Thursday, 16 May 2013

Happiness at the Happy Hippo - Thursday


After leaving Mr Dlamini's house this morning we drove the three hours to Durban to get ready for our workshops tomorrow and Saturday. Today we knew we had a little down time before starting again tomorrow and so the students were looking to some time on their own - and to be really honest so were Matt and I.

We stopped off twice along the way looking for Durban's speciality dish Bunny Chow - spicy curry served in a a scooped out loaf of bread. Marius, Lu's husband, later told me it came from India where the workers would take their curry in bread as they didn't have bowls and they could pack it all together for a day of work. There is a very large Indian population, the largest in the world outside of India. 

Alas, our two stops along the way provided no bunny chow, only a petrol station, a diner, KFC, Nando's and Wimpy. We agreed we could eat that anytime so we ventured forth.

When we arrived at the Happy Hippo the students were really thrilled with their new accommodation. No less than 4 showers! And a really cool communal section where people can cook, eat, talk, work and relax. This is a great place to end the trip.

As we all got settled we ordered take-out Bunny Chow and it went down pretty well. The combination of bread and curry was hugely filling but not much was left over. Matt looked particularly happy as we sat eating bunny chow in the rooftop sunshine. 

Afterwards the students went for a walk to the beach. We took them through the nearby sealift centre to the beautiful sand and blue water. As the students dispersed Matt and I paddled through the water and looked back at the coastline. This is clearly the place for tourists. Lots of the architecture and atmosphere is very much like Brighton, Blackpool or Tynemouth - a place promising glitz and glamour and a forgotten past where it was more popular. But in amongst it all lots of closed shops, half finished and derelict buildings. As well as new, more commercial sites boasting fast food and chain restaurants. This is really different to everything we've experienced on this trip before. 

Although lovely it does lack the certain 'human charm' of Amawushe or Maghabeni. There's something quite unsettling about indulging in some of the things the children we left behind cannot have. Of course, this is also a chance to let off steam after an intense few days - no-one begrudges the indulgence. But occasionally we remember those people. I think I preferred it there. 

Matt and I met with Lu and Marius to talk about the day. We have such exciting things planned for the last part of our trip and the students will get to perform their forum pieces about cultural differences and forum the work. I know this is Matt's particular passion and I'm looking forward to see what the students have come up with. We're also going to a Jazz festival (Ben will be jealous), watching a dress rehearsal of a play in Durban and meeting academics from the local universities who work particularly in theatre for development. This is all as well as the students great work. 

Tonight, we dine. All together. Ready for an early morning and a new challenge and completely new experience. 

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