Our ultimate goal on this road trip was to reach Coffee bay. The only thing we kept hearing is Coffee Bay is amazing, unsure of what we were to expect we drove open minded to one of the best surfing spot in the world.
The further we drove to the east coast of South Africa the worse the roads became. Pot holes, sheep, cows and people were casually everywhere on the streets. There were times that a cow would just decide to walk across the street with no warning and each car would have to stop immediately. As we made our way closer to Coffee Bay we were leaving the normal way of life, just by watching how many people walked for hours to a small 3 store town. The houses along the road started to form villages painted with bright florescent colors.
I had an opportunity to hang out in one of the villages with a local drummer. The name of the town translated to “Look Out” because tourists visit because of the colorful houses.
I do not have any pictures of this portion of my trip because these are just average people living their lives. Many companies take people on tours and watch the locals in their village like a human zoo. This is not fair to the people because they are merely living life. While walking to the village, I ask Zuko how he felt when people would take pictures of him or his family. His simple response was, “Why don’t people just ask to take my picture instead of being a paparazzi?”
As we continued the journey one hill away which was a SHORT walk of thirty minutes. We came to the top of the hill where everyone in the community was, ranging from the oldest to the youngest running around dancing to music and enjoying each other’s presence. We came to a circle of about 10 guys who were sitting on a plastic cartons, surrounding about three large beers, just enjoying a chat about life. We walked around the village and saw where his whole family lived: aunts, uncles, brothers, and sisters. His entire family stayed in the same area together. My misconception when I first saw the clay houses was a vision of uneven floors, simple furniture and humble surroundings. To my surprise his grandfather’s house had marble counter tops, beautiful floors, a gorgeous dining room set and a flat screen TV, with many rooms inside. There was electricity and running water inside each hut that was hand made by the owner.
Many people from the city depict people that live in the village as the most dangerous, and scary people you will ever meet. Every single person we walked said, “Molo, Unjani?” (Hello, how are you?) Then would follow with “Umhle Kakhulu,” (You are beautiful.) The respect level for the elders was high and their words were treated as valuable. I was greeted with cool drinks and a Xhosa lunch, Samp n beans, that everyone in the village eats, which was extremely good. The family bond is extremely strong. Although the sense of community was powerful, there were the inherent issues. It was 2 o clock in the afternoon and almost every adult was not working, they sat around, drank, and talked all day. No one ever wanted to leave the village. This village was their home and no one could take that away from them. There were things that needed to be fixed and not being addressed.
The one thing I have taken out of being in Coffee Bay is happiness comes from within, money can solve problems, but in the end its internal happiness. This village in Coffee Bay has stolen my heart and I will return. I do not know when, but I will accomplish this task. Zuko and Akhona have promised me a spot of land to build my colorful hut.
I will be posting more blogs and stories shortly. I was limited on my wifi due to the areas we were in.
Until Next time Coffee Bay,