Here are the top five things I loved about Durban, South Africa:
1. Midnight walks on the beach
I lived in Windermere flats my last month in Durban. My apartment overlooked the ocean and the city skyline. So of course one of my favorite things to do at night was walk along the beach. The night atmosphere on North Beach is totally different from the daytime. It’s still lively at times especially on the weekends but usually it’s peaceful. When I walked along the beach, it was just me, the stars, the moon, the ocean and God. I will miss that time immensely.
2. Rolling hills of Kwa-Zulu Natal
As you leave eThekwini (aka Durban) in the direction of the more rural areas, you will see what I call the “rolling hills” of Kwa-Zulu Natal. It is literally endless green hills on either side of the highway for miles around. The hills get higher and the valleys lower as you go further into the rural areas and its just greenery everywhere. The most amazing part of the rolling green hills is that South Africa is in a drought right now. But somehow, aka Jesus has kept those plants alive and well so that they continue to flourish despite the heat and decrease in water supply.
3. Homestay Families
Shout-out to my home stay families for putting up with this crazy kid for weeks on end. My host families were my personal glimpses into the lives and cultures of the people of Kwa-Zulu Natal. My host families were warm and welcoming people. They went above and beyond to make me feel comfortable. I will miss each one of them for various reasons but mainly because each home stay was a new adventure and opportunity to grow. For example, in my rural home stay I learned that water is not an indispensable resource that everyone has access to. It was so humbling to see the empty water tanks of my rural host family then to experience a five-minute rain shower and to realize the next morning that the water tanks still are not full. For me, coming from my U.S. privileged background where I can just turn on the tap to get water whenever I want, I had to ponder the fact that everyone cannot waste water as I do because there is not enough water to waste. I will never forget that experience and my crazy host mama.
4. Tea Time
If you know me, you know I do not like coffee or Europe’s colonization of the world. So an ironic highlight from Durban, brought to the area by the English, is its tea culture. When I was doing research at the Archdiocese of Durban Chancery, I enjoyed the 10am and 3pm tea breaks. It was a time to socialize, take a break from work and just distress. Also Rooibos tea is divine, it’s so delicious. If I ever start an organization, Tea Time will definitely be incorporated into the daily activities of the company.
5. Program People
Lastly, but this should have been first, the people at SIT in Durban’s Social and Political Transformation program are amazing human beings. They work themselves into the ground to make the experiences of the students memorable. I could talk about them for days but I won’t right now. Just know that the program would not function without the vision of Imraan, the organization of Shola, the commitment of Sdu and the tireless efforts of Scott. Each of them holds a special place in my heart.
Well there it is folks…my top 5 of Durban.