Friday, August 27, 2010


This image is of the port in East London, South Africa. I hope to be able to upload my own photos soon; until then I'm relying on Google images. 

The first person I met in East London, outside of my host family, was the desk clerk at the East London Museum. Diana, one of the girls in my field study group, had an appointment with Rachel, one of their historian/librarians (I'm not sure exactly which), at nine on Tuesday morning. The desk clerk called her and she said she had to move the appointment to eleven. 
"Okay," he said, "but they are very disappointed. One of them is crying." We laughed. "The other two are laughing at the one who is crying."
       Before we could leave, he asked us all where we are from, and we told him the U.S.
"So you will send me back there?"
"Well, we won't be there for another three months, and you couldn't go without us."
"Okay, when you go back then, you can bring me with you."
"Well, maybe I can fit you in my luggage. Then you can come." 
He laughed.
"Fine, that's fine. I look forward to it."

Next was a salesman at the Telkom store, where we went to get phone cards. When Macrae, Brit, Diana and I walked in he grinned and spread his arms.
"It is four angels come to visit me!"
"I brought you some new friends!" Macrae had met this man before. He gave us each a hug in turn, then stood looking at us all proudly as Macrae chatted with him. We got our cards, then told him good-bye.
"You must come back to see me soon." We all assured him that we would.
"And then you will bring me with you, to America?"
"I can pack you in my bag," said Macrae, "but I already will have these three in there, so it will be a tight fit."
He grinned wider. "It will be fine. At least I will be traveling with angels."

We returned to the museum at eleven, and waited for Rachel to finish helping another man. He talked to us as she was busy on the computer. Somehow he ended up telling us about his life, his studies, his family, and his efforts to get his degree. Then he asked us about ourselves.
"America, that is a place I would like to see," he said. "Maybe you can take me back with you?"
"My bag is getting pretty full, I don't think there will be room."
He laughed. 
"Oh no. Some other way then. When I was at the University in Capetown, I learned a very good lesson. When you go to a nice restaurant, you know they have wonderful food, and you can see what you want on the menu. You can want it and want it, but until you place your order, you will never have that food. It is the same for anything in life. Whatever you want, you must place your order, and that is the only way that you might get it. So I asked you if you could bring me to America, and even though you cannot give me that, at least I tried, I placed my order, and if I keep trying I will get what I want someday." 

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