There are many things about South Africa that I wasn’t expecting that I thought it would be interesting to share with you, as was suggested by my fellow PCT, Lindsey. I plan to continue to add to this post throughout my service here.
Fun Fact #1:You can buy shoe polish pretty much anywhere.
If I want cheese, meat, or clothing, I more or less have to go all the way into Mokopane, which is about a 20 minute taxi ride. If I wanted shoe polish however, I could purchase it pretty much anywhere. Every tiny little shop here seems to sell it, which makes sense when you consider the way you dress here is a sign of respect and South Africans seem to feel it is very important to have shined shoes. You may live in a house without running water or a toilet, but you can still walk to your closest tuck shop and buy Kiwi Brand shoe polish. Tuck shops range in size from the teeny tiny one right next to my house that sells cold drink (soda), snacks, and oil from behind a counter with only enough room for 1-2 people to the large one that’s about a five minute walk from my house where I can wander and purchase such necessities as margarine, airtime, bread, shampoo, etc.
Fun Fact #2: You can also purchase crunchy cheetos almost anywhere.
They aren’t name brand, but I would argue that they are more delicious and they are definitely available in some interesting flavors ranging from regular cheese to tomato sauce to hot chili. The best part/worst part for our health? They only cost R0.50 – the equivalent of $0.05.
Fun Fact #3: People here eat chicken bones.
I don’t mean they crack them open and suck out the marrow, I mean they actually chew, crunch up, and swallow the bones of chickens. They also eat chicken intestines, feet, and heads. Today, my language group purchased, killed, cleaned, and cooked a chicken using a fire outside. I did not partake in eating the organs, feet, bones, or head, but I heard they were delicious.