Sunday, January 14, 2007

Arrival in Tweeling, South Africa and a Warm Welcome

We arrived in Tweeling, Free State, South Africa on Tuesday afternoon (January 9th). Mosuwenyana's friend, Thabo Mafokeng, had told us to call when we were approaching Tweeling. When we were about 10 minutes from the town, Thabo, Mosuwenyana's wife and daughter Gugu and Bakomoso, Gugu's cousin Khanai, Patrick, and Mishak all came to meet us and guide us into town. Several teachers from Refeng-Thabo came by our cottage to greet us and to welcome us to Tweeling. We were
already feeling very welcomed when we learned that the school had planned a big party for us on Thursday, which included beautiful singing by many of the students, speeches by teachers, students, administrators, and members of the community, and an unbelivable feast with over 60 people. We were incredibly touched by this welcome and told the Principal of the school so. When we told him how welcome and happy this production made us, he told us "That is the South African way."

We love our cottage, which is in the backyard of a wonderful family's house. The house is much bigger than we expected and Mosuwenyana's wife did a great deal of work to get it ready for us and to make it feel like home. Many people have asked for our mailing address here and it is:

Kate Mahady and Andy Farkas
19 7th Street
Tweeling, Free State 9820

Kate is able to walk to school very easily, as the cottage is about a 10 minute walk from school. Andy will be volunteering at the town's clinic, which is right up the street from the school. We will likely stay in Tweeling for the whole year (there had been some vague plans to move to Frankfort) as we have already made several friends here and like being in such a nice community.

We are learning as much Sesotho as possible and everyone has been helping us in our learning. The children learn English when they go to school, so children who have not yet started school speak very little English. Luckily, everyone speaks the international language of Barefoot Soccer, and we have made several friends this way.

We are very safe and happy in this community, so there is no reason to worry about us. We are being very welcomed and cared for by our many new friends!

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