Tuesday, May 02, 2006


I've been back for over a week. Here are some differences that I wrote down during the first day of return.

911 and/or Police - when things go bad around our house, we are able to dial three digits and get help. In Mamelodi when the neighbor's music went on to 2 a. m. and she was trying to get some sleep, there was no one to call for assistance to ask for assistance with the neighbors. Nights are spent getting used to bad, loud music.

Friends/Family - In Mamelodi, Friends are of paramount importance. They are the lifeline to getting along, to being entertained, and to the extended Family. In the US, things are the same . . . sort of. Here, one has to consciencously plan to spend time with Friends to make the extended Family work.

Health Care - Here our kids go for annual checkup to make sure that things are progressing healthily. There, kids are apparently healty, but all of the kids and youth appear much younger than their US counterparts. Even the 18 year old in South Africa looks to be about 14 or 15. It's different.

Water - There, every formal settlement home is entitled to water (and power). The water there is potable by South African standards. But the standard varies.

CNN, TV, and radio (for the most part)- Same. Only difference is the quality of the reception. Both South Africa and the US lose here.

Gas Prices - Here high and we hear about it in the media. There, sold by the liter and high too.

Airplanes - During the week there, I saw two airplanes and one helicopter all week. We have some privledges here (that aren't too expensive).

Electric Tools (or anything not-man-powered) - Here, ironically, we want cordless tools. There, we would have been very grateful for a corded circular saw or electric concrete mixer.

A/C - Here, I don't want to say that it is needed, but it is appreciated. There, it was autumn, so I don't quite know how it might be come summer.

Supermarket - Here, we take a trip to Kroger for granted. There, chickens are sold plucked on the street. So are their feet.

Swingset - Here, many backyards have one. There, the church has one that was just painted.

Fridge - We have two. There, well, I don't remember seeing any in the houses.

That is all. Food for thought.

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