when in Rome do as the Romans do

I miss ting tong! Sound followed by “the train to Cape Town via Lavistown is 40 minutes late, Metrorail apologizes for the inconvenience.”


I miss the man who used to budged in a train carrying big plastic bags and a basket of filled with Chips and Lollipops, shouting at the top of his voice “chips 2 Rands ,Airtime and Lollipops!”.

I missed that lady who used to uplift our spirits with a church chorus song on a very hot afternoon when all you wanted to do is to just sleep.

I miss that slightly overweight young lady who used to place her oily hair against the windows and let the content of her mouth slowly drool down her chicks.

I miss the security guard who greeted everyone with their clan-names “Aahh Rhadebe!”

I miss the overcrowded trains and being squashed in between armpits and bosoms of strangers.

I miss the random toothless smile that flashed around the train.

I miss the train that never arrives on time.

I miss the serious topics discussed in a very casual carefree manner.


I miss our South African trains.


The American train is clean, fast and efficient, but it`s deadly boring. The passengers never talk to each other, they just take out their toys (usually iphones, ipads and kindles) and connect to the wireless internet on the train and bow they heads as they worship these toys with they fingers.

South Africans are big on conversations, it how we learn about each others. We get advice from unbiased strangers. In South Africa you can talk anything about everything with anyone. UK had the Oratory Soapbox, South Africa has trains.


US is big on political correctness and this can create over sensitivity to people, we were made aware that there certain topic that you are not allowed to discuss especially in public platforms like trains and buses, you can not tell someone that you are dressed nicely because this might be seen as sexual harassment, you can not say Happy Christmas, you can not say heaven or hell. You can not say a lot of things in public places. Because there is just too many things you can not say in public people would rather be quiet in public places.

I don’t like this quietness in trains it makes me feel alone in a room full of people. I agree that sometime when you are in Rome do as the Romans do; it is obvious that society would not function properly if newcomers did not obey the laws. One particular good example of this is road rules. Imagine what would happen if South Africans insisted on keeping the left when they are driving in America.



US Intern

Hi Cecil
Hope you are well. I work for John Snow, Inc., (JSI), and we are very excited to welcome you as interns. I will be your main point of contact for the duration of your internship, but once you get here, you will be working with several different projects and divisions at JSI. See: http://www.jsi.com/JSIInternet/
After looking at your backgrounds, interests, and qualifications, you will primarily be engaged with the Supply Chain Management System (SCMS) project at JSI. They run a multi-billion dollar HIV/AIDS logistics foreign assistance contract for the US State Dept., and USAID. SCMS has a huge presence in South Africa with one of our partners, Imperial Health Sciences/RTT Logistics–the largest logistics company in Africa with large operations in Cape Town and Jo’burg.
SCMS has several components including, pharmacy, food security, policy, strategic planning, risk management, supply chains, procurement, waste, health, contracts, etc., in delivering products, medicines, lab equipment, technical assistance to our field offices and host governments throughout the developing world.
Other projects you may be supporting are some of my projects, including:
Advancing Partners & Communities: http://www.advancingpartners.org/
Also, Anna-Marie will also be working on our food security and nutrition project called SPRING, see: http://www.spring-nutrition.org/
I will be meeting with our HR Director next week and will send you details about what time and where you need to be on your first day on June 17. JSI also has a robust summer internship program that lasts all summer here. There are many sessions and activities that you can participate in with our summer interns.
I’ll be in touch next week with more details. We look forward to your arrival, welcoming you, and learning about your innovative and fresh ideas, perspectives, and experiences!
By the way, do you speak Xhosa?
Best regards, xxxxx

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