South Africa

After leaving Zimbabwe in month 1, we traveled back to South Africa and spent several days in Pretoria where we attended Passion Pretoria, which was an incredible experience. For many of us, Passion 2012 was instrumental in our decision to pack what little we could into a backpack and embark on this wild ride. Our team soon hopped a train to Cape Town (one of the most awful memories I have from the Race involved trying to haul my pack, which was probably 50lbs, in an airporter (so with just one strap) across the train station and to the luggage car. Eventually I just started dragging it, which created a hole in my airporter AND in my hammock bag (but not my hammock, thankfully) that I later patched with lime green duct tape in real fashion).

We partnered with a school for special needs children in Cape Town. Alcoholism runs rampant in this area of the country, which often leads to fetal alcohol syndrome and various learning disabilities. Caitlin and I spent our month in the kitchen – we cooked lunch each day for the children and staff, so we didn’t have a lot of interaction with the kids. We introduced the ladies to tomato soup and grilled cheese, eventually serving it to the kids for breakfast one day. It was here that I fell in love with red rooibos tea and heard stories about hard hard things that children shouldn’t have to experience. Our hosts, Pastor Danny and his wife Miz Vivian, were incredible influences. I love them dearly.

During our stay, we explored Cape Town, visited the penguins in Simon’s Town (where I had the best brownie ever), and went cage diving with great white sharks! After returning to Pretoria, we met up with the rest of our squad in Nelspruit for our first “debrief” where we spent three or four days resting (and, consequently, celebrating my birthday) before taking a bus to our third country.