Tuesday, 27 September 2011

You Are Zulu Now

In South Africa September 24 marks Heritage Day (also known as Braai Day or King Shaka Day).  On this day South Africans are encouraged to celebrate their culture, heritage and traditions.  In Kwazulu-Natal (the province we are in) Heritage Day was previously known as King Shaka Day, celebrating the legendary Zulu king who united the Zulu clans into a nation.  To mark this occasion we enthusiastically decided to attend a Zulu festival in a town called Stanger (about an hour east of Durban).  As we weren’t brave enough to go on our own Ali decided to contact the only tour company that does tours of the festival.  We were told to meet the tour guide at a Shell gas station that is located as follows: “after you get off the highway, pass one light, at the second light turn left and it will be on your right hand side.”

So we rented a car and were on our way.  Ali was driving.  I must say she dealt really well with the whole driving on the left side of the road thing.  I was impressed.  Especially because I still consistently look the wrong way when I cross the road.  Or just look like a confused chicken.

As we got to the designated meeting point, it didn’t take us long to pinpoint the other tourists who had signed up for this adventure (not that difficult to spot):  a young American professor (Jason) and a much older American couple who live in New Zealand and travel around the world on their yacht (Ellen and George).  Our tour guide came about 15 minutes late, barefoot and smelling slightly like beer.  All I could think was, “Wow.  This is going to be an experience and a half.”  Turns out he grew up in a remote rural area playing with Zulu kids, thus learning to speak their language and understand their culture.  And he never wears shoes.

So we get to the festival and the line up to get into the fenced park area goes on for miles.  Our tour guide decisively buds our whole group of 7 right at the front.  Ali and I being from Canada felt very uncomfortable with this.  But all the Zulu people waiting in line didn’t really seem to mind.  There were two lines: one for men and one for women.  The women line moved a lot quicker and me, Ali and Ellen soon found ourselves without a tour guide.  We also soon discovered that we were the only tourists at the festival.  This was definitely not a tourist attraction but a way for Zulus to celebrate their culture.  A larger Zulu woman very quickly took ownership of the female members of our group and directed us into the park.  She made sure nobody budded in front of us and we weren’t trampled by the group carrying sticks that bravely marched in between the male and female lines and entered the park.

Each person entering the park was given a Styrofoam contained with food (roasted chicken), a juice box and a newspaper.  There were people sitting on the ground enjoying their meals.  Every once in a while groups of people wearing their traditional costumes and carrying sticks and shields would enter the park and charge.  Our tour guide explained that each group comes from a different area and is expected to present itself in front of the Zulu king. He told us that if there is a group charging we should just stand still, instead of trying to get out of their way.  It was very overwhelming.  I felt completely out of place. 

It took us quite some time to get our bearings.  Our tour guide had told us that the more we are willing to get involved in the festivities, the more we would get out of the experience.  I thought he was crazy and could only count down the time before we could leave.  Completely the wrong attitude!

I must say, however, that I was nonetheless very intrigued and fascinated by everything that was going on around me.  Pretty soon my curiosity took over.  There were men and women dressed in traditional costumes.  Singing, dancing, charging with their sticks and shields. Young women were dancing with their breasts exposed.  Young boys could not keep their eyes off of them.  Although speeches were going on, it did not seem that people were really paying attention.  Instead they would wait until a group would start dancing and singing and form a group around them to admire their talent and skills.  The Zulu style of dance consisted of many high kicks and some booty shaking to the sound of traditional drums and song.

With so much positive energy around us we soon loosened up.  Ali wanted to try playing a drum.  She wasn’t very good, but she still managed to get a group of people dancing and singing and of course a circle being formed around them.

But it wasn’t until George tried dancing that the fun really began.  George, a man likely in his early seventies, decided to find out what would happen if he decided to attempt the high kicks.  The reaction was unbelievable!!!  All of a sudden a group of hundreds of Zulus ran towards us and formed a circle around him.  They were cheering and clapping (and probably laughing).  It was absolutely amazing!!!  This was probably the biggest circle of the day.  Ali and I were laughing so hard we couldn’t even get proper photos of George’s high kicks, which were by the way HIGH!  It was only later that we discovered that he used to do kung-fu.

Me being me of course also wanted to get involved.  So when a young Zulu woman told me I should go inside the circle it didn’t take me that long to brave up and step right in.  Of course I told her to come in with me to show me what to do.  The reaction was once again deafening!  I must say people were extremely excited that we were partaking in their celebrations.  Everyone was clapping and cheering me on!  It was amazing!!! 

After my dance a young Zulu woman walked by me and patted me on the back saying, “You are Zulu now!”

Going into this experience I must say I was really overwhelmed.  There were thousands of people and we had received lots of warnings to be safe.  What I did not expect to experience is a group of people who are warm and friendly and welcoming.  Everyone was so eager to show us who their people are, where they come from, and what they are all about.  Numerous times women would grab my hand and take me to the front of a crowd so that I can see how talented the young dancers are and how beautiful their expression is.   It was one of the most amazing experiences of my entire life.  And it was completely authentic!  It was real!

Thursday, 22 September 2011

In the Spirit of Ubuntu

Ubuntu is an African philosophy, which focuses on people’s relations with each other. Archbishop Desmond Tutu explained Ubuntu in the following way:

“One of the sayings in our country is Ubuntu – the essence of being human. Ubuntu speaks particularly about the fact that you can't exist as a human being in isolation. It speaks about our interconnectedness. You can't be human all by yourself, and when you have this quality – Ubuntu – you are known for your generosity.
We think of ourselves far too frequently as just individuals, separated from one another, whereas you are connected and what you do affects the whole World. When you do well, it spreads out; it is for the whole of humanity.”

Nelson Mandela described Ubuntu as follows:

“A traveler through a country would stop at a village and he didn't have to ask for food or for water. Once he stops, the people give him food, entertain him. That is one aspect of Ubuntu, but it will have various aspects. Ubuntu does not mean that people should not enrich themselves. The question therefore is: Are you going to do so in order to enable the community around you to be able to improve?”

I feel a lot more settled down.  My initial anxiety and self-doubt seem to have mostly disappeared.  I guess all this comes with getting to know your surroundings, being a lot more comfortable with the people around you and allowing yourself to “go local”.

Ali and I took the time last weekend to really experience Durban.  We had spent so much energy on apartment-hunting that we had not made any time to do the typical touristy things – sightseeing, photo-taking etc.  On Saturday we walked through most of the downtown area, visiting the Workshop (a mall, which used to be a train station), City Hall, the Old Court House and the Junction (tourist information centre). 

The city is actually quite beautiful, perfectly capturing the local heritage and culture.  The mixture of European, Indian and African influences shape Durban into a rich and fascinating world-class city.

At the Junction, Ali and I were also able to pick up a whole bunch of brochures (probably about 143!) offering various things to do in and around the city.  We estimated that if we do a weekend trip every other weekend, it will take us to about mid-January (and that is also the must-see and must-do ones!).

On Saturday night we went for dinner with Kathleen and Sean.  I met Kathleen through one of the previous interns at Lawyers for Human Rights.  Kathleen is originally from Vancouver, but she has been living in South Africa since 2006.  Her boyfriend Sean is from South Africa.  We had dinner on Florida Road, which is one of the trendiest nightspots in Durban.  We had a great time and the food was delicious!

Sean explained that Durban has the reputation of being a sleepy city.  Because the sun rises really EARLY in the morning (around 5:30) and sets pretty EARLY (around 6:30) and because people in Durban are really active (surfing, biking, running) everyone goes to bed EARLY (9pm or so).  Although there is more nightlife on the weekends, the streets are usually pretty quiet after 8pm.  I had noticed this right when I arrived, but assumed it was because of the season.  Aha!  Now it made sense!  I could definitely get used to this lifestyle.  Now if I can only get out of bed at 6am to go for a run, we would be in business!

On Sunday Ali and I went on a tour of the Moses Mabhida Stadium.  It was built specifically for the 2010 FIFA World Cup and took four years to build.  During the World Cup, it hosted five group games, one second round game and the semi-final between Spain and Germany. 

The stadium is beautiful and now offers a number of activities including ADVENTURE WALK, BIG SWING and SKYCAR.  Ali and I have vowed to do the Adventure Walk, which is basically climbing the 550 steps to the top of the stadium.  So stay tuned for that!!!

I also went on a bike ride with Sean and Kathleen along the coast.  They seemed very eager to show me around and make suggestions for places I must see while in Durban.  Sean seemed to be friends with everyone along the way.  People were happy, smiling and talking to each other.  Sean explained to me that this is how he understands the “Spirit of Ubuntu”.  It is about feeling comfortable to talk to complete strangers because everyone is your brother.  Obviously just like anywhere in the world there are dangers in describing the attitude of people in such simplistic terms.  Yet the more I get to know the people around me the more I feel like I am a part of a whole.  After all, this is the reason I decided to go overseas in the first place!

Friday, 16 September 2011

The Highs and Lows of Durban Life

It has now been over a week since I arrived in Durban and I am still getting my bearings.  There are definitely some things that I am getting used to and others that I have not even begun to explore.  It feels like I have been gone for a long time and yet I have not even completely unpacked my suitcases.   There have definitely been some highs and lows!
Ali arrived last weekend!  I was so excited to have her around.  We had only met each other during our program training in Ottawa so I was looking forward to getting to know her.  We could also finally make some of the more important decisions (such as where to live and which cutlery set to buy).  Of course the first thing we did was going for a walk along the beach and enjoy the beauty of the cost. 

The World Cup of Rugby is on right now and there is a general excitement in the air as South Africa is the defending champion.  Personally, I don’t know anything about rugby and I feel like I am trapped in Invictus.  However the atmosphere is awesome!  Ali happens to know a lot about rugby so I’m learning.  Go Springboks! 
Ali and I also began going to free fitness classes which are offered on the beach behind the SunCoast Casino from 5:30 to 6:30.  On Monday we went to Kickboxing and it was fantastic!  I was sore for days after.  It honestly felt like we were in one of those fitness videos filmed on the beach.  It was awesome!  And no we were not wearing one piece spandex suits with thick white socks and white running shoes!  There is also zumba on tuesdays, bootcamp on wednesdays, yoga on thursdays and kettlebell training on fridays.

Finding a place to live, on the other hand, has proven extremely challenging.  In fact Ali spent two days going through the buildings in North Beach and asking whether they have any available flats.  The problem is that we are very specific as to what we are looking for: furnished two-bedroom in North Beach (which is about a block of buildings along the shore).  We also have a specific budget and some expectations.  It’s not that the place we are in right now is that bad.  The location is great, but the flat itself is not in a great shape.  We were hoping that we would be able to find something better, but in all honesty out of all the places we have seen so far, our flat is my second favourite.  What happened to number 1 you ask.  Well it just so happens that landlords are also picky about how long they are renting out the apartment for.  That particular landlord did not want to sign a lease that is for less than one year.  So that one was a no go.
We definitely hit a low point a couple of nights ago when both Ali and I felt quite defeated.  We had tried so hard to improve our living situation to no avail.  How did we remedy the situation?  Well we went to Zack’s across the street (which is becoming our hangout spot) and ordered dessert and pints of beer.  Yup!  That is what we did!  The waiter looked at us and said, “Are you serious?” and then  laughed!   But you know what brownies and beer definitely made us feel better!

Work has also had its ups and downs.  There are days when I feel like I am helping people and working for a cause.  Then there are days when I feel my hands are completely tied and I am wasting my time.  I listen to people’s tragic stories and yet I know that they would not qualify under the South African definition of a refugee.  The other day I met an asylum seeker from the South Kivu region of the DRC.  He claimed that he was responsible for mediating a land conflict between two families.  One of these families was residing on land that the other family could show was legally theirs.  A member of the family residing on the land was a government soldier.  After the asylum seeker sided with the family that could show the land was legally theirs, the soldier began to harass him and intimidate him.  The asylum seeker claimed that shortly after that the soldier killed his pregnant wife.  As a result he fled.  South Kivu right now is a very turbulent area of Congo, though it is not considered to be in a general state of war.  The man claimed that going to the police would not help him as nobody would stand up to a government soldier. 
I don’t know if his claim was made up or not.  What I do know is that I can understand why this man would want to leave South Kivu and come to South Africa.  In between talking to him and doing research, I spent a lot of time that day and working on his case.  Interviewing someone using a translator can be quite challenging and time-consuming, especially when you are trying to assess the credibility of his story.  At the end of the day we had to tell him that we cannot help him as we do not believe he has grounds for appeal.  I felt like I had wasted my day. 

You know, the weather in Durban is really strange.  You wake up early in the morning and it is beautiful.  The sun is just rising and the wind is calm.  People are running along the beach and there are a few surfers in the water.  You go into work excited and looking forward to the beautiful day ahead.  By the time you leave work however the wind has picked up so much that it makes it difficult to walk down the streets.  Clouds have invaded the sky and it looks like it may rain.  And although it is spring, there are still people wearing jackets and hats.  Once night falls the wind usually calms down.  There are definite highs and lows.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Beginning Work

The next day Jan picked me up and dropped me off at work.  He had told me that he would drive me the first few days until I begin to find my way around.  (I made sure to tell Jan that I am engaged and spent a bit of time talking about my wedding plans, just in case, you know!) 
My first day at work was very interesting.  Sherylle went through some legal training with me and explained what the clinic does and more specifically the type of work I’ll be doing.  Here is some basic information:
Lawyers for Human Rights is an independent human rights organization that provides free legal services to marginalized individuals and groups within South Africa.   The Refugee and Migrant Rights Program (RMRP) “is a specialist programme that advocates, strengthens and enforces the rights of asylum seekers, refugees and other marginalised categories of migrants in South Africa.”  The Durban law clinic provides free legal advice and representation to refugees and asylum seekers in the Province of KwaZulu Natal.  LHR is also a legal implementing partner of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and as such is responsible for implementing some of its programs, such as voluntary repatriation and resettlement. 
I will be responsible for daily consultation with clients at the law clinic.  Client intakes take place from Monday to Thursday between the hours of 8:30am to 1:00pm.  Clients are accepted on a walk-in basis.  If a client requires on-going assistance, appointments may be scheduled outside those hours.  I will also be required to identify possible strategic litigation cases and assist with drafting pleadings in contemplation of such litigation.  During the intake process I will be expected to identify clients who are in need of protection and require UNHCR intervention.
Sherylle warned me that it is very easy to get emotionally involved with the clients’ stories.  Often their experiences and backgrounds are extremely tragic and I should be prepared for that.  In fact, she told me that clients can be quite manipulative when it comes to your emotions. Previous interns had had a lot of difficulty with this, especially in cases of unaccompanied minors.  That morning I got my first taste. I sat in on a client interview, where the applicant’s sister was raped and killed by rebels in a small village in the DRC.  The applicant subsequently fled the DRC and came to South Africa with her children looking for a better life.  Although she had gone through this horrible experience, she did not fit within the strict definition of a refugee as prescribed by the Refugee Act.  As such, Lawyers for Human Rights could not take on her case and represent her throughout her appeal.
I should take a bit of time to explain the process.  Presently South Africa is the largest single recipient country of asylum seekers in the world. Most migrants are arriving from Zimbabwe, Malawi, Ethiopia, the DRC, Burundi, Somalia, and some from Bangladesh, India and Pakistan.  When an asylum seeker arrives in South Africa they are issued a transit permit which gives them 14 days to lodge an application for asylum at a Refugee Reception Office.  The application includes the required forms, finger prints, biometrics and recent photos.  At this stage the asylum seeker receives a section 22 permit (or an asylum seeker permit), which allows the applicant to work and study, while awaiting a Status Determination Hearing.  180 days after the interview the asylum seeker receives the outcome – which is either a grant of refugee status or a rejection.  A refugee enjoys full legal protection and is entitled to apply for an immigration permit after five years’ continuous residence in South Africa.  A rejection, on the other hand, gives an asylum seeker the right to appeal, should he or she wish to do so.  If a refugee does not appeal the RSD decision, he or she must leave the country or will be deported. 
There are a number of issues with this system.  One being that South Africa began receiving such a high number of asylum seekers that it simply did not have the necessary resources to process all applications within a reasonable time.  Thus the government was required to give asylum seekers the right to work and study while awaiting the outcome of their case.  As the system was significantly backlogged, some people were stuck in this bureaucratic limbo for years (sometimes as many as 10), before they were finally rejected.  Although by this point South Africa had become their home, these people were required to leave the country.  This flaw also became a huge pull factor for migrants, who were aware that they did not have a legitimate refugee claim, but saw the asylum process as a much easier way to live and work in South Africa than the Immigration process.  The Act is presently being amended, with the new changes likely to come in effect at the end of March of next year (which coincides with the end of my internship).
For those of you who are legally inclined and should wish to know, the Refugee Act defines a refugee in the following way:
(a)    Owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted by reason of his or her race, tribe, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership of a particular social group, is outside the country of his or her nationality and is unable or unwilling to avail himself or herself of the protection of that country, or, not having a nationality and being outside the country of his or her former habitual residence is unable or, owing to such fear, unwilling to return to it; or
(b)    Owing to external aggression, occupation, foreign domination or events seriously disturbing or disrupting public order in either a part or the whole of his or her country of origin or nationality, is compelled to leave his or her place of habitual residence in order to seek refuge elsewhere: or
(c)    Is a dependant of a person contemplated in paragraph (a) or (b).
All this being said, LHR represents clients, who have already been initially rejected and are now seeking to lodge an appeal.  LHR only takes on the cases that have a reasonable probability of success.  The problem is that although many applicants have extremely sad stories, they do not fit within this very strict definition.  In the case of the Congolese woman escaping violence, she is not being persecuted because of her race, tribe, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group.  In addition, the area in the DRC where she is from is not considered to be experiencing external aggression, occupation, foreign domination or events seriously disturbing or disrupting public order.  The act of violence the Congolese woman experienced would be seen as an isolated event that does not amount to the level of seriousness required by the definition. 

As Sherylle delivered our decision not to represent her and calmly explained the legal reasoning behind it, and the translator gently translated this to the applicant, you could already see tears filling her eyes.  My emotions had already been manipulated.  I definitely have a lot to learn!

First Days in Durban

As I arrived in the apartment I was already highly emotional, exhausted and a bit overwhelmed.  When asked whether I liked it I had no idea how to respond.  Jan told me that this is an excellent apartment with an excellent view for a really good price.  I just said that we’d take it for a month and then once Alison gets here we can decide what to do.  Jan took me to a little store on the side of the building and bought me some drinks to have with me.  Once left alone in the apartment the loneliness set in.  Why had I left a very happy life in Canada?  I cried a bit, made a distressed phone call to my fiancĂ© on my Rogers phone (still has emergency calling on it, cheaper than cancelling my plan), which I am sure cost a fortune and then quickly fell asleep.
As I woke up the next morning I looked out the window.  The sight took my breath away.  I found out that the apartment was located on the third floor of the building with my balcony overlooking the ocean.  It was BEAUTIFUL. 

The beach extended as far as my eyes could see in both directions and there were a large number of surfers in the water waiting for the opportune waive. 

Unfortunately, this sensation did not last very long. As I looked to the left of me on my balcony I discovered a dead pigeon, which was on its own quite disgusting.  But on top of that there was an upside down playing card beside the pigeon’s head.  That was completely freaky.  I quickly ran back inside the apartment, closed the door, and (just to be sure) the curtains. (Looking back that was perhaps a bit exaggerated!)  All I thought was, “What kind of weird black magic thing is this.” And remember I am already emotionally unstable, alone, and pretty much disconnected from the world.
Jan’s friend took to me see the Landlord (or landlady) up on the penthouse floor.  She told us that she is leaving on holidays for two weeks but will do all the paperwork upon her return.  That was it.  So to summarize where I am at: I have no lease signed, I am staying at an apartment I have not paid anything for yet that I have been informed will cost between R5,000 and R5,500 ($715 and $785), I don’t know where to do laundry, I don’t know where to throw out my garbage, I don’t know where to buy food, my stove is not working, my TV is not working, oh yes and there is a weird dead pigeon on the balcony.  Just great!
Jan showed up around 9:30 that morning to take me to breakfast and show me around. Our first job was to visit the office where I’ll be working and meet my future colleagues.  The office was fantastic and everyone was very friendly.  It consists of two lawyers (one being the office manager), a receptionist and another intern from the United States.  Although I thought I was going into this experience with absolutely no expectations the office was exactly what I thought it would be. It is located in a beautiful three story complex which houses a number of other NGO’s including the Legal Resource Centre, where Alison will be working.  In the centre courtyard there is beautiful vegetation and a cute little cafe. This raised my spirits a ton!  I couldn’t wait to start work.  So when Sherylle (the office manager) asked when I’ll be starting I said, “Tomorrow!”
After taking me to do some basic shopping and get some breakfast, Jan dropped me off back at my building.  He kindly got rid of the dead pigeon and fixed my stove.  The TV however was still a mystery.  I spent the afternoon walking along the beach, which was absolutely gorgeous.  I walked for four hours before returning home.  And yes, it was beginning to feel a bit like home until I discovered that there is a power outage when I entered the building.  The electric doors downstairs were stuck and a bunch of people were waiting in the lobby.  I guess they did not feel like climbing the stairs.  As I was on the third floor I went up to my apartment.  It was beginning to get dark and all I could think was, “Oh great! I still don’t have a phone, I don’t have internet, my electronics are dying as I don’t have a power adapter for the weird plugs that were largely lacking in my apartment anyway, oh yes and even if I had an adapter, I could not recharge anything because the power was out!”  So I sat there and read for a bit.  The power came on shortly after.  The good thing about it, my TV somehow started working!

Noone was sure exactly why the power outage took place.  However the major power failure affected all of Durban including its more sophisticated suburbs, Morningside, Glenwood, the Berea, Umbilo and parts of Sherwood.  Some said it was a sabotage of the electrical company, others say that people were trying to steal cable.  I tried googling it and found out that ESKOM, South Africa’s electrical provider is supremely unpopular with consumers.  The reasons are many and include sudden increases in rates of 25%.  In addition, it appears ESCOM has been using “Load Shedding”, the shutting down of electricity for a few hours a week in order to preserve electricity for the 2010 Soccer World Cup.  Apparently this policy is still used in some unprivileged communities where power is shut off without warning.  The Mercury, the local newspaper, reported that the power failure occurred due to transmission fault.
Some background information:

Lonely Planet describes Durban as “a maturing adolescent that’s ever-changing and taking steps to be more sophisticated.  There’s more to her than meets the eye yet she is often passed over (unfairly) for her ‘cooler’ counterparts, such as Cape Town.”   Durban is South Africa’s third largest city, located in the province of Kwazulu-Natal on the Indian Ocean coast.  It is the busiest port in Africa.  Its population is 3.5 million.  Although the city centre and the beach are dynamic during the day, the night life is largely in the fashionable and more sophisticated suburbs.

Friday, 9 September 2011

Arriving in Durban

So what do I know right? I am all excited to set out on this amazing adventure thinking that I am prepared for anything that comes my way. I mean how often does someone have the chance to work for a cause they really care about, while being able to live in a foreign place and explore a foreign culture? In applying for the CBA Young Lawyer International Program I had no doubt in my mind that this is exactly what I need and want at this stage in my life.  I was placed to intern at Lawyers for Human Rights in Durban, South Africa.  This had been my first choice and I was really excited.  The only place I had previously visited in Africa was Egypt so I was really looking forward to the experience!

However as the time to leave was quickly approaching, I spent more and more time with my closest friends. I realized that we were now probably closer than ever and it would be a lot more difficult to just get up and leave. But then of course this too is part of the experience. It is about allowing yourself to miss everything that you were previously really comfortable with.  And about creating a certain amount of discomfort for yourself so that you can learn and grow as a person. And about trying something new and different. And perhaps about realizing that everything you were previously really comfortable with is not all there is.  And perhaps that all that glitters is not gold.

As I was departing Toronto, I (like other interns) learned that the baggage information provided on the South African Airways website was incorrect. However (unlike other interns) I was only charged $200 for my second piece of luggage (which although now appears reasonable at the time was quite annoying). Being already highly emotional, a bit irritated and not at all looking forward to the 24 hours of travelling ahead of me, I said goodbye to my fiancé and pushed my buggy full of suitcases through customs. As I was flying through Washington DC I had to clear American customs first, which was quite annoying especially because I was "randomly" selected to go through one of those body scanners. Fun!

I flew to Washington DC, and then to Jo'burg with a stopover in Dakar, and then to Durban. I don't think I had ever gone through so many landings and lift-offs in a 24-hour period. I didn't even know where Dakar was when I originally looked up my itinerary (which perhaps shows my level of sophistication, or lack thereof). When I asked my younger brother where Dakar is he reminded me that I had parked it out back. I laughed and said, "No the city." he responded, "You parked the car in the city?"

So after a long trip that was not at all as unpleasant as I thought it would be I arrived in Durban where luckily all my suitcases loyally followed me. I was met by a friend of the previous intern (Jan), who had thankfully secured a two-bedroom apartment for myself and Alison (the other CBA intern) who will be joining me shortly. As we were driving from the airport I was so exhausted but remember thinking, "Oh my gosh, what have I gotten myself into?"