Alex describes a typical day for him as he serves in a rural village in the northern part of South Africa:
At the break of dawn, at around 6:15am I’m up and at ‘em! Every morning I awake to the sound of the “cocka-doodle-doo!” of roosters that belong to my neighbors. Not to mention the great and colorful variety of birds, of which not two have the same chirps. What a tapestry of sound it is to be woken up by! I slowly gather myself to make coffee and sit down to write letters or read a book to prepare for the day. Before long, after a couple cups of coffee and a few spoonfuls of strawberry yoghurt, muesli with raisins, and a banana, it is almost eight o’clock and I am in a frenzy to get to the crèche, the local daycare centre. Along the way to the crèche, I greet and am greeted by anyone and everyone in the village: children on their way to school, women walking their children to the crèche, people fetching water from the local water tanks, and elders taking their morning walk. I start with a friendly “Thobela (Formal hello)! Le kae(how are you)?”, the person will then respond with a smile and a “Ah, Thobela! Re gona (I am fine)! Le kae?”. Such a greeting is short and joy-filled. It always makes my morning just that much more bright. A short distance from the crèche, around eight am, I am greeted by the sounds and workings of my day ahead. Crying babies to be attended to, the screams and yells of children playing on equipment and, what especially makes the caffeine from my coffee seem a little more special, are the laughs and loud chatter from the women I work with at the crèche. What a joy! By one o’clock p.m., I am finished at the crèche and take the five-minute walk up the hill to my house. I’ll spend a couple of hours around the house refilling my water bins, due to no running water in the village, cleaning the house or more reading and writing. After the time at the house I will go to the Youth Development Centre, and spend time playing games with more kids. Children are around Masealama at all times of the day, and that has been such a joy. Our group of eight ELCA volunteers in South Africa for the year 2012-2013 work through the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Southern Africa (ELCSA). Specifically for my time in Masealama, this means any number of things. I have been spending time at church on Sundays, attending Youth League (council for youth members) meetings, and singing in the local church choir. I have also enjoyed singing in a youth church choir through the Turfloop parish, which is in the nearby town of Turfloop. Singing in the choir has been a great way to meet others my own age and with similar attitudes! Traveling to nearby cities, such as Polokwane and Tzaneen has been a great way for me to get to know the area and to become more culturally adjusted.