Thursday, February 28, 2013


This is the last in a series I call
 "Top Ten Things I Would Have Never Said in America"  
I know it's long, but it's worth it.  

Me and Portia outside of the Junxion Center

1.  My best friend lives in the township.

When we first moved to South Africa it was to join a larger team that was already here – a team of people who worked into all of Africa- rugged folk that drove 4x4’s and said things like “All for Jesus” and lived it.
We did a “trial move” before we moved out here permanently- South Africa was a place we had only visited and we were advised to see if we could really live here.  The last nine posts have illustrated the “subtle differences” between life in the USA vs. life in South Africa.

On our trial move, we hunkered down in Joburg and started attending Junction Church, a cutting edge church that had its population split right down the middle: half were folk from Northern suburbs (the upscale neighborhoods that surround us) and half were from Diepsloot (the local township). 

I have not stated the obvious in my last posts: the disparity between rich and poor; white and black; have and have-nots here in South Africa was a bucket of ice water in my face.  It was shocking and terrible and most days I screamed within myself; demanding why the world around me wan't as shocked as I was. 

Junction Church seemed to be breaking through economic, social, and racial barriers more than any other church we  saw here.  We learned so much in that first year about the whole country.  Our teachers came mainly from the eldership. 

Portia and Thembe's White Wedding
The Junction eldership (the people who steered the church) were as diverse as its membership – I had never met a team so different in personality and giftings.  One of the elders, Thembe, we had previously met when we did a trip to Malawi.  Thembi and his family lived in the “church house” – a place that was on the site of our future church building.  

Thembe was from Zimbabwe, married to a young bride named Portia.  They had two children: Darely  (pronounced “Darrell”) and Ebenezer (Ebi) – young kids that clung close to their mother.  Portia was incredibly beautiful and it was easy to see that she and Thembe were very happy – despite having gone through an already challenging life together. 

“You are older than Portia,” Mario joked with him one day.  “How did you get her to marry you?” 

“I am secretly very wealthy,” Thembe joked back.  “Portia spends all my money.”

We relied on Thembe for something very important: he translated the Diepsloot culture for us.  Should we give money for someone who is asking us at church?  Should we not?  Why are funerals held on Saturdays?  What is the importance of tribal practices to the people vs. Christian beliefs?

Thembe never tired of our questions.  He had a slow, deliberate explanation for everything.  All the while he smiled. 

After our trial move we decided to come back and live in South Africa. 

When we came back to South Africa, six months later, Thembe was very sick.  He was remarkably thin and had contracted TB.  The whole church was concerned. 

“Thembe, you must get well,” Mario told him one day when he took him to the clinic.  “When you do, we’ll take you and your family to the ocean.”  Thembe and Portia had never seen the ocean – ever.

“When I get well,” Thembe said, weakly.  “We will go.”   

Six months later he weighed so little that Mario would carry him into the clinic when they went.  One day, during a visit, Thembe asked Mario a favor.

“I don’t think I’ll be able to see the ocean,” he whispered, weakly.  “But will you take Portia?” 

Mario came home weeping.  Two days later Thembe died.

All of Junction mourned.

A giant hole was left where he once was.  Then there was the issue of Portia – his young bride.  Darely and Ebi – his kids.  They buried him in Zimbabwe during the time of starvation under Mugabe’s rule, taking in supplies for the family.

We checked in with Portia every other day for weeks.  I would visit and just sit there, not knowing what to say.  I couldn’t very well ask her how she was.  She was messed up.

“What can I do for you?” I once asked her. 

“Pray,” she smiled.  “All we can really do for each other is pray.”

She meant it. 

Portia soon moved into Diepsloot.  The church house was being leveled in order to make room for the new building.  I wondered how she would do it. 

“See, there is the tap,” she beamed as she showed me around her new place.  She had a new home close to a tap.

Portia’s new home was a converted boxcar, surrounded by shacks in extension 9, one of the outer extensions.  It was big enough to hold her bed, her dressing cupboard, a couch and chair and a cupboard for dishes.  It was decorated tastefully, even having curtains just like ours.

“Did you get those from Georgine?” I asked.

“Yes,” she laughed.  “I saw you have the same ones at your place.”

“All of our curtains are from Georgine,” I said.  “We have a lot windows and when we first got here she covered all of them.”

Mutual friends; mutual interests; a shared love for God.  Portia and I slowly started to get to know one another better. When Diepsloot was out of water we would “fetch Portia” to get some.  We watched her come out of her shell  and take a job with ITCC, becoming proficient on the computer. 

She was coming into her own, we would say in the States.

“Do you want to come over one night and watch a movie?” I asked her.  We had a movie projector and I knew the boys would like it. 

“It’s too late for me,” she laughed.  “I fall asleep early.”

“I’ll pick you up at three and then you can spend the night,” I told her.  “Then when you wake up we can go to church together.”

She considered it. 

“Alright,” she said, once she thought about it.  “It will be nice to have one night out of the township.” 

The movie nights on Saturday turned into monthly times together.  Darely and Ebi became like adopted grandchildren to us.  We would have pizza making nights; hamburger making nights; KFC nights; parties for the boys’ birthdays… Parties for Portia’s birthdays. 

We especially celebrated when Portia turned 30.

“I finally have made it,” she laughed.  “Now when Craig calls up all the young kids under thirty I don’t have to go up there.”

I laughed at the stuff she would say.

“I’m getting fat,” I’d tell her.

“I’m worse,” she’d say.  We’d laugh together.

“I spilled my Coke Light,” I told her once.  “As soon as I bought it from Dischem I went outside and I spilled it.”

“That’s worse,” she’d say, laughing.

Portia had little sayings that made me guffaw.  One of them was “That’s worse,” meaning that life can’t get any harder than that moment.  It was always about something trivial, like spilling a coke or bread getting moldy. 

In our second year here, one of our scheduled movie nights found us without Mario.  He had gone home to be with our family; an emergency that worried me greatly.  Portia could tell.

“Let’s go pray while the boys watch the movie,” she said.  We walked out to the kitchen and Portia brought her Bible. 

“I have a verse for you today,” she said.  “It is from first Samuel, listen.  ‘And David said, "Is there still anyone left of the house of Saul, that I may show him kindness for Jonathan's sake?"’(2 Samuel 9:1)
I listened. 

“I think when God considers us,” she said.  “He takes into account that he wants to be good to our family – He wants to show them kindness for our sake.”

I was touched in my heart.  Portia had already been praying for me. 

Friendship is something that is very sneaky sometimes.  It comes up behind you and supports you in a way that you grow dependent on.  You even start leaning on it, learning to trust it.  This is how friendship happens. 

I crossed over from “I feel responsible for Portia” to “Portia is a rather special friend” that night of prayer.  I started to ask her for prayer all of the time.  I would confide in her and she knew my hopes, my fears, and my dreams.  And I knew hers.

One of our sleepovers  
She hosted a group of ladies at her house every Thursday night:  prayer for the neighborhood.  She would participate in all-night prayer meetings; go to other ladies’ prayer retreats where they fasted for  a whole weekend.

“You put my prayer life to shame,” I once joked with her. 

“Don’t say that, Janet!” she laughed.  “I am not performing.”

She wasn’t…she was just inspiring me. 

The last sleepover we had with Portia was last Saturday, a night when Dumi and his kids came as well.  It was Ebenezer’s ninth birthday.

“You know Ebi has been having birthday parties at your house since he was three,” Portia said on the drive over. 

I couldn’t believe it; then I flashed back. 

I met Ebi when he peeked over Portia’s shoulder, too shy to lift his head.  Darely was still holding on the the edge of her skirt; now he looked just like Thembe.  I met Portia when she was twenty five.  She was a shy bride with two babies.  Now she was a confident young woman; a leader in her community.  A woman known for her integrity.

An inspiration to me. 

Portia loves me for some strange reason.  She has seen me weepy, angry, desperate, selfish and in traffic.  She trusts me, even though I have failed her more than once.  She prays for me as if she were my sister, my mom or my daughter.

In a way, she is all three.

When I told her I was leaving this year, she was very quiet.  We ate dinner afterwards, where she told me that I should have delivered the news after dinner .  We were both a mess. 

“How am I going to say goodbye?” I asked Mario, tearfully after we went to bed.
On our beach vacation in Scottburgh
“We’ll be back,” he said.  “You don’t have to say goodbye.”

I agreed, that we would be back, I just knew that our everyday lives would be different; on a different continent.  Saying goodbye to Portia represents saying goodbye to all that is right with South Africa and what drew us here. 

She represents a warm-heartedness and “surviving while smiling”.  She shines with special-ness,  under the toughest of circumstances.  She inspires me and has made me a better person; a better friend.

“It’s a shame you can’t take Portia when you go,” one of my friends said to me.  It is a shame, a shame for me. 

But removing Portia from South Africa would be like shoplifting a blessing from where she lives.  As I feel about her, so her neighbors feel in bucket loads.  They rely on her maybe even more than I do.  She ministers and teaches in her community; in our church; in her family.

She is the egoli of the egoli city. 

So I have to strategize how I will tear myself away, knowing that this kind of ripping means I will be bleeding profusely as I leave her.

That’s worse.

This smilebox is one I made of the years I have known Portia.                           Click on the arrow to play.

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Tuesday, February 26, 2013


Please indulge me as I leave my adopted homeland. I am writing a series called
 "Top Ten Things I would Have Never Said in America" 

2.  Do you think we’ll have electricity?

The early masters of electricity, Thomas Edison, Charles Steinmetz and Nikola Tesla were thought to have been in league with Lucifer or as having wizard-like powers by the skeptics of their day.  Thank God that electricity took off and we learned how to harness its power of alternating current.    

All three of the masters would shake their heads if they were resurrected and had to see their passion completely screwed up by Johannesburg City Power.

Yeah, I said it.  

Come and get me.   

I dare you.  

Good luck finding me in the dark.

I live in Northriding Agricultural Holdings, a picturesque and glorious secret kept from the rest of Northern Joburg.  We live on a sprawling property that is like a retreat, green and lush.

Our friends love to come over to drink in the scenery.  Our dogs love to roam around the extensive grounds.  We love where we live…except for the issue of electricity.  

For some reason, the whole electricity of this neighborhood is held together by primitive wiring and repaired by mandatory hirelings.

I have learned to be thankful for every day that we have electricity.  In December we had it for ten days total.

I can’t blame City Power altogether.  Joburg is cursed with three things: copper thieves, lightening storms, and corruption.  That last part is why I blame City Power.

Today I took pictures of my surroundings to prove to you that I am not just whining and winging:


We have a standing generator at the entrance of the agricultural holdings that is running to power one side of the street.  A few weeks ago, cables were stolen by a work crew that said they worked for City Power.  They had uniforms and tools and a van, so no one here was very surprised to see them digging ditches, cutting wires, looking busy…you know, City Power kind of stuff. 

It turns out they were all thieves: clever ones dressed to not attract attention.  They stole cable in the bright of day, while we drove by and waved.  We actually thought, “It’s about time the city is getting serious about our problems out here.”

The ditch lays open, a reminder that we can all be fooled some of the time.  The next thieves will not get away with it. 

A few years ago we had thieves tear into the cable that fed the power box that fed our property. 
Six or seven times. 

Our neighbor got so fed up that at the moment of the last repair, he and a work crew barreled cement casings around the cables.  This is what we call a deterrent.

We also have (as I told you yesterday) thunderstorms that could create such electricity Benjamin Franklin would never have tried that key experiment.  It has its way of finding the highest pole and zapping it.  We have lost power in the middle of a lightning storm too many times to count.

Mario likes to unplug all of the computers and TV when it gets really bad.  In the early days I used to shake my head and call him paranoid.  Then one day, lightning stuck and a flash fire popped in the middle of our kitchen.  It looked like a genie *poof* with a curl of a flame popping out of one of the outlets. 

I ran outside I was so startled. 

After that I joined in on the unplugging rituals. 

In the USA we loved to talk about the power companies and how they overcharged us; how they took forever to fix things…ya ya ya ya.  What whiners!  Power in the first world is delivered all the time, and unless you are the victim of a fire or a natural disaster, you have it.  It costs a lot, but all electricity is expensive, all around the world. 

Corruption is when there is neglect, mismanagement of allotted funds, scheduled load shedding and acting like everything is under control. 

This is the way it goes:

  •  ESKOM (the government owned power company in South Africa) converts energy and sells it in units to subsidiaries, like Joburg City Power (the supplier of most of Johannesburg). 
  • Joburg City Power sells it to us  -   In July of last year, Joburg City Power raised the price of electricity by nearly 12 percent. 
  • We pay for the amount of electricity our municipality says we use - many times their monitors are defective and it is common to overcharge residents.

A few months ago, Eskom proposed another 16 percent electricity hike; according to a report given to the National Energy Regulatory Agency of South Africa (NERSA) that governs electricity . 

This means an increase in rates for the consumer.   We will pay more money for power we don’t get; monitored by equipment that is not working properly.

Give me a huge, honking, flipping break.

Every night we come home from somewhere I dread walking in to a house with no hot water and lighting candles.  

“Do you think we have power?” I ask Mario as we approach our house.

“Oh yeah!” Mario answers, smiling.  “I’m just not sure we have electricity.”


Sunday, February 24, 2013


Please indulge me as I leave my adopted homeland. I'm writing a series called
"Top Ten Things I Would Have Never Said in America"

Mario supervises as I hang the laundry.  Get those socks off, babe - it might RAIN!!!  

3.  Get the clothes off the line, hurry!!!

I have memories of my grandmother’s clothes line.  It was situated at the side of her yard where the men used to play horseshoes.  She’d hang sheets and towels there, as well as her clothes and when we would bring them off the line they were crispy, sun-baked and hard.

All of my life we had tumble-dryers.  Here I have a clothesline. 

We arrived in 2006 for a trial move and someone told me that I would love the weather in Jozi, it was perfect for drying clothes.  I thought they were joking. 

What I now know that I didn’t know then is that clothes lines are a regular fixture in most South African homes.  Even apartment dwellers use them on their small patios.  In the summer the weather gets to Celsius 32 (90 F) and clothes dry very quickly on the clothes line. 

Summer is awesome here.  It’s heat and sun are brutal and we have no air conditioners, only fans.  What we do have in the summer here is rain.

RAIN, not rain.  And it comes on us like a thief in the night.  We can have a hot, hot, hot, hot day with a sudden rumble, and then ahhhhh!  The showers that cool the earth, bring the wind and give us life! 

Let’s just hope there’s no laundry on the line! 

When Lorraine is here, she does most of our laundry that we accumulate in the week- usually four or five loads.  She will then hang them on the line one load after another.  The underwear (I have learned) goes on the inside of the line.  Laundry line etiquette was never taught to me and I have been corrected by South African women who thought I should know better. 

Here’s what I knew of laundry before I got here:

  1.       clothes from washer to dryer;
  2.      take clothes out as soon as dryer buzzes
  3.     hang or fold before they’re cool so they won’t get wrinkled.

Ironing was not necessary.  Fabric softener came in the way of dryer sheets.  Nothing could be easier.  No one saw my laundry unless they were nosy or came over during the time I was folding it. 

Here’s what I know here:

1.      Wash your clothes in the washer when there’s electricity at our place;

2.      Hang them out to dry; position underwear on the inside so it is not seen by people who might say, “Look at that brazen woman whose hung her underwear where everyone can see it!!”

3.      Listen for rumbles;
4.      If you hear thunder dart outside with a basket and pull the clothes down as quickly as you can. 
5.      When the rain stops (usually after ten minutes) hang the clothes again (underwear inside). 

I go back to the States with a life of tumble dryers and no clotheslines.  Here I know how to do it; I even know how to iron.  There I was spoiled and decadent and wasted lots of electricity.  Here, my life has been different.

In so many ways.  

Saturday, February 23, 2013


Please indulge me as I leave my adopted homeland. I'm writing a series called
"Top Ten Things I Would Have Never Said in America" 

Bessie and a Friend carry buckets to my car
4. The township doesn't have water again.

When we first came to Africa I strained to see the first sight of it out the window from the plane.  At first sight, Africa looked like Sacramento, the place I had come from.

I was flying into Oliver Tambo in Johannesburg, one of the first world airports of Africa. I would later see the “other Johannesburg" – the townships. 

During the Apartheid Era (1948 to 1994) in South Africa, blacks were evicted from properties that were in areas designated as "white only" and forced to move into government assigned areas according to their race.  With the Group Areas Act, separate townships were established for each of the three designated non-white race groups (blacks, coloureds and Indians).

Apartheid ended in 1994, but the townships stayed.  In them is an interesting mix of people from all over (the Cape, Zimbabwe, Limpopo, etc).  They have all come to Johannesburg to work; and they are poor.
Darrell with a friend in Diepsloot

To work in Johannesburg means a good wage, but you have to survive the living conditions.  Unless you are like Lorraine, who lives on our property, you can’t afford much in Joburg.  Rental costs are high and the neighborhoods, no longer segregated by race; now segregated by economic status.  Like all places.

Before you start thinking how terrible things are, I can witness to you that the township is not all bad.  There is life and joy and beauty in its corners.  It is a place where families live and there is laughter and music and soccer played in the streets.  There are also many, many opportunities to minister the Gospel.  There are many opportunities to help. 

There are many people who offer to pray for you.

Diepsloot is serviced by the mega-organization (mega disorganization) of the Municipality of Joburg.  The garbage pickups, electricity and water supply are organized through them. 

There is often a problem.

For most of us, City Power is a pain in the butt.  They provide sub-standard service and have too few generators for South Africa’s biggest city.  Diepsloot has primitive wiring and many times neighbors “share” power (illegal and dangerous) so often times the power goes out with no notice.

It can stay off for days.  No worries, its residents are originally rural residents, used to living without electricity and can cook with paraffin stoves or gas stoves.  Or open fires. 

Diepsloot’s water supply comes from the Olivedale reservoir system, 27 kilometers west of the township. The rapid growth of Diepsloot since 2000 had placed a burden on the existing water infrastructure.

If you are an average resident of Diepsloot your relationship with water is this way:  You wake up, go outside with your 20 liter bucket, collect water from a community tap and bring it inside of your house.  Once you have done this, you use the water for a tub bath for you and your family and heat some up to make tea.  If there is leftover water, you cover it and it stays there for later. 

Most people make two trips in the morning to the community tap, two trips in the afternoon.  The 20 liter bucket is the “tap” inside of your place. 

Many times something goes wrong and the water supply is shut off.

No one can live without water. 

Last year the  tap water must have been shut off fifteen times.   In public statements, Joburg water apologizes saying residents could make use of mobile water tankers dotted throughout the township.  Two water tanks are usually put next to the clinics in extension two and seven.

The worst incident of “no water” in Diepsloot happened last year when there was contamination by sewerage due to a maintenance accident.

"Contractors working on a sewerage line out of Diepsloot damaged a water main, creating a strong risk that the water supply would become contaminated," a spokesman said. 

I knew better. 

The contractors that Joburg Water give to Diepsloot for maintenance are people who have to speak Zulu and Sotho.  They are most likely township guys themselves.  The residents near the “accident” say that the lines were joined –sewage to fresh water – by a less-than trained guy working with a partner who was on his cell phone the whole time. 

I have a limited perspective, but in all of my years here I have never, never, never seen a proper “water maintenance” project happening in Diepsloot.  They are the least of these here in the city. 

To illustrate this, Johannesburg Water and Rand Water signed a joint venture agreement in 2006 to build a “bulk supply pipeline” from Pretoriusrand to Diepsloot at a cost of about R11-million.

11 million rand translation? One million, three hundred thousand dollars.  One million dollars for two hundred thousand residents.  Wow.  Real humanitarians.

Kids play in front of their home.
I am appalled at the attention the townships get from the City.  I can’t stand it.  It makes me seethe with anger…

After it happened I received a call from Forget, a home group leader in extension 11 of Diepsloot.  She wanted to know if we could help her fill her buckets somewhere else.  I have a car. 

In one day we filled sixty buckets at Mother Touch Academy, a local preschool that ministers to Diepsloot and its residents.  It was one of the best days of my life.

Seeing the beauty and optimism of its people, their familiarity with suffering and tolerance of sub-standard service inspired me.  The people I helped that day acted like I was such a blessing.  In reality, they are the blessing.  They remind me that we are not owed anything; each precious drop of water from my tap is a gift. 
We have filled many, many buckets outside of Diepsloot in the six years we have been here.  Each time we do, I am angry and inspired.  I hate the conditions; I am inspired by the people.

As you drink your glass of water today, remember that it is a gift.  It is not a guaranteed something; it isn’t something everyone in the world has. 

Buckets waiting to be filled at the water line in Diepsloot 
And my heart breaks…

Thursday, February 21, 2013


Please indulge me as I leave my adopted homeland. I'm writing a series called

"Top Ten Things I Would Have Never Said in America" 

She looks like my Old Lady, but it's a stock photo....

5.  Are you using the car? 

We are known for our gas guzzling habits in the USA, I think.  Sometimes our reputation is not deserved.  I know many peole in the US driving hybrids, riding bikes and slimming their family’s car possession down to one vehicle.

Just not us.

Our lives, as most couples, were dual career.  Mario worked for the Department of Justice and I was a teacher.  We also had children, which require our lives to revolve around them and their schedules.  They had lots and lots and lots of activities. 

Then they learned to drive….

Enough of the walk down memory lane.  When we got to South Africa I was introduced to cars that had a steering wheel on the right hand side of the vehicle and traffic that drove on the left hand side of the road.  Oy, oy oy! Did that get taking used to!

For years I had a red Volvo, my “Old Lady”, I called her.  She was slow and predictable and heavy, like many old ladies I admire.  She was recognized in the township, loved by my friends and had a great stereo.  She was my freedom-mobile. 

Then she broke down…a year ago.

We sold her to a mechanic and I cried the day I said goodbye to her.  I was now car-less. 

While Mario and I looked for a car we realized that we couldn’t afford one.  Most of the vehicles on the road came with a bank loan (NO MORE CAR PAYMENTS! Is our philosophy) except for the skdunks (Afrikaans for old, beat-up car).

I guess that’s what my old lady was… *sigh* How I miss her!

Nevertheless, I was introduced to the life of a car-less South African.  I had to ask my husband’s schedule to see if I could make plans.  If I had a trip to the township scheduled and he was called away I would have to cancel.

“I’m sorry, Babe,” he’d say as he kissed me goodbye.  “Please don’t take a taxi!”

Mario knows that on my bucket list is the “take a South African taxi somewhere” entry.  The thought scared him.

South African taxis are simply vans driven by aggressive mafia-like creatures that disobey every road sign and run over people all in the name of money.  At least that’s the way we all see them.  The majority of the black population in Johannesburg gets to their jobs via these taxis.  They are dependent on them.  In a way, the whole nation is dependent on the taxis.

Today I went to my employment place (I make pocket money by tutoring English and writing) to turn in my work register and get paid.  Mario came with me and when he saw I was going to be awhile he left. 
“I’m going to make a quick trip to the bank,” he said, kissing me goodbye.  “I’ll be right back.” 

I know Mario wants to be right back.  I know he thinks that Thursday noon at ABSA is not so bad.  In my head, I know differently.  He has to change our mailing address, redirect a bunch of things…all because we are leaving in three weeks. 

We are leaving in three weeks.

I bleakly filled in my register on the computer and thought of how much I was going to miss this place.  Even though we haven’t had a cushy life and I don’t have a car I will miss the life we have built here.  I got so sad there in the office. 

When the secretary said goodbye to me she didn’t  notice I had been crying.  

I decided to wait for Mario outside.  Then I decided to wait for him at the corner.  Then… I decided I would take a taxi to the bank.

I have never before taken a taxi until today.  I know all the taxi signs in the North (1 finger for Randburg, 3 fingers for Joburg, 4 fingers for Fourways and a waving hand for Diepsloot), but I have never used one. 
I got to the corner of Leslie and William Nicol and a little Mama walking ahead of me flagged down a taxi.  I ran up behind her. 

“Are you going to Fourways?” I asked the driver. 

“Yes,” he was staring at me blankly.

“How much?”

“Nine rand.” 

GIVE ME A BREAK! I thought.   I’m white, not stupid. 

I showed him the five rand coin in my palm.  “I only have five rand.”

He smiled, as did the other ladies in the front seat.  “Get in,” he said.  “But you will jump out at the robot.”  Translation: you won’t get a ride to the Fourways Mall for five rand. 

“Okay,” I said, gratefully.  “I will jump.  I’m good at jumping!”

I think I saw him smile.

Ninjani, sis?” I greeted the lady sitting next to me. She was trying to suppress a smile. 

Yebo,” she said quietly.  “Ninjani.”

Sikhona,” I smiled.  I was in a TAXI!!!  I was so pumped!

“You know Zulu…” she said, smiling. 

I showed her a pinch with my fingers.  “This much,” I said, laughing.  The other ladies in taxi laughed. 

I think I must have chosen the cleanest, nicest taxi in Johannesburg.  It was much nicer than our car.  I was a little disappointed.

Before I knew it, my taxi driver dropped me at the Fourways robot.  I jumped out, thanking him.  I scanned the faces of the beautiful women in the taxi.  They took this method of transportation all the time.

Hamba kahle,” one of them said, smiling.  (“Go well” in Zulu)

I lit up.  “Sala kahle, ladies!” (Stay well, ladies) I said before I shut the door.  

I made my way to the Fourways Mall, an easy distance from the robot.  I got lots of stares.  Here a fifty year old white woman does not use public transportation often. 

It was a highlight of my time here. 

We don’t need two cars; South Africa has taught me this.