Road Trip to Ramatjowe

Paula doing some documentation

Since Doug and the other men of the Mission left for Mozambique to do leadership training, I decided this would be a perfect time to visit my friend Paula Priebe and see the work she does as a Peace Corps volunteer. Paula spends her week in the village of Ramatjowe, then returns to Polokwane on the weekends where we attend the same church.

Paula outside the DwarsRiver Center

I asked fellow missionary Hannah Anderson to come along. I knew she would enjoy seeing another village just as much as I would. I also wanted someone with me because this was my first time driving out of town. Ramatjowe is a forty-five minute drive from Polokwane on the highway.

Magazine strips make the beads for the necklaces

Our first stop was at the DwarsRiver Center. Here we found the director making necklaces with another one of the ladies. Paula taught them how to make these out of magazine pages. They look like a real bead. No one would know that it was from a magazine. The ladies sell these and the money gets put back into the center for needed items.

Paula has also taught them the art of sewing. They make aprons and dresses that are also for sale. The center provides meals and educational programs for the orphans and needy children in the area.

Paula modeling one of the aprons

Here I also learned of the Mother Bear Project which provides knitted or crocheted bears for children affected by HIV/AIDS. All my knitting/crocheting friends be sure to check out their website as to how you or a group can be involved.

We then traveled by taxi to the shopping complex in town. I always wanted to ride one of the taxis here but must admit it wasn’t quite as exciting as I thought. The taxis have quite a reputation in South Africa. They go too fast and think they own the road by stopping and pulling out whenever they choose. Actually they are the cause of many of the fatalities on the roads here. Why did I want to ride one? They are part of the culture and I wanted to experience it just once.

Paula picked up some things at Pick ‘N Pay. I grabbed a cinnamon roll from the Butterfield Bakery. We all headed to a chicken and chips stand. This was the first time I ate at an off-road stand where the locals cook the food. It was very tasty.

Chicken & Chips fresh off the grill
Ready to eat!
 We returned to the village by taxi. Paula then took us to another center that she helps oversee. The Bakgalava Center has a feeding program for older children and also offers educational programs for them.
Hannah and I with the staff of the Bakgalava Center

We had a great visit and enjoyed seeing all that Paula through the Peace Corp is doing.  She returns to the states in March. We will miss her!

4 thoughts on “Road Trip to Ramatjowe”

  1. I have heard about those necklaces. There was a site (I remember from ages ago!) that let you order these necklaces to help support certain women in Africa. I thought it was such a good idea at the time, but when my computer broke and I had to replace it I lost all the info. You could purchase them direct online.
    Looks like you had a very interesting time!

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