site of resistance during apartheid. As you drive up on a dirt road to Gundi' cottage on both sides of the road you will drive through Bhambayi, the shack settlement which had sprung up around the compound , was the scene of intense civic violence.
We then headed for Micah's school to watch him in a 4K run, however it was cancelled because of the weather. The school was very impressive. A large modern campus. He will attend high school next year.

We relaxed a little in the late afternoon and then went out for Italian food. Early to bed - tomorrow we need to leave for the airport at 5:30 am to Cape Town

August 16

Paul and I had a wonderful morning walking along the beach of the Indian Ocean it was overcast day but not too chilly. In the afternoon Susan picked us up. Micah was picked up from school and then we picked up Maddie.
Scott took us to one of his churches he is serving. He has what we would say a mother church and then two sister churches. They are connected for main events, Scott rotates his time between them. The area he serves is beautiful. From one church you can see the top of another across the mountain. The roads in this area are dirt,stones and mountains all around so it's difficult for this third world area to get around.. No electricity and they receive water from a stream. We met one of the leaders, she was a delight and very happy that Scott is taking time for their congregational church. Scott has no salary for these churches, he is a real gift to this community. When we arrived back to the house Susan had a lovely dinner ready for us, after dinner we went to a wine tasting feast... We arrived at 8 pm and found out it was over at 8:30. But we tasted many south African wines and had fun...
Susan and Scott begin each day very early. Susan has chapel with the girls which begins at 7:30 am. And Scott takes the children to school at 6 am most of the time they don't get home until after 6 pm....they are amazing family! Below are photos of one of Scott's churches and terrific scenery. .

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

August 15

Rev. Dr. Scott Couper, development manager, historian, author, pastor and Rev. Susan Valiquette, chaplain of Inanda Seminay a boarding school for high school girls, along with their children Micha and Mattie are a delight to be with. We toured the seminary. Scott has done an amazing job collecting the history of Inanda Seminary which began 1869. The building where his office is located has turned into a wonderful historic center.
The campus is lovely. The campus has 289 girls attending school. There motto is "shine where you are". Susan has chapel with them every morning at 7 am. And she also teaches . For the past couple of days we've been staying at a hotel near the Indian Ocean. Today we are going to Scott's and Susan's home for two nights. Today we will be headed for Scott's church meet some of the leaders..his church has no electricity so the meeting will be during the day at his home and then he will transport the folks back. Scott has written a book which Paul and I have read on Albert Luthuli which I found very valuable to our congregational history. Luthuli is the first African to win the Nobel Peace Prize for social justice. Germany has already translated this book in German for their use. I Believe this book would be valuable for our polity courses and for seminaries. Luthuli was a congregational pastor who was a human rights hero. Until the next time. Blessings and Joy.

August 14

Megan took us to the partied museum this morning. It was painful and joyful to see. The tribute of and life story of Nelson Mandela and the story of the full apartheid was masterly done. As you entered the museum your ticket said whether you enter in the door for whites or for black.. My ticket told me to enter the entrance for blacks and Paul was for whites... There were photos on all sides of mine representing blacks Identification prison cards... Some of the museum was out doors and then entered into the main part. The museum had main statements from Mandela: freedom, democracy, respect, responsibility, Diversity, Reconciliation, Equality, TRUTH .. And much more.. It was wonderful to see and hear the life story of Nelson Mandela.. He is truly honored. Afterwards we headed to the airport for Durban. Thank you Megan Baxter for a wonderful stay in Johannesburg .. We are looking for your visit in the USA.