Journal Entry for June 5th
Today we awoke to a beautiful morning at the Malealea Lodge. After a nice breakfast of eggs, toast, bacon and granola we set off for a walk around the local village. We had four wonderful guides who explained everything to us. They told us about the different types of plants and their various uses, the significance of fireplaces, the culture of the sheep farmers and, of course, the locally brewed beer.
After our tour, we went to the cultural museum where we learned about the uses of animal hides, the different huts that people lived in and how they were built (lots of cow dung). We saw an example of a pastoral house where young herders live while they are raising the sheep. After our tour we drank some wonderful locally grown tea that helps stomachaches and colds.
Then we took a gorgeous walk over to the local government primary school. There are nine teachers that work there—seven fulltime teachers and two volunteers. Students do not pay tuition; they are only responsible for purchasing uniforms. Lunch is provided by the local community and students are given breakfast as well. The youngest students are six years old, but they have students as old as twenty. As long as one has a willingness and desire to learn, he or she is welcome. It was very interesting seeing this school after spending two weeks at Edendale.
In the afternoon, many of the students enjoyed riding horses on a three hour guided tour of the surrounding valleys and mountains. Along the way we saw a beautiful waterfall. All who embarked on the journey met the challenge of riding on the steep and rocky terrain and returned safely to camp. Before dinner, we were treated to musical performances by a local choir and band. Immediately after dinner we left the Malealea Lodge on our bus and drove through the night in order to reach Tsitsikamma National Park by morning.