Mosi and Friends in South Africa
Mosi took these photos of animals during the Safari
New Friends in South Africa
Hi! We have a guest Blogger today. My daughter, Mosi, recently had an amazing experience on a trip to South Africa. She went with her honor choir group. She gave me permission to share the letter she wrote and I thought some of your kids might enjoy reading it. I have edited some parts out to make it shorter for the BLOG. However, the writing is all hers. I have not edited that as I wanted to keep it authentic.
As some of you may already know, Mosi is an Earthschooler in so many senses of the term! She attended a Waldorf Kindergarten, was homeschooled for a time in the Waldorf style, helped me run a Waldorf Enrichment School for four years, was homeschooled part-time, attended a Montessori-inspired school for two years, and now attends an International School as she is living with her father until she returns to the USA for High School. Through it all the one constant in her life has been Waldorf/Earthschooling – being an citizen of the world and connected to Mother Nature.
By Mosi Mandil
First we were at White Mountain Lodge for three days with the whole group. We stayed in these really cool cabins with loads of bunk beds, a broken toilet, and our own colonies of any bug you could ever think of. Plus we could hear the guy’s in their cabin next to us singing Twinkle Twinkle Little Start and Ba Ba Black Sheep at the same time to see if they had the same melody right before we went to sleep.
The first thing our group did was white water rafting. If you didn’t know, I’m terrified of the water, so I was in a canoe with one of our guides, Donovan. We pretty much spent the whole time tipping other people over. Then I made the mistake of thinking I was immune and that Donovan wouldn’t tip his own boat. I was wrong. I lost one f my water shoes wile trying to get back into our boat then the other in a strange experiment conducted by Trent. He told me to put my other shoe in the water to see if it would float. Quite logically it didn’t after the first one sank.
Africa Falls was so strong that it tore my helmet off even though it was clipped on and everything. Then Hemel and I climbed up onto this huge rock to watch everyone else go off the falls. I had no idea how we’d gotten up in the first place so I tried to get down on this one route but slipped and ended up scraping my arm up real bad. Note to self: washing off cuts with salt water doesn’t help. For the rest of the morning I was with Raveena. Turns out it’s a lot harder to row when you actually work. At one point my arm was bleeding, my foot was having a seizure, and it was awesome! Then we sang at the top of our lungs on the bus on the way back.
That afternoon we got back together with the other group and went to the Fufi Slide which is basically a huge zip line across two cliffs. The cool thing was is that it wasn’t scary at all, just exhilarating. Well all got to take two turns then hiked back to the lodge for dinner and played cards in the common room until curfew.
When we hiked up White Mountain the next day Mr. Owens kept stopping us for what he’s call ‘hero shots’. We made it to the top in record time: and hour and seven minuets. Because we got there so fast we could each repel down twice. The first time something was wrong with my rope and I could hardly move but when I went again on the other rope it was all good.
That afternoon we went to a place called Pigeon Pools. The water was so cold that Mr. Owens made us get in first before we dove off the ledge so it wouldn’t shock our system. Raveena made me go off the high ridge even after I tried to convince her otherwise. Apart from a brain freeze I lived.
For the next three days we were at Phinda game reserve. On the way there we visited a school that we were supporting financially. The children were very open and really liked sitting on my lap and playing with my hair. I wasn’t really surprised considering they all had their hair cut as short as the boy’s. They were fascinated by Sorcha’s guitar as well, we bad brought it to play a song for them. Austin enjoyed teaching them hand signs like ‘rock on’ and ‘looser’.
The second we got of the bus on the reserve they took our iPods away. It’s like they built a camp in the middle of the bush and just left it there. We stayed in luxury tents with electricity and running water. Raveena learned how to open the zipper on the tent on the second day of our stay but never really got the hang of squashing bugs. We were practically breathing bug spray but they somehow still managed to give me thirty two bites all together. The worst were the dreaded white caterpillars that gave an itchy rash. Thankfully I never got one of those but Raveena insisted on me checking for them every time she so much as sat down.
Every day we’d get up around five ‘o’clock in the morning to go on game drives. All the animals were out when the air was cooler in the early morning. On the first day we were REALLY lucky and saw four out of what is called The Big Five. The Big Five were lion, leopard, buffalo, rhino, and elephant, the animals that were most dangerous to hunt for the Zulu people. The only one we didn’t see the whole trip was a leopard because they were hunted before and very weary of the roads.
Our driver, Conrad, would randomly stop by the side of the road and teach us the names of the trees and how to tell how old an animal track was. He was British but kept teasing us by talking in a ‘Yankee accent’. He’d also let us take turns sitting in the tracker seat, which is basically a chair on the hood of the jeep. One day Trent decided to wear red and sit in the tracker seat right when we drove by some buffalo. That’s the day we gave him the nick name buffalo bait. Twice my hat flew off when we were driving and Hemal stopped the jeep so I could go back and get it. Good thing to because it came in handy when we were attacked by a wasp the size of a golf ball. By the end of our stay Hemal knew each one of the electric fences personally.
Our best game drive was when we found a herd of about fifty elephants. I was positive we had driven onto a Hollywood set. There was the lake, the towering flat crowed trees, it even had the classic orange sunset. That was all well and good until the sun completely disappeared and we were trapped between a suspicious edgy alpha elephant and the rest of the pack.
As we carefully drove through the sleeping elephants so as not to wake them I nervously kept my eyes glued on the closest one. We were almost out when the elephant closest to us stood up, threw back its trunk, and screamed at us. Conrad floored it and Trent, Hemal, and I collapsed in the back seat, we had been closest. If it’s possible we were having a heat attack and a giggle fit at the same time. Then when we’d finally calmed down we saw an elephant crossing sign and started cracking up again.
The next place we stayed was St. Lucia. After Phinda it was heaven. Civilization! Hot water for showers! Not having to intoxicate the room with bug spray before we slept every night! Well OK we still that out of habit and paranoia but still lol. Five of us shared one villa on the one street town. This was the place to shop. Raveena wasted no time telling me that I can not bargain to save my life.
When we went to the beach I tried to get away with just sitting on the shore watching our things but Mrs. Tolifson wouldn’t have it. I went from screaming every time a wave hit me, to eventually riding the waves way up with Trent and Jason. On the second day none of us dared to actually ride the waves or we could have drowned. Raveena and I actually got pulled into a ride tide. It was all I could do to keep my head above water, let alone get out of the tide. When I drifted close enough Alex grabbed me and Austin swam out to Raveena when I screamed at him to do so. I would have done it myself but Alex wouldn’t let me go (literally). When they got back I thanked Austin more than Raveena did.
Riding on the beach might have been my favorite part. Raveena spent the entire time demanding Hemal control his horse who enjoyed licking the dried salt of people’s legs. She also had near death experience number three when her horse stepped in a crab hole. When Trent asked Austin if he was having fun he was promptly told to go to hell. Pretty self explanatory, Austin hates horses. His face expressions were priceless. It’s a good thing I got the horse I did because it wanted to race everyone else’s and I was the only one in that group who knew how to ride.
We went to a cultural village next and stayed in little round thatched huts.. The best Zulu dancer was the one who could kick their leg the highest and slam it down the hardest. Some how I won the competition, which is so weird because I can not dance at all. Out of the team building games we did I liked sling shots the best. I’d never shot one in my life but hit the coke can on my first try. After that I missed every time lol. I had so much fun with it I actually bought one lol. In one of the other games I managed to get about twenty paper thorns stuck in my hand. Trust me, those are hard to get out.
Daniel and Zander kept things interesting on our hike by singing Shadow of the Day when things started getting too dull. The last part of our trip was coming up as we headed back to Durban for the last few days. Wile we were there we visited the biggest mall in the southern hemisphere. To Raveena’s dismay all I bought for myself the entire trip was a guitar chord book.
Hemal and Raveena tried to play a trick on me by telling me it was raining outside when they thought it really wasn’t. They told me the rumbling sound I was hearing was thunder and I ran into the courtyard of the mall as fast as I could and sure enough it was pouring. When I slid back into McDonalds laughing like a lunatic and soaking wet they almost fell over in surprise.
Our biggest mall adventure was sneaking into a rated R movie. We told Jason to buy us eight tickets even though he was only thirteen himself, but could pass as sixteen. When he came back smiling like that freaky cat in the movie Alice in Wonderland we knew it had worked. They didn’t even look twice at us when we were going into the theater. Turns out the only fun part was actually getting in, the movie was a wasted three hours of my life. If you’ve seen Watchemen you will understand. And some poor souls saw it in the IMAX
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