Yesterday’s adventures may be one of my favorite days I’ve ever experienced. It started with what was called a Secret Sunrise. I’m thinking, great, we go somewhere cool to watch the sunrise. FALSE. I could not have been more wrong. Basically, we put on a bunch of props, started with light yoga & did a full on African aerobics class. The fact that I wore a normal bra & flip flops was not ideal. It was a bit of a struggle, but hell, I was awake after!
We then rushed to head to our offsite; which was in Soweto. We started by stopping by Nelson Mandela’s old office and small museum. Mandela actually worked out of the office for a year or so after his presidency. It hit me there, that I was standing in a room that one of the most incredible humans to walk the Earth once worked in. It was really moving. We then had the opportunity to listen to Mandela’s personal assistant of 19 years tell some stories. We got to hear how truly amazing that man was, day in & day out. And even about his sense of humor which even made Queen Elizabeth laugh. That’s skill. That woman, bless her, is a stone wall.
The Soweto area inside of Joburg houses some of the poorest parts of Joburg. It was absolutely heart-wrenching to see some of the conditions these humans lived in. I felt guilty driving by in our taxi documenting it. It was these peoples’ livelihood! But man, when they say Africa changes you, they don’t lie. We the went to a primary school. Those kids stole my heart. We packed them up some lunches with cupcakes we brought, and I don’t think I’ve ever loved watching kids messily eat food more than that. It was the cutest!
They were in the process of building a library behind the small school, so not only did we paint with them, we stained bookshelves, we danced and just enjoyed every single moment. I even met a girl named Amanda, which happens to be my best friend’s name. And it was my Amanda’s birthday. So naturally we cheesed it up and sent her a happy birthday selfie. Seriously, it just made my heart smile.
I brought some donations with me to leave with the kiddos, who were a variety of ages. From bubbles (which are a personal favorite of mine!) to coloring books, we passed out the goodies. The smiles on their faces were so genuine. It was incredible. The hugs we got when we left, I never wanted to end. After we headed to lunch, where Grandma started dancing in the street with the entertainment and I tried ox tails for the first time. Then there was dessert. Oh, the dessert. Malva pudding. It’s basically bread pudding topped with custard and ice cream, but WAY better than the stuff we have in the States. I literally could’ve eaten the entire tray.
Later in the day, after an epic nap, we met up with the other “young adults” in the group to head to one of the locals’ house for dinner. They took us in a party bus, to Kath & Richards house. They were both chefs, had two awesome kids and were a freaking riot. From the shots as we walked trough the door, and tequila, to the amazing food & mingling with the local South African YNG (YPO Next Gen) it was nonstop laughter, and shenanigans. We broke up into teams and cooked an authentic South African Braai, which is a barbecue. And damn, is their Braai freaking baller. The food was so damn food. Cornbread, lamb chops, jazzed up sweet potatoes and a green salad (which was my team- so it was a legit salad. Like change your life type. Didn’t even need dressing.) Needless to say, I overate and it was completely worth it. We finished our braai meal off with another shot (yeah, Kath was all about the shenanigans) and some Peppermint Tart that quickly rose to the top of my favorite things list. We party bused our way back to the hotel, with more shots on the bus and a dance party. It was an absolute blast of a night. New friends, shenanigans, and great drinks. What more do you need?!?!
The best part though, the rest of the family finally made it in! So stay tuned on who wins our Euchre tournaments, is the first to plug up a toilet and is the first to spot a lion on one of our game drives. (Spoiler as I’m editing this later, it was me!) It’s about to get real good!
NOTE: South African Sauvignon Blanc is easily the best I’ve ever had, and my friends and I drink a lot of it. So go get yourself some immediately.
There’s so much more goodness to come!