At the start of the second semester, a blessing for me was getting to know two of the cooks at Rocky Valley Retreat Centre in South Africa. We spent an evening together discussing the Bible, sharing pictures of our families, and teaching each other greeting phrases in Zulu, French, and Samoan. After several hours of bonding—which was jam packed with laughter—we decided to climb the nearby “Prayer Mountain” together the following evening. Both Sindy and Nazzy, the camp cooks, had been working at the centre for four years but had never had the motivation or the time to hike to the top; they were full of excitement!
We packed our gear and set off for the mountain. Both Sindy and Nazzy made jokes the entire time and we toughed through the climb quickly, laughing a lot on the way up. Once we were at the top, Nazzy and Sindy stood amazed at the view before them. Before long, the two women suggested we teach each other songs in our respective languages while still up there. The five of us Canadians chose to teach them a tune from Sunday school:
“Our God is an awesome God
From heaven above
With wisdom, power and love
Our God is an awesome God”
After several repeats, we were all singing in unison and, if I do say so myself, we made beautiful music! Then Nazzy took the lead in teaching us a song in Zulu, which was hauntingly beautiful. One by one, she made us lead the song, which definitely pushed some of us out of our comfort zones. We ended the night off with a South African English song that we all caught on to rather quickly. It was a magical night!
These two ladies impacted my time in South Africa. Their patience for everyday chores, their willingness to serve each other and us, and their desire to know more about biblical truths was beautiful to witness. It gave me insight into what I’ve gotten myself into with Outtatown South Africa. They both inspired me to continuously look at the positive side of every situation, and to look forward to more new beginnings in my life.
Both Sindy and Nazzy will be in my thoughts and prayers and I look forward to seeing them again later in the semester. They have requested we teach them how to swim next time… one more adventure that God will bless us with! Nazzy assured me on our last day that she’d also pray for us and that she knows full well that God answers her prayers!
Siyajabula ukuba lapha
(We are happy to be here)
– Hannah McNeilly, South Africa student, 2017-18