Day 16

Yesterday, I failed to mention that we were surprised in the morning with a new driver. I’d like to give a sizeable shout out to our OG driver, Luvo, for his positivity, punctuality, and 10/10 driving skills. This morning, our new driver showed up 50 minutes late (imagine the extra sleep!!!!). So late, in fact, that I told myself if he didn’t arrive by 8, I. was going to take the day off. Well, this man rolled up at exactly 7:59 so I guess that was my bad karma for the day.

Similar to yesterday, today was also pretty standard. The four interns did lots of the paperwork but some of the nurses on the non-paperwork-friendly staff were watching over our shoulders looking for any mistakes. They ended up sitting with us and watching our every move but were “too tired to write”. This suited me just fine because we got to talk to and hang out with them. Their favorite activity was getting us to call out the folder names for new mothers, trying to pronounce them correctly. Most of the time, we absolutely butchered the Mbuntus, Fundiswas, and Nkululekos but finessed the occasional Amanda or Olivia. One of the nurses took the opportunity to let me know that her middle name is Grace but she absolutely hates it, asking her mother to give her a different name instead. Now she just refers to me as “my name”: “My name, are you going to tea?” or “Good morning, my name!”

As if the 50 minutes this morning wasn’t enough, driver #2 showed up 30 minutes late to pick us up from the clinic this afternoon. Yikes. Once we got back, Maci, Nikki, and I decided on a sunset cruise at the Waterfront. Instead of Ubering, I decided to walk the 2.5 miles through downtown Cape Town and that was, indeed, an endeavor. Lots of checking behind my shoulders and walking at a brisk pace.

We arrived at 4:59 and ran onto the dock to be met with many sales reps trying to get us to go on their boat. We jumped on the first one we saw (only R 300 or $22.37) and set out for the Atlantic. We were aboard a huge catamaran with only one other family. The crew guided us out to the trampolines in the front of the boat and we stretched out, blankets and cider (included) in hand. As the sun began to set, the crew came around with champagne (also included) and we watched the sunset over the horizon in style.

Upon return to the waterfront (~90 minutes later), we ate at Servuga, a taste of international cuisine right on the water. Since we came before 7, all of their sushi was half off, so we ordered a few table-size platters to share for only about $9 each. I’ll never stop being astonished at the low prices we’ve found here. Same as literally every other restaurant I’ve been to, 10/10 would recommend if you’re down at the V&A Waterfront.

A few hours later and it’s now time to “cruise for a snooze” as my roommate, Tess, would say. Xhosa word of the day is “sunset”: kwelanga.

Day 15

It’s crazy that I’ve been here long enough to say this, but today was a pretty normal day in the clinic. Since mothers are required to bring their babies in every other day until they are over 2.5 kg, their cord is off, and they’re over 5 days old, Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays are very busy. Tuesdays and Thursdays are slower, especiallywhen it’s raining so today was pretty empty. In the meantime, Nikki and Maci did a lot of reading and I wrote a lot of postcards. As a side note, I have SO MANY postcards if you would like one please let me know and I’ll send one. Warning: takes 10 business days to get to the USA so no return letter needed.

We took our lunch break around noon and ended up having a 2-hour conversation about sororities at each of our respective schools (Skylar and Madison: Mercer, Nikki: UT Austin, Maci: Oklahoma State, Me: UVA). Interesting content. We returned to the labor ward desperately hoping for a birth but, alas, there were no mothers ready to push.

Upon return from work, the afternoon was pretty standard: gym, hanging out with roommates, etc. For dinner, I went to The Codfather in Camps Bay with some friends. This place not only has a sushi conveyor belt that you can choose from but also has a huge case of fish where you choose your cut, how it’s cooked, sides, etc. We all split some edamame, tuna rolls, seared tuna, and kingklip and WOW it was all fantastic! This is a pretty notable restaurant in all of Cape Town so I don’t need to promote it too much but would definitely recommend that any seafood fan check this place out.

After dinner, we met up with some of the UVA people here with iXperience (all staying in Camps Bay) to attend a Tuesday karaoke night. We watched some older men (minority demographic) conquer Ice Ice Baby, Total Eclipse of the Heart, and Country Roads before deciding it was time to head out. Tired and ready for sleep, I now sit here writing this post! Xhosa word of the day is “postcard”: lokuposa.