Flooding in Venice

In the bus to Piazzale Roma I saw people carrying plastic bags with rubber boots. I decided to buy a pair as soon as I arrived. They were not cheap.

But necessary they were. The water started immediately. Walking through water is slow, and everything in Venice seems to be in some kind of slow motion at the moment. Tourists wonder: Do I dare to take this street? Venetians are trying to keep the water out of their houses and shops, with little to no success.

The difference between canal and walkway is gone. The best is to just accept that you will get wet. You will get wet if you don’t have boots. You will get wet if your boots do not reach over your knees. Even Banksy’s graffiti of a migrant is getting wet.

Life goes on in Venice. You can still buy fish on the Campo Santa Margherita, and some bars and shops are open even though there is about 20 cm water inside. The question is whether flooding like this will be a normal part of life in Venice…

Sterkfontein caves

40% of all fossil finds of hominids come from a relatively small area 60kms from where we live. It has become known as the Cradle of Humankind. Today we visited the Sterkfontein Cave in this region. Under an unassuming hill we found an impressive network of deep and roomy caves. At the end of the 19th century, these caves were mined for limestone. This limestone, made into quicklime, was used in the goldmines on the Witwatersrand. In the 1930s, the first Australopithicus (literally Southern Apeman) were found. The excavations continue until this day, and up until now some 500 hominids have been found. The hominids did not use the caves to live in. The most complete skeleton seems to have been from a boy who fell into the caves through a crack – but I’ve not been able to find whether all of them came into the caves in this way…

The Good Shepherd

On the Lesotho side of the Sani Pass, there is a small Pentecostal church. Siphiwe, the pastor, showed us a traditional homestead and how to wear the traditional Lesotho blankets His wife had prepared some delicious bread in a pan on a cow dung fire. The church was not officially part of this cultural expierence, but we were allowed to look inside as well. Inside we found Siphiwe’s wife washing clothes – the church doubles as the pastor’s house and living room. On the wall there was this mural of a shepherd carrying a sheep. Most of the congregation consists of shepherds who come to the Sani Pass area in summer to graze their sheep. This image of the Good Shepherd clearly touched them. I think it’s a really strong, contextual image of the Gospel!