Namaskar to you all,
From sunny Cape town/ Kaapstad this time.
Hope this update finds you in good health and spirit. Quite a few of you wrote me back last time expressing you liked my last mail and none wrote to say no thanks... so I trust you'll like this one as well. The messages are quite large due to all the photo's, but I think photo's give you a much better idea. It's so hard to select the photo's as there are so many more which I would like to show. Not only more but also to see them full size is so much more beautiful! This time my really very tiny collection had to be cut in three parts just to be manageable. (I should not have delayed so long to get all organized)
Some of you didn't believe it were my experiences as I didn't appear in the photo's:-) This is something inherent to making photo's and actually I prefer it like that... Anyhow also here I tried, Dada Madhusudana who was with me part of the time made some really good photo's and some have me on it... Ah well, just don't blame me, it's on request.
Ok, here we go. I left off from Ghana, already forgot when... beginning September I think. I was picked up by Dada Devasvarupa from Johannesburg airport and driven to Orange farm, a poor township 30km south of Jo'burg (is it's locally abbreviated) The drive goes from the wealthy predominant white areas to the still quite good standard areas where the colored people live to the poor townships where many of the black are settled.
|Weaver birds near the Jagrtii||Arovindo and me|
Apartheid may be abolished in the constitution but it's still deeply rooted in the minds of the people. Orange farm township kind of grew around our project which started 15years ago. Most houses are made from wood and corrugated iron, but slowly they get replaced by brick when people can afford it. I think there must be around 100,000 people living there. This is only one of many townships around Jo'burg and all other towns.
White, Colored and Black people were strictly separated under Apartheid. The colored people (Malaysia, Madagascar, Indonesia, were imported by the Dutch as slaves in the 1650's) Actually Dada Madhusudana is just correcting me that it was even more complicated there were kind of four 'casts': the white, Indian (who came as merchants), the colored, the black (which are actually from Central Africa) and the Indigenous people who were not even considered at all. Still today after the apartheid is abolished the language of the indigenous people is not officially recognized. So still today most white people are (really) well off, and many Indian as well. The colored are managing and many of the black people are struggling and living in substandard conditions.
|Jagrtii in Orange Farm||School kids in Orange Farm|
Above the living quarters on the project and the agricultural land. There is a primary school serving about 1000 children, a pre-school, a clinic, a tree nursery and a IT centre under construction. This project has gone through many ups and downs but now it's well established and receiving funding from government and business. Below one of the local birds with a woven nest, a meditation outing to a nearby National Park with the margiis and the first instalment of SA flowers.
|DC at our outing||Anyone knows the name?|
I spend about three weeks there, seeing only a little from Jo'burg and surroundings (Post office, travel agent and one huge shopping mall) as I didn't have my own transport and I was told that the local transport is not really safe. After the India tour I hope to find some funds to buy a car so I can work better. When Dada Krpamayananda, our SS, came we had a meeting with all the Dada's and Didi there. SS could borrow a car, and I went with him to visit Durban (on the east coast) and New Castle. (about half way) The trip gave me a better idea about the countryside; in many ways it's similar to Australia with gum trees, eucalyptus, vast distances in between few cities and towns. The land feels ancient too.
I got introduced to some of the long time members and some new. Durban has a nice Jagrtii where Dada Shivatmananda is running a homeopathic dispensary, he has plans to put second story and start a school as well. Downtown Durban in the rough area there lives Valmiki, he is the source of inspiration for many of the street children. We did meditation at his place and about 15 of the teenagers came and joined the kiirtan, meditation and meal. I was very inspired to see this, it's running on sheer dedication and love, he himself doesn't have much either. I hope to get some time to talk with him and hear in more detail next visit. I didn't make so many photo's to show you and only the flower above is from this trip... After a week we came back to Joburg.
|pizza before going to Cape town||swallow nests under the overbridge|
SS had to go back to Nairobi for RDS and flew off. Now Didi Ananda Subuddhi had the plan to visit Cape town and... she had a car! I also had this plan and was holding a ticket to go there. Dada Madhusudan originally from Cape town was waiting for his visa to go to his posting as RS-Sao Paulo (Brazil) so we combined it all. We kidnapped him to introduce us to his home town, I could (hopefully) get refund for the ticket and all together we could go by car. As you can see the last evening was pizza time...
|Almost too young to fly...|
On the way we thought the car was over heating so we stopped under a bridge. The car was ok but on the ground was a swallow... It must have fallen from one of the 100's of nests build under the overpass. It tried so hard to fly but didn't manage, finally we thought to bring it back to one of the nests in the hope the mother would find it. But what happened, once we were a bit up it caught the updraft and flew away!
I didn't see any nests under further bridges, were we just led to this one to help this little bird?
|The road to Cape town||1000Km from Cape Town at 120Km/h
with 0.2 sec delay = chance shot...
|Closer to Cape town...|
|Few of the many varieties of flowers||Almost Cape town...|
Some more flowers... We saw so many more and next time I hope to stop more often to capture the variety of all these desert flowers with the beautiful soft reds, browns, yellows and orange.
Late next morning we arrived in Cape town and found that the place we thought we could stay was not available... It was cold, windy, the rain pouring down, the sky turned to night... the wind turning to a howling storm... we were lost and helpless...
to be continued... tomorrow.
For those of you not able to handle such suspense... I should say that I got a bit carried away the last sentence... it was a warm and sunny and later on we did find place to stay:-)
With His Love,
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