Danielle Murdoch Suzuki DR350

Work, Soweto and a Beautiful Apartment

| South Africa

In the heart of Sandton, Johannesburg we were given a beautiful ground floor apartment to rent at a cut-rate. Our apartment overlooked the complex’s communal pool and we had an unlimited supply of wine in the cupboard as the owners owned a winery in Cape Town. This was to be our home for the following month while Mike’s friend and business partner Wijnand visits us and I find a way to make some money to continue my travels.

Our new home away from home for the coming month

First washing machine ive seen since Kenya!

While the boys did their thing, I focused on getting the 2013 “Motomonkey Adventures” calendar posted. I ran around the city trying to find the best printing for the calendars. I actually like doing these sorts of errands as you get to discover the non tourist side to a city. I found a great back alley family printer company, where just taking one step in the door was a cultural experience. One day, while the boss was out, I was served by their coloured employee. The story she told me, went along the lines of “There was an article in the papers yesterday, a man had sex with a dog and when the dog gave birth it was half human and half dog!”. The sad thing about this story, was not my dumbfounded face of not knowing what to say in reply, but that she believed the story 100%!

Despite, their strange employees, I like the little jewish owner and his wife. After they printed my calendars, hole punched them and got them ready for postage, we felt pretty much part of the family. Maybe we are a little crazy too!

2013 Motomonkey Adventures calendar ready to be posted.

Last time Mike was in Johannesburg, he spent a lot of time in Soweto working for a Non Government Organization. I was keen to see the organization that he worked for and as well as the infamous Soweto. Soweto was once a township set up for primary for the mines located on the edge of Johannesburg. Nowadays it is just a suburb of Johannesburg, full of matchbox housing built by the government, and slums. However, most of you will know Soweto from the movie District 9, and a slightly more obscure fact, Soweto has the only street in the world where two Nobel Peace Prize winners came from – Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu.

Mike took Wijnand and me out to visit his organization Nanga Vhutshilo. Nanga Vhutshilo helps children that are affected or infected with the HIV/AIDS virus and provided them with after school care and support. They also do home based care and have over 50 families they supply the basic food too. The whole organization was raised and based on one person, Ma Sibongile. She has had her own issues with HIV in her family. That is where she found the inspiration to set up Nanga Vhutshilo as she recognized the need to have such a support system in the community.

Ma Sibongile, wasn’t available when we visited. I was actually kind of glad because that meant we would visit again. I dont normally plug NGO’s, but I was impressed with these hard working ladies and proud to know that Mike worked with them for a period of time. Please take the time, to visit their website and if you are ever in Soweto, I would recommend visiting them.

There is a lot of interesting history that surrounds Soweto. It’s a colourful and vibrant place, despite its history and rate of HIV. When we returned to Johannesburg city, we mentioned to a few locals where we had gone for the day, they all looked at us shocked – surprised that we were still alive!
With less than a couple of months budget left in my bank account, I was desperate to find stable source of income to be able to continue on my trip. I had planned and budgeted for two years and now I I just had my two year anniversary, and I just hit South Africa! I would like to be able to curve my travel and make it more like a life style. That’s everyone’s dream isn’t it? To work and travel anywhere in the world?

With my architectural design and project management background, I decided to start up my own company called “Created By Danielle”. Because it isn’t possible to travel and to work as an Architect, I transposed my design skills to graphic design focusing on logos, adverts, stationery, website designs and building websites. I was surprised to discover, that registering a company in Australia is relatively easy. The Australian Government, has all the forms online and I was finished in a matter of minutes. Now all I needed was a few clients!

Wijnand’s visit flew past and before we knew it we were dropping him off at the airport. With less than two weeks until Christmas, we had some time up our sleeve to try and get some work done in our beautiful apartment.

Johannesburg traffic is a killer for my overheating my little engine. I am sitting here waiting for it to cool.