On the Fly: When Plans Go Awry | Kids VT | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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On the Fly: When Plans Go Awry 

Published November 21, 2014 at 10:42 a.m.

click to enlarge Staying in a rondavel, a traditional Xhosa thatched-roof round hut made from mud.
  • Staying in a rondavel, a traditional Xhosa thatched-roof round hut made from mud.

The fog surrounded us as we drove. Adam and I leaned our faces close to the windscreen, trying to see a few feet in front of us, making sure we didn’t run over a cow, a herd of goats or a person walking in the road.

We had been driving for hours through the Transkei, the rural part of South Africa's Eastern Cape, past the Xhosa village Qunu where Nelson Mandela grew up. This was our last week in this country. We wanted to show the girls more of South Africa than just Eurocentric Cape Town.

As usual, we hadn’t fully read the directions to our destination: an eco-village run by the local Xhosa community. And we underestimated how bad the weather was when we started off.

We were still on a high from the last few days. We'd stayed in a rondavel – a traditional Xhosa thatched-roof round hut made from mud. We'd seen elephants and zebras and other African animals on safari. We'd toured Robben Island and the black townships, and seen intense poverty in squatter camps with shacks made from corrugated iron. We'd watched  a dance performance at a local theatre, visited beautiful beaches and seen sunsets in posh neighborhoods. We'd hiked Table Mountain, walked through picturesque Afrikaans towns and swum with African penguins. We had spent time with friends and family of all races and backgrounds. Now it was time to get out of the city and see the countryside.

This article was originally published in Seven Days' monthly parenting magazine, Kids VT.

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