that perfect fog that silhouetted everyone and everything that first time around covered the morning once more today, as we headed for Ogade to watch the film with MamDlalisa, Danisile's Home Based Carer. white flowers adorn the crevices around her house, overlooking the flames and laundry and cattle tending that happens below, where all of the families she looks after live. she is truly a queen among them, and among the other Home Based Carers, being the first to publicly test for HIV, and then the rest followed suit.
so the queen's approval was granted, save for her only comment that maybe next time we could follow the story of someone who lived?
they all become my family, she said of the ARV support group she keeps together; and they become family to one another, a system of checks and balances that maintains the regimen required by this fussy medication.
we left after a meal of fresh zulu chicken and boiled bread; on to another screening with the few extended members of the Mlangeni family who wanted to view it. again, it went smoothly, without the overpowering emotions and fainting that we feared, and approval that it was a good, balanced representation of the situation. it was an enormous relief to get this feedback from both sides; in time, hopefully the daughters and sons will be ready to let us know their thoughts, too.
so the main mission to return is complete; in the meantime, we've been busy acting as the IT group of the area, setting up websites, shooting events and giving computer program advice, though we are still learning in these areas too...you can give what you can, when you can't give the money or time that you wish you could...
the weekend was spent hiking/strolling in the mountains with Cazie and the Moll family (who run the greatest hope of a hospice Philanjalo in Tugela Ferry), and Phum canoed for the first time in the pond near the picturesque house that they've spent the past decade or so building; turns out i'm not the only one who spent school breaks mixing concrete. sunday was a ride through the game reserve, my horse this time was named warrior, who proved himself to be one while cantering much faster than my usual favorite, muffin. Sarah shot giraffes with her super 8, and the rhino family we got a little too close to. then a birthday lunch for Carol at the waffle hut, and a visit to a pottery studio that showcases local HIV+ artists. animals grew out of spouts and handles, eating and chasing one another around the perimeters.
we also learned that certain members of the Bergville community have decided that i am a spy for the BBC, falsely reporting how all of the Blacks in SA are poor and the whites are rich. sarah was disappointed that she was not included in these charges. i've never felt so flattered.
we visit with Dani's family last before we head to Durban, where the mood will be more somber. Ntokozo cried at seeing us, releasing a torrent of sadness that all of us had been keeping in for these past two years, being the death that never had the closure that Ntombeleni's funeral had given us. it's been troubling me, what to say to her, when i know that she's thinking that we cannot possibly know how she feels. it's true, and it's all that i can say.