I left home at 8:00 Sunday morning. It is 10:00 (local time) on Monday night and I am just getting to bed. No complaints- but it has been a very long day. I couldn't sleep on the 15 hour plane ride. We had a 6 hour stop over in Jo'burg and decided to do some sight seeing. We found a local guide and asked him where he would like to take us. "Soweto," he said. I will take you to the house of Nelson Mandela.
As we drove out from the airport the landscape was reminiscent of southern California, arid with palm trees. But there was more dust, and poverty. There were many fewer cars and many more on foot- not a single bicycle.
We visited the house where he lived with his first wife, in his first life- a boxer, a lawyer, a father and husband. Later, he also lived there with his second wife. We saw the stains on the bricks where they bombed the house, and the holes in the wall where they shot bullets and the wall in the kitchen where she would take the children and hide. We saw their memorabilia in cabinets- gifts from strangers and supporters all over the world.
We also visited a memorial to the fallen children of Soweto. They were shot down as they marched for freedom. A picture of a boy, carrying his dead brother, a girl at his side who would later grow up to create this very memorial in his honor.
There were some very sad things, but we also saw a lot of hope. There were vendors and street performers and art everywhere. After another short plane ride we made it to Pietermaritzburg. I can't wait to see what happens tomorrow.