I was greeted in Nelspruit, South Africa by two gentlemen (John and Spencer) holding up a sign with my name on it. They are both from the Christian university where I had arranged to stay for the next week. We swapped stories during the jeep ride into town. John is engaged to a girl in Washington and will be moving there to be the Missions Coordinator at a church. Spencer, his wife and two kids, used to live in India and have come back to South Africa to work at the university. Since I will be preparing my own breakfast and lunch while here, we stopped at a grocery store on the way to the campus. It’s always interesting to see another country’s local foods. Once we arrived in Whitewater, Spencer informed me that the jeep is mine to use for the week. I don’t think he knows my driving record! Add to that a stick shift and driving on the left side of the road… Ya, I’m going to try to avoid driving!
Eben, an intern on campus, helped me get settled in and went over a possible itinerary for the week. He is moving to India in January to be a Youth Pastor and get his masters degree in political science. He arranged so many awesome activities and outreaches for me to be involved with. I can’t wait to share them all! He also informed me to keep my windows closed because monkeys will wreck my room if I leave them open during the day. Then before bidding me goodnight, he also warned me to watch out for snakes. “Snakes!?!? What kind of snakes?” I said while trying to remain calm. He replied casually, “Black mambas and cobras. We are in the bush . If you see them on the path just get out of their way.” He told me about a couple of run-ins with spitting cobras as if it was no big deal. With that said, I got ready for bed, sprayed my whole room with bug spray (as if that keeps snakes away), and soaked my cankles.