Monday, October 24, 2011

Johannesburg, South Africa Part 1- Johannesburg, Maputo, Mozambique, The Latter Day Saints of Botswana and a Bush Wedding

This was one of the most amazing trips I have ever taken. I went with my sister's family to visit her in-laws for 3 weeks and we stuffed our visit as full as possible. The only thing I regret is that we didn't make it to Capetown. Flights are cheap but we were too late booking and it was the weekend that school let out and all the tickets were gone. Well that gives me an excuse to go back again sometime. Capetown is more of a European City and a little safer.

Johannesburg was definitely different than I thought it was going to be. I was surprised at how unsafe it was. You would definitely not want to travel alone although I met a couple of ladies who were. They both expressed to me that they just didn't realize and were a little nervous about it. I was fine. I was always with a big group of people and some of them were in the security business. You do not walk the streets at night or alone.

It is a beautiful country and I recommend visiting. You just have to be careful. I saw some amazing and wonderful things:

A beautiful bottle brush tree. They were in bloom everywhere

Everyone has dogs out of necessity. This breed was the most common I think. He was funny. Everytime I pointed the camera at him he walked away. I had to be quick to get this one.

This was Andriette's kitchen. We went to a little breakfast shower for her. I will be shooting the wedding. She is marrying Gordon who is Doug's (my brother-in-law) brother.

Gordon and Andriette

We stayed with Natanya (who is Doug's sister) and her husband Marius for some of the time. They have the most darling children. The dishwasher and sink were in a little room with the washer and dryer off to the right.

Grocery shopping with Monica (my sister) and Natanya. It seemed like shopping in London to me

We drank a lot of juice and it was the best I have ever tasted

First you unlock the gate to drive your car in, then you unlock the gate to the yard. Then the gate to the house. And then there is usually a gate to lock at night that separates the bedrooms from the main part of the house. That's a lot of locking and unlocking all day long!

Then there was the Potjie (Poi-kee). It's kind of like our crockpot only on a gas stove. 

Natanya is a great cook. This was the chicken and vege potjie dish served over rice and it was delicious

For their kids to go to school it costs them every month what it costs us in a whole year or more.

Then on top of that they have to pay for uniforms and other expenses. Not to mention 42% Taxes


One of the first things we did was take a few days to go to Mozambique. We went to a resort on the beach just north of Maputo the capital city. Mozambique had a civil war 30 years ago and still haven't recovered. Apparently they still have trouble with buried bombs that go off and kill or maim people. We got to Maputo at night so I couldn't take any pictures but the streets were just teeming with people. They must have been going home from work and shopping for the night or something. It seemed like they were all out on the streets. 

We had a series of funny mishaps getting to the resort. First we had to make the last Ferry which was just pulling out as we got there. We flashed our lights and thankfully they came back for us. It was pitch black but I looked out my back window and could see water right by the van. I didn't want to freak anyone out so I didn't say anything. They had pulled the ramp up a little behind us but not much. Then we get dropped off two minutes later not knowing whether we are really suppose to get off or not. We did and the roads were all dirt. At this point, we thought the clutch was going out because it was acting funny. We got lost and then made our way back to the main road. Doug's dad fell into a ditch and got completely soaked. I just watched him step into some weeds and disappear. Then we got stuck in the sand 3 times. Some local black people came out to help us for money and one of them showed us the way to the resort. We had a map but it was totally bad. First they let most of the air out of the tires though so we could make it across the rest of the sandy roads. Once we got there the power was out and we didn't even have candles. I started laughing about the time we got stuck in the sand. There were just too many things for it not to be funny. After that it was all uphill.

Driving on the left side of the road took a bit getting used to

There was some beautiful scenery on the way.

At the border crossing into Mozambique. We had to pay $80 to get a visa but it didn't take too long

They really make good use of their transportation

We stayed at a place called the Cova De Macaneta. Our bamboo cottage slept 10 people and it cost us about $120 per night. I loved it! It was very rustic

The upstairs had all the amenities at least when the power was on

We had to bring all our own food

This was the bathroom. The power went off and on the whole time we were there and we only had hot water in the mornings and after 4pm so we had to time our showers.

Each bed had its own mosquito netting even though it wasn't that time of year yet.

The gorgeous view of the ocean from our balcony

This was the little pathway to the Indian Ocean

This was even my brother-in-law, Doug's first view of the Indian ocean though he grew up in South Africa. He lived mostly in East London which is on the Atlantic side

The beaches were beautiful and empty. Mostly because school was not out yet and it was their spring

A view of our resort from the ocean. Our bungalow is on the right

Dallen my 6'6" nephew

Just us and the cute little puppies that followed us everywhere

Even to the hammocks which is where I spent most of my time

My feet picture- working on my wedding photography skills thanks to Jose Villa


Albert showing us his Masala fruit. It has these big pits that you just suck the pulp and juice off of. It tastes kind of like an orange but there is not much to it

These are called donkeys and Sebastian keeps the fires burning. This is how they heat our water and why we only have it after 4 for a few hours

A Mozambique Sunset

Grilling in some beautiful scenery. There were hundreds of whales out there the entire time we stayed. On the last day Doug, Opa and Dallen went deep sea fishing and they were out in the midst of hundreds of them all day long

Oma made Euro for us each night with shortbread called Rusks. It was yummy!

While the boys were out deep sea fishing we did a photo shoot- beautiful McKayla

Gorgeous Alexa

My sister Monica 

Oma, Doug's mom

We even had the pool to ourselves. On the last day a honeymooning couple came but that was it

Kayla and the Indian Ocean. Madagascar was in the distance

These cute little puppies just followed us everywhere

And then we saw them go after this poor kid and we knew that they weren't just cute, little puppies. They were very well trained dogs

My beautiful sister and her gorgeous daughters

My sister who braves all this adventure being 6 months pregnant

I got a feet and a reflection shot all in one!

OK so I went a little overboard with the feet shots but I loved the mosquito netting

And I got my own bedroom. It was wonderful. I could hear the ocean crashing through the bamboo walls and when there was a breeze it sounded more like a strong wind but it lulled me to sleep every night. The last night we were there it rained all night. I got awoken with a splash on my face I couldn't figure out where it came from so I just went back to sleep. In the morning both mine and Monica and Doug's beds were wet. Some water had come in under the upstairs door and found two little holes just above us. What an experience!

Getting back to South Africa was just as much an adventure as getting there

This is a local school

We didn't have any trouble with the sand this time but the clay about killed us a couple of times

This is about where Opa fell into the water

This ferry looks way bigger than it is!

Some passengers on the ferry

This is where we filled our tires back up

There are some great artists in Africa and you find it in the oddest places!

It was kind of hard to get good pictures in a moving vehicle, but I did the best that I could

The rain didn't keep many people home

They have got some resourceful roofers there


This is a rest stop that nobody ever stops at anymore because they are likely to get shot at

Back in South Africa-

We had a nice sunset-

while we changed a flat tire!

The Saints of Botswana- Gabarone

So how lucky am I? I got invited by Marius (Natanya's Husband) who is in the Stake Presidency to go with them to do Stake Conference in Botswana. All of Botswana is in the Johannesburg North Stake, but instead of having them travel so far, the Stake Presidency goes to them. Not for long apparently, Botswana will soon be made it's own Stake. 
We left early Saturday morning and also riding with us was Shelly Levy, the Stake Relief Society President and President Mdletene (I think) who is the First Councilor in the Mission Presidency. It was about a 4 hour trip and we had some great conversation along the way.
First off, Botswana is different than any country in Africa. You can feel it in the air and in the people. I have never had so many friendly faces greet me with open, honest friendliness, and in only two days. They are a more prosperous people from what I saw. They have had a stable government who puts money into the education of their people and so they are more educated than most other African peoples. 
It's a safer country. Capital punishment is alive and well and the crime rate is very low. They have taken all sister missionaries out of South Africa but they have them here in Botswana for example.

You can tell a game reserve by the fencing along the road. It's taller than it appears, but there are game reserves all over South Africa.

While the Stake Presidency members were in their meetings, I got to go exploring with my camera. I couldn't go that far since I was walking but it was fun.

A grocery store

A nice guy selling oranges. I didnt' have any Botswana money so I didn't buy anything

Spring was in full bloom

Fences everywhere but no barbed wire and cool signs

President Mdletene and Marius Von Mullendorf

I made some friends while the others were in their meetings. This is Boipelo who is 6 and her little sister Boinelo who is 2.

That night we went to dinner at a nice restaurant- This is Shelley Levy, Marius, President Hall and the second councilor, Pienaar and his wife.

The is the Area President for South Africa. He and his wife were both amazing speakers and I loved listening to them. The only problem is the paper I wrote their names on flew out of my bag on Safari. Oops!

We stayed in a nice hotel called The Peermont Mondior

It was a very nice hotel with great African decor

I shared a room with Shelly which meant I didn't have to pay for the room because there was an extra space. That was really nice of her to share with me and I really enjoyed talking with her. She was close friends with Doug and his family growing up because they were in the same ward

The homes seemed a bit nicer and the streets cleaner but maybe that was just Gabarone

I loved the striped street signs

My shadow picture. I had gotten up a little early and walked around the hotel area before we went to Stake Conference

Some people came early for meetings

Then the missionaries started arriving

I hung out with Boinelo and Boipelo again. Casper their cousin told me that was the correct spelling

I got a tear in my eye seeing these missionaries in their element. I can't see my own son serving in Guatemala right now but this definitely reminded me of him and what is doing right now

Elder Brey third from the left is from Highland! He is not in our stake though- bummer

These people got off a chartered bus it looked like. I wonder how far they had to come


Casper had fun taking pictures with my camera. He did a pretty good job

Another cute little boy who hung out with us before the meeting started

The lady on the left is the Young Women's President. She is also a Lawyer and she gave an excellent talk in Stake Conference

This little girl kept peeking at me in the bathroom. I think she was a little shy

After the meeting I just sat outside and took pictures of people. They all had a smile for me even though they didn't know who I was

In the meeting I sat by Antonia in her beautiful traditional dress and her daughter Agnes

Honestly, I've never seen so many happy people in one place like this ever

Some actually wanted me to take their pictures

The lady on the left made her dress. She is a beautiful seamstress and much more. They call her Sister Motherhood because she takes care of her own seven children and many others besides. Her husband just died this past year and so now she is doing it all alone. She says she spends most of her time going to weddings!

Elder White is from Lehi!

A Bush Wedding

So what exactly is a Bush Wedding? Well, it's out in the Bush meaning away from any cities or Towns and I think from the signs on the road that you can sometimes be joined by a herd of Elephants or maybe a Giraffe or two. There might even be Crocodiles or Hippos in the river. Unfortunately we didn't see any and it rained so we had to move the wedding in doors. Ah well, maybe next time. We did have a lot of fun!

This is the crowd I hung out with the whole time. They were so fun!

This is my favorite picture of the whole night!

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