June 20, 2007

Finding out about Mthatha

I've never been to Mthatha before (or South Africa for that matter) so I've been doing my best to find out what I can from afar about the community I'm moving to.

Lonely Planet has this to say:

Chaotic Mthatha might come as a shock to your system. It's a scruffy, lively place with a fearsome but probably exaggerated reputation for crime.
Then I found a traveler's blog entry:
We miss the turn off for the Holiday Inn and ride through downtown Mthatha. I can only describe the scene as chaos as traffic and pedestrians intermingle through the streets. I was surprised chickens and goats weren’t part of the mix.
And another one:
There were piles of trash on many corners of the town, and the whole place appeared dirty and rundown. The place has a reputation for crime; the people at our hotel (the Windsor) were surprised to see whites there.
Can't wait to get there and find out for myself.

June 19, 2007


One of the things about moving overseas is that there are a ton of logistical matters to take care of, like making sure you have plane tickets, the right power adapters, the right shots, and so on and so forth. In fact, the list can get so long and overwhelming at times, it's easy to lose focus on what you're doing and why you're doing it and think only about what needs to happen for you to actually get where you're going.

It is in that spirit that I felt remarkably blessed yesterday when I called the Public Health Department in town to see about my vaccinations. They told me I should come right over (when has that ever happened with anything medical related?), we could look at the recommendations for South Africa, look at my record, and get me squared away.

So I went on over and had a great and re-assuring conversation about what I needed, got a few shots (I was mostly up-to-date), and was (relatively) quickly on my way. I still need a few more vaccinations, like yellow fever, that I don't need for South Africa and can't get in Nome but want to get anyway just to keep the option of traveling open.

Rarin' to Go

I've just returned from two weeks of mission training in New York City (Staten Island, actually) and am ready and rarin' to go. I am moving to Mthatha, South Africa in August and will be working at a medical clinic that serves the community of Itipini. I'm going as a missionary of the Episcopal Church through the Young Adult Service Corps program.
You can learn more about Itipini (and see more pictures) from this photo essay.

I intend to use this blog to post reflections and stories from my experience in Mthatha. Please, come back and check it out.