Appreciating the Important Things

By Hunter Craddock

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I just spent two days at a homestay in a village called Tshambuka. The homestay family didn’t have much to offer. For the accommodations two others from my group, a translator and myself stayed in a rhondoval. A rhondoval is a small round structure with a thatched roof, but it did have electricity which was unexpected. It was nice enough, but I can tell that I am getting older because we had a thin pad and a sleeping bag which I used to sleep great with. That’s not the case anymore, I woke up extremely sore. As far as the food goes, we ate a maize meal mixture called pap and some kind of vegetable concoction to dip it in. We ate the same thing for both lunch and dinner which gets surprisingly old after only two days. The crazy thing is that we had even better food than what they typically would have. We were given chicken with one meal and mopane worms for another; both of which are uncommon for them.  For us our stay seemed tough but for them that is their everyday life; and like I said we had it better than they typically do. For water our homestay was rather close to the water source which was a spicket about a hundred yards from the house. I helped to carry 25 liter containers to and from the spicket. I took two containers per trip and made three trips. And only filled one of the four barrels that they have beside the house which they have to keep as many full as possible. With these difficult lifestyles you would think that they are unhappy but that isn’t the case. Even with limited access to food and potable water, they still have a positive outlook on life. Our hosts were very welcoming an humble.

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Going to our next stop was a pretty big shock. At first I thought It was amazing. It was quite fancy and it was a lot to take in. I was excited our first night and the morning after but after the initial shock was over I found myself being more appreciative for the simple things rather than the extravagant luxuries. Having cold drinking water that didn’t taste weird an actual bed and hot showers were my favorite things that we had access to. The food diversity was also nice and I appreciated the fancy meals but I don’t feel like I needed that kind of extravagance. It was interesting to transition from eating quickly and quietly while sitting on the floor to eating at a huge table while having discussions for about 2 or 3 hours. In the game lodge meals were a social event to enjoy while in the village meals were just necessary to survive. The beautiful pools and architecture were great but essentially unnecessary. Coming from a place of poverty makes it difficult to see a purpose for a pool and expensive buildings. The same amount of money used to build the lodge would have been spent very differently by the village. The most important things are often not what we spend the majority of our money on and that can be applied to many people across the world including myself.

Natalie Miller