We had an amazing holiday at the beach last week. Darin and I have been thinking back and this is the first holiday we can remember taking with just the 4 of us since we have lived in South Africa! It isn’t that we don’t love our parents and other people we have traveled with in the past, but there was something lovely about getting away with our little family for a good long while. We are glad to have good friends who were willing to house sit for us while we were away!
|One of our house-sitters, sleeping on the job|
This holiday was made possible thanks to the hardworking Darin Fey and an order of Village Water Filters he had to deliver to a World Vision office in Greytown, about an hour from the beach. So we hauled a trailer full of filters and buckets to Greytown, unloaded them, dropped off the trailer in Pietermaritzburg, made a quick stop to get groceries and then made our way to our holiday destination.
|Long car ride, but these two were great!|
|Beautiful sunrise the first morning|
We stayed at a condo in Zinkwazi. This is a small coastal town a bit north of Durban. The place we stayed at was great in size, location and design for our family. It was just down the street from a little grocery store and the kids enjoyed walking there on their own to buy sweeties and the occasional ice cream treat. It was also a quick car ride to the beach, which made traveling back and forth a couple times each day totally doable. Tyson and Jori could have each had their own room, but they chose to share. They watched movies together and played “the blanket game”, which involved one person being a ghost (under a blanket) and another person being buried (under blankets). I made a video of the blanket game at one point when they decided the plot would make an interesting movie. The condo was big enough that we all had space from each other and it was nice without being fancy; just right for us.
|A little drizzle doesn't hurt when you are already wet!|
We woke up Saturday morning to grey skies and no water in the house. Not an ideal start to a beach holiday, but we were ready to roll with it. It was a bit chilly, but the kids really wanted to go to the beach, so we headed out with our towels. Tys and Jori were quick to jump in the water, but were a bit shocked by the size of the waves. Darin asked a lifeguard if the sea was always so rough and was told that what we were seeing was actually quite calm…lovely. It then started to sprinkle, so we loaded up the car and headed to our home away from home. After chilling at home for a bit, we realized there still was no water in the pipes, so we headed back to the beach with a few containers to collect sea water for flushing toilets. Memory making at its finest! After we unloaded our take, we stopped to buy drinking water and then went out to dinner at a local restaurant. Everyone was tired, so day one ended kind of early.
|The couple that hauls water together, stays together|
|Winner, winner chicken dinner|
Sunday arrived and there was still no water. We now knew it was a municipal problem having to do with pumps at the water station and wasn’t likely to be solved quickly. Thankfully we had gathered enough rainwater to get clean. Rainwater bathing is something we are familiar with, so no big deal. It just felt nice to have shiny, non-greasy hair; just in time to head to the beach and get sandy. Today we took nets to try and catch critters in the tide pools. Jori ended up catching a fish in her hands and Tyson “caught” some old fishing line with a weight attached; quite the haul for our two adventurers. We wandered away from the tide pools and headed back to the lifeguard stands for more wave action. Today the kids were a bit braver, well at least Tyson was. He even managed to catch a few waves on a body board. Jori got tumbled around on her first body boarding attempt and did not feel like trying it again. They jumped and swam and splashed and tumbled round in the ocean for a couple hours until our tummies were hungry. We went back for some lunch and the kids headed out to buy ice cream. We played Yhatzee and Kings Corners together and I finished book #1. We headed back to the beach in the afternoon for more waterlogged fun. Then it was time to head home for some outdoor bathing. First a good rinse in some sea water, then a wash and rinse with rain water. After that, made taco salad for supper and watched movies until it was time for bed.
|Second place, no disgrace|
Then it was Monday. We started our day a bit later as the sky was a bit cloudy, but then we decided to head out. On our way to the beach, we stopped in at a local campground and they said we could use their ablution blocks to shower as they had a borehole and weren’t being affected by the municipal water issues. After finishing book #2, I finally braved the water because now I knew I could take a shower and get the sand off! My time in the ocean was short lived as I was not used to the power of the waves and ended up flailing around in 6 inches of water half laughing/half crying as I pleaded with Darin to help me up. He was 100% laughing and did not help. I finally crawled up the shoreline and decided to stay put. Darin stayed out for a bit longer and the kids ventured a bit farther out to sea with him. Then it started to feel a bit chilly, so we decided it was time to enjoy the promised showers! If you have ever been without water and not felt really clean for a few days, then you will know how amazing those showers were for our family. Lots of pressure, hot water, goodbye sea water and sand! We left feeling refreshed and ready for a fun evening in. There was a lot of Yhatzee playing as Jori continued to rack up the wins. The kids then played the blanket game while Darin and I made supper. After we ate, we planned to watch the BFG (Big Friendly Giant) together, but Darin and I both almost fell asleep and ended up letting the kids watch on their own. I started book #3 and Darin did Darin-y stuff on the computer.
Tuesday arrived bright and sunny; the first bright and sunny morning since we arrived. We started the day at the beach. Today both kids were brave enough to go out past the breaking waves. The day was sunnier than we were used to, but also windier. Having sand blowing into the side of your face isn’t so awesome. I spent a lot of time with a towel over my head, but the kids weren’t affected by it at all. We stuck it out for as long as we could, and then decided to pack up and shower. Unfortunately, the awesome experience from Monday was not to be repeated. The campground must have been having issues with their borehole as there wasn’t enough pressure to take a shower and the only water we could use to bathe was the water that was already in the pipes. We made the best of the situation and then headed home for lunch. Then it was time for Tyson to have his fishing adventure! We brought fishing poles along and it was now the last day of our holiday and the time had come to use them. We stopped and bought prawn tails to use as bait, then walked back to the lifeguard stand, but instead of heading into the ocean, we headed to the lagoon. Tyson and Jori both fished, but neither of them had any luck making a catch. I was most impressed with Darin’s skills at baiting a hook and casting the line. I didn’t know he had enough fishing experience to pass on info to our kids! The wind had died down by now, but the sun was very hot and the fish just were not biting so we headed back to the house again. Imagine our great joy when we checked the outside tap and water came out! We headed inside and tried the shower and BOOM, more water. Jori and I had hair appointments scheduled at the salon that was conveniently located right across the street from where we were staying, so I was glad I could get the sand out of my hair and ears. My girl and I went and had our haircut (so happy with both of our results) and then after a few rounds of cards, we told the kids they could go swimming one last time. We ordered wood-fire baked pizza from a shack on the beach (if we had eaten here earlier in our trip, we would have had pizza daily…) and the kids played in the waves together. Me and my honey smooched for a bit and then we all went home, filled our bellies and watched movies. We are a family that likes our routines!
|She preferred collecting little snails|
|My main man|
|Loving our new looks|
|One last swim|
|Makes my heart melt|
Wednesday morning we woke up bright and early. Most of the packing had happened the day before, so all that was left was loading up the car. Then we finished whatever random food we could find for breakfast and headed out. Remember the filters we delivered on the way out to our holiday? Today was distribution day for those filters so before heading home, we had to make a quick stop so that Darin could demonstrate how to use the filter and show the community how to assemble the filter/bucket combo. This quick stop ended up lasting for 2 hours, but it was really neat seeing a community so different from any of the ones near us. This was more of a village, the homes were spread out, and we saw more rondavels (round huts) than tin shacks and no RDP (government cookie cutter type) houses. There were cows and goats all over and lots of kids and mamas and grannies. It was super green and lush and really beautiful. Darin did an amazing job and with gratitude from all, we got back in the car and headed out to find bathrooms and food! After lunch at KFC in Greytown, we were really on our way. Darin thought we were taking the same route that we had on our way out, but we ended up on a road that was magical. The scenery was beautiful; all the little villages we passed with their brightly colored rondavels were just lovely; we saw so many herds of cows and goats and groups of donkeys by the side of the road. It was like nothing we have seen since arriving in South Africa.
|Tyson playing simon says|
|Seriously, so impressed with my man|
|On our way for real!|
We didn’t hit traffic and made it home around 7. Amo’s family was waiting for us and after chatting with them a bit, Darin took them back home. We had stopped for supper and everyone was pretty tired from a long day of driving. The kids went to bed by 8:30 and we weren’t too far behind them. The rest of the week was full of grocery shopping and trying to sort donations and visiting with friends.
A lot of people were feeling sorry for us with the whole water situation on our holiday, but as you can tell, not having water didn’t equal not having fun. Our time here in Africa has taught us to be a lot calmer and more relaxed in situations like we experienced. There are some things that are just out of our control and we can moan, and often choose to moan, or we can just keep enjoying the goodness of each day. We know so many people who daily struggle with water, and they aren’t struggling on a beach, enjoying pizza and dinners out. I hope that no matter where life takes us in the future our family will all continue to keep things in perspective. Most times the things that feel like a real train smash are merely tiny bumps in an otherwise very smooth road.