“Joint venture” by David

We left the road we had been strolling on to get to a little dirt (and rock!) road to Gwexintaba (Gwe–clin-taba), a Xhosa village (Co-sa). Little did we know that this 12km track would take us a bumpy 1h30. Nevertheless, it was fun and when at last we got to Louis’ place (he’s the organiser of the project Joint venture and has been helping in the village for 2 years. We came to help him help them.) I saw it really was worth it. The place was beautiful and there were many traditional mud huts. We then joined Louis and the 2 girls, Els and Lieka, who had also come to help. Louis then showed us a magnificent viewpoint and gave us some history of the place, explaining that little had changed in 500 years. On our way back to his nearly finished house, he showed us a certain moss on the rocks, which showed that the air there was pure, free of pollution. After that, we played with the children of the village. Something that was nice was that whenever someone fell, everyone would laugh, he would laugh and it was funny and over with. In the background, we would see women carrying on their heads big bundles of sticks and grass. On my left, there was a partially finished mud hut. Close to where we were playing, there were cows grazing by. That night we had a barbecue on a wonderful log fire. When darkness fell, we said goodbye and slept well in a tent.

Next day, in the morning, we burnt holes in plastic bottles for watering and containing plants. That day, we mainly did gardening. People in Gwexintaba only eat 5 different vegetables during their life. They rarely eat meat, except on special occasions like ceremonies where they will exceptionally slaughter a cow or a goat and eat it. The following day, we painted the local school, which was good fun. During the afternoon, we went to a river to wash, and not 30m further than where we washed there was a waterfall of 144m high (we were at the top of it). We then walked to a mud brick shop where they sold only bread, milk and beer (especially beer). If you didn’t know it was a shop, you couldn’t guess it. On our way back, we went to one of their parties, in a mud hut (mud huts are very hot). The party consisted in talking and sharing drinks. This was great fun. That night, we had a delicious chimney meal (cooked in a chimney). With what we had, we managed to make very nice meals, mixing many things together. To make those meals, we could only use food that would remain good for a long time as there was no fridge, seeing there was no electricity in the village (and no running water).

Next day, we painted the school again. The last day, we didn’t do much, except play with te children again. This was also fun. At night, the children played the guitar and improvised drums. We all joined in and had great fun. On Saturday, we left. This was a wonderful experience, and I advise you to try. I forgot to say, but during that time we also made beautiful leather “pois” (Louis had given us the leather and shown us how to make them). Pois are a wonderful game that you can take anywhere.

In this village, money is sparse and not really needed. They still live as they lived before when they had no money. They have mud houses (mud being free, they don’t need money or help to make their house), gardens where they grow their 5 vegetables. They also brew their own beer and cook on fires.


2 Responses

  1. Hi David,
    Sorry you haven’t been keeping in touch with me. The internet connection must be really bad where you are.
    from Laura.

  2. It’s a good thing I don’t have feelings, otherwise I would feel sad that you haven’t responded to any of my emails.
    from Laura.

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