Saturday, July 4, 2015

Do you know how hard it is to get out of a warm bed on a cold morning?

But breakfast is at 8:30, so you have to get up sometime.

We have an appointment at 10 am to get a guided tour of the historic area from Dr. Isaac Balie, recently retired after 50 years as curator of the museum here and the world’s leading authority on Genadendal. Incidentally, his daughter graduated from BJU a few years ago. He takes us through the museum, which is a designated national treasure of South Africa, and tells us the story of the work at Genadendal. It was founded by a Moravian missionary to the Khoi (“Hottentots”) in the mid 1700s. The story is inspiring, and being there make it seem all the more alive.

Dr. Balie and his wife feed us lunch (hot soup!) and send us off with warm wishes and smiles all around. The visit is a reminder of the breadth of God’s work in the world and the certainty of its success.

Providence.

And on the Fourth of July, far from home.

On the way back to the house, it’s not far out of the way to pop down to Hermanus, a city on the coast most famous for regular seasonal visits from right whales. This isn’t whale season, but it’s still a town worth seeing. So the team peels off from the rest of the group—Jason and Salvin are riding with us as well—and heads south.

We find a place to park out by the Esplanade and take a walking tour of the rocky waterfront, eventually clambering well out onto the rocks to get as close to the surging waves as possible. We seem to like this sort of thing; everybody clambers, and nobody questions the obvious goal of getting way, way out there.

We’d like to stop by the Strand on the way back, and before dark, obviously, so we head out again. Over the pass, with a wave to the now-well-fed baboons, and down into Gordon’s Bay, at the east end of the beach. We run out onto the beach and, to prove we’re tourists, into the water.

The Capetonians actually have a saying: “How do you spot the tourists in Cape Town? They’re the ones running into the water.” Sure, it’s winter, but it’s July, for crying out loud. You ought to run into the water.

After sunset, we find a place to eat—fish and chips, natch—and then drive the hour or so home. Once again, we’re tired, but filled with the experiences of the day. When we arrive, there’s a note on the table from Linda, our hostess. She’s placed in the fridge a plate of koeksisters, a popular (and very sweet) South African pastry, with a small American flag planted in the center. Happy Fourth, she writes.

Thank you, Linda. Class act.

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Dan Olinger

Chair, Division of Bible in the BJU School of Religion.

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