So am half way into my first week of work... but let me back up.
The workshop last week ended up well, and Friday, after an afternoon at the office trying to get my computer set up and get a few little admin things done, I moved into my new place in the neighbourhood of Greenside, about 20 mins from work. (I don't have the mailing address here right now--- will post it next time) I am staying in a little cottage at the back of a house, where there are 4 other housemates, including the landlord. It is a place that half of the CIVICUS staff has stayed at at one time or another. So lots of past tenants pop by for visits. I will be posting pics of my little cottage on facebook soon. It is adequate--- small, but comfortable and safe. I am lucky to be able to hitch rides with Karina, another CIVICUS staff member at the house, to and from work most days, and grab a taxi otherwise. I will stay there for now anyway, but will be looking to move somewhere else in a few months I imagine.
Part of my reason for wanting to move on eventually is that on Saturday there was a MASSIVE thunder storm, 40% of which ended up on my floor.... not the most rain-proof of roofs. But I went over to the main house and hung out wiith the posse there, we made some dinner, etc... Was nice. Also on Saturday, Michael, the landlord, took me to a grocery store and shopping centre to get some basics, including a phone! Yahoooo! So I have a cell now, in case anyone needs to contact me via phone. The number is: 078 047 0452
Monday was my first official full day of work at the office, and things have been nutsy busy all week!! So many planning meetings, getting caught up with the org as a whole, as well as team building and strategic planning as a CSI team. We are basically starting from scratch in this new phase of implementation, which is both exciting and stressful. But it is great to be able to put your mark on the upcoming processes, and I am so far loving the creativity, independence and variety of the work. Awesome!
Monday night was a surreal night. After work, some people in the office were going to a solidarity night to support the hostages taken in Colombia, and I decided to go with one of my housemates, Yozi (who is part colombian). So we tagged a ride with some other people, and ended up in the middle of Soweto, in what looked like a very sketchy part of a generally sketchy town, at a run-down youth centre. We were all a little confused and a little nervous, to be honest, but in the end it turned out to be an amazing evening. We walked into the dilapidated building, crawling with kids, and lit up a map of colombia traced on the ground with 700 candles, one for each of the hostages. Then the Colombian ambassador came (!) and there were some readings and poetry. Then the music started, and there was this crazy fusion of colombian guitar and south african drums---- wow. And then the kids started singing and dancing--- the boys did this amazing dance---- they all put big rubber boots on, and I didn't know what was going on. And then they started this coordinated dance of slaps of the boot and stomping and clapping---- it was incredible, especially in that small room. Blue man group could learn a thing or two. I learned later that this is an old form of dance that people used to use in the mines to relay messages back and forth, hence the rubber boots. But it was really cool, and I was so excited and thankful to have been there. And when we went back to the car, the tires were still on it--- bonus! :)
So things are moving along, I am slowly getting to know the city (via others... no car yet. Will be a few weeks yet i imagine), getting to know people, getting settled into work and generally getting my life here underway. Will be looking into choirs and the like, hoping to get a book club started, looking into a hiking club i read about, etc... But so far i am really enjoying everything. There are these pockets of stress, these pockets of intense specialness, moments of intense peace, moments of panic.... this is definately a place of extremes, from what I have seen thus far. But I am really enjoying it. I have heard that Joburg is one of those cities you either love or hate, and i have a feeling I am going to be one of those people who love it.