My Homestay

Living in the townships around Plettenberg Bay have been a culture shock, to say the least. I have never been the minority anywhere, and the only white people are the 6 of us living in Kwanokuthula. It is a predominantly black community. I have learned that black is not the same as colored, and are not offensive terms in any way. The locals all use these terms in relation with ancestry. Colored people have a white ancestor somewhere along their lineage and black people do not. Lexi and I live with a black family.

My host mom's name is Wendy and my host dad's name is James. I have two younger sisters, Achumile who is 14 but acts like she could be 18, and Buchimile or Chum Chum who is 6 and one of the sassiest little girls I have ever met. They speak Xhosa, a language with clicks in it. They all speak English except for Chum Chum, who has a speech impediment and cannot even speak Xhosa properly. The majority of the people speak at least a little English. However, the language barrier is easy to overcome with a little kid, they just like to play and act silly. I have spent the majority of my time at the house with Achumile and Chum Chum either watching TV (they have the TV on at all times which really surprised me), playing outside, running around the house, listening to music (both local and American) or just walking around the township. Wendy is a stay at home mom and James works in the public services sector(?).

Being the only white people in in the area, I get a lot of attention. There is a lot of blatant staring, the people don't even try to hide it. The children all call me "lungo" which is Xhosa for different or white. The children are the best because they will run up and hug me when I walk by, or smile and run away when I wave to them, too shy to talk to me. My neighbors have 4 little girls who will run out of the house and give Lexi and I a hug everyday before and after work.

There are a lot of animals everywhere just roaming on the streets. The cows and goats just roam through Kwano, minding their own business and stopping traffic once in a while. The chickens usually roam around their house and roosters crow at all hours. I wake up to a rooster crowing every morning, and sometimes in the middle of the night. There are also a lot of stray dogs everywhere. I just want to go up and pet them all, but they are not nice and cuddly. They bark, chase and fight all day and all night.

Living here has definitely been different and challenging at times, but overall I am enjoying my time here.

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