After all my adventures abroad, I was back in Kuruman with several days to spare before the start of the new school term. I couldn't bring myself to return to my village quite yet. I needed a transition period. I needed a staycation.
So I booked at room at a guesthouse popular with several other PCVs and proceeded to explore my lovely little shopping town as a tourist for the very first time.
It turned out to be surprisingly pleasant. For a town of its size (or lack thereof) there are several things to see and do that are worth seeing and doing. The most famous, perhaps, is the Eye (or Die Oog as the locals would say). I think I've mentioned it here before, so I won't go into details, but a picnic at the Eye while watching the fish swim by is an autumn afternoon well spent. The admission fee is a mere 7 rand, and a nice grocery store is just steps away.
Another Kuruman attraction is the Moffat Mission. Anyone who knows their African history will recognize the place for several things. It was here, in 1829, that the first Bible was printed in Africa (in Setswana, of course) by the English missionary Robert Moffat. It was also here that David Livingstone was nursed back to health after being mauled by a lion, and then later married his nurse (a daughter of the Moffat's). The almond tree under which he proposed is still standing (kind of). I visited the mission for the first time another volunteer, J, and her friend T, who was visiting from America. J, who happens to also have been my seatmate on the flight to SA from DC, has visited the mission several times and was an excellent tour guide. The original house and church of the Moffats are both still standing, while the original printing press (still in occasional operation) is housed in a reproduction of a schoolroom from 1905.
On our way back from the Moffat Mission, J, T and I stopped at the Barrel, a restaurant none of us had ever tried before. While our server was a bit of an oddball, the food was delicious and the setting (at a garden nursery) delightful. The way the food was presented was also impressive. I had sprigs of lavender stuck artfully into my chicken, and fresh flowers adorned everyone's desserts. We spent the better part of the afternoon eating, drinking and chatting, while Rusty devoured a lamb bone beneath the table.
For those who are less historically inclined, and more Mall of America than Moffat Mission, Kuruman has The Cave. The Cave looks like a house on the outside, but rather convincingly like a cave on the inside. It is a shop that sells gems, mostly as jewelry, but also loose. It's definitely a unique shopping experience. I "caved" and bought a piece of hematite, pardon the pun.
Next week I'll be heading out to Pretoria for the trial, attempt number two. I'm not looking forward to all the traveling, nor the trial itself, but I'm meeting a friend in the city for a few days afterwards, and I'm very excited about that.
In other news, I was inspired by the last training event I attended to begin taking a daily multivitamin. Neil and David, the presenters and authors of Choices and Positive Living, declared that Centrum 50+ is far and away the best multivitamin on the market for people of any age, so that's what I'm taking... Or at least trying to take. The pills are elephant-sized! Maybe I'll get better...