Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Postcards from Africa: Wednesday, June 28

We were up at 7:45 a.m. today and left the hotel for Soweto at 9:00 a.m. Just before we got to Soweto, we picked up our tour guide for the day. He was born in Soweto and still lives there today. Our first stop was at a street side marketplace where we got off the bus to greet the locals. It was a little scary since it was completely out of our element. There were several men and women burning roots and practicing witchcraft. No one recognizes Coach Dungy or Derrick or understands what the Buccaneers are.

Very few residents in Soweto have phones or televisions, although they do understand the TV cameras with us. Everyone is very friendly and welcomes pictures being taken, although one man asked for Coach's camera after he posed with him. He was willing to trade for it, but I don't think he had anything Coach wanted.

Our next stop was just at the top of a bridge overlooking a squatters' camp. This was one of the most depressing sights so far...little huts made of whatever was available side by side for about one to two square miles. As we looked down on the camp and took photos, the little kids climbed to the highest points they could find to wave and hold out their hands for gifts. Some even came out of the camp and onto the bridge to collect some Buccaneer pencils and stickers from us.

From there we moved to a makeshift meat market on the street. Slabs of meat like you see in the Rocky movie hung from the inside of the open huts. Here we started to get comfortable and started handing out some of the 'Brooks Bunch – Africa 2000' t-shirts, and things quickly got out of hand. After we handed out about 25 t-shirts and were starting to load back up, dozens of people came out of nowhere looking for the shirts and were upset when they didn't get one. We learned to wait for our guide to tell us if we should hand out shirts or not.

Our next stop was Nelson Mandela's house before he was imprisoned. It's a small four-room house which is now a museum. One of the kids got really light-headed, which taught us that we were moving too fast and not eating enough. Everyone is fine, but we are arranging our meals for the next few days to include American food. After our Soweto tour, we cancelled our African traditional lunch and went to the Eastgate Mall to eat Chic-Fil-A and KFC! Our tour guide did not understand but the kids were thrilled!

We took a couple of hours off this afternoon to rest and regroup. A couple of the adults have colds, but overall we are doing fine and the kids are having a great time.

For dinner, we went to an African restaurant. They served us buffet-style. The food was good, but Stephanie went out to buy some snacks for the kids, as they are all starting to crave American food. We're going too bed early – 6:00 a.m. wake-up call tomorrow! Bye!

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