Monday, June 20, 2011

South African Style

Last night we had dinner South African style. Jeremy's dad's boss always hires guys from South Africa every year to help with the summer farming and harvest. We had the absolute pleasure of meeting Buzz last night. And he cooked us a traditional South African dish - more on that in a minute.

I was very very interested to meet Buzz and hear more about South Africa since I have a cousin who has been there for the last year doing some missionary work. South Africa is a very volatile state right now. Buzz told us that if/when Nelson Mandela dies, the whole country will be in chaos. According to Buzz, the country is 70% black and 30% white. His dad owned a farm for 47 years and employed several black men and their families. They were treated well, given brick housing, and meals, etc. The children of the men would grow up to work on the farm as well. The families cried when his dad sold the farm several years ago. The reason he sold it was because there has been an uprising in deaths of white farmers. A neighbor 3 miles away and his wife were murdered years ago and that really bothered his dad. Buzz said that there is a group called "Adolph Youth" and it's just as it sounds. They are training black youth to hate white people, especially white farmers. They feel they are entitled to the land and want to "take" it back - not buy the land to farm. And I won't go into great detail, but the deaths are not humane. They are very brutal, tragic deaths. Buzz says there is no law and order there. They have the law enforcement entities, but they are most likely being paid off by other organizations to not enforce the law.

I was telling him about Christine and how she was living in Carolina and her host family moved to Swaziland. He got a little nervous and asked how much longer she would be there. That made me nervous. He didn't think she had too much to worry about, but he said Swaziland was a very rural area. People live in huts, etc. He didn't talk too much about Swaziland.

He made it sound like the white man is on the very bottom of the totem pole as far as jobs go in South Africa. Buzz has a job waiting for him when he goes back, but that's the reason he has been here for eight months - jobs for white men are almost nonexistent.

Honestly, while all of this fascinated me, it made me very very heavy hearted to hear of all the racism and crime and murder and stealing and lack of justice (not to mention the military) that are happening in that country. Of course, Buzz says he will stay and defend his family (girlfriend and 16 month old daughter) to the death. Literally. Twice, their house has been completely emptied - clothes, beds, shoes - everything. A passerby would tell him that all their things were four blocks away at a home around the corner. They called the police, but have never heard back from them, nor have they ever gotten their things back. If he confronted the people that live at the house four blocks away, around the corner, he would most certainly be killed. It was, to say the least, a night of memorable conversation and truly a humbling experience.

So. Onto dinner. Buzz (whose real name is Gerrit, pronounced hherrrritt) made us a traditional South African dish called potjie (pronounced poit-key). It was made in a cast iron dutch oven outside over coals. I believe he started at 10 or 11 and we finally sat down to eat at 9:00. A long process. It is made with authentic South African spices and Indian curry that he brought with him (illegally) and lots of veggies. Carrots, brussel sprouts, mushrooms, potatoes, squash and zucchini. And sheep. Yep. He used a leg and the neck. It. Was. Amazing! It was soo good.

I was a little apprehensive at first. Only because we had lamb chops for Christmas a few years ago and they were NOT good. But this... This was amazing!

We have an open invitation to go visit him in South Africa. He said that if we don't come visit, he will find us and drag us down there. He also said that if Jeremy's dad flew down to South Africa, he would get married to his girlfriend that very day.

Buzz was enamored with Gemma. She reminded him of his little girl Teegan (sp?) and how much he missed her after 8 months of being gone! She was in full cheese mode too!