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Thread: SA hosts?

  1. #1
    Platinum Member Marq's Avatar
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    SA hosts?

    This past weekend we experienced a scenario that is so sad...or funny depending how you view life in sunny sa.

    A group of SA teachers have arranged, as part of a reciprocal deal, to bring some English and Ghanian teachers out to SA to experience their teaching methods.

    So the SA teachers, very well intentioned, arrive to greet their guests but then realise that the guests havnt been picked up at the airport. Problem is that there is a funeral to attend, so they go there first. Three hours hours later they pick up the British contingent who have been patiently waiting. The Ghanians they discover are still in Johannesburg, who having arrived there, thought that Durban was just down the road from Johannesburg and now had no money to fly onto Durban. After a lot of phone calls the English say they will pick up the tab to bring them down to Durban. Their SA hosts remain silent.

    Eventuallly the Ghanians arive. The accommodation arranged and the actual configuration of people that finally arrived was different. After about an hour of discussion on who was not staying (rather than who was), a lot of silence from the SA hosts, we finaly get everybody bedded down. The problem here was that the SA hosts, who were also staying, had their eyes on a particular room and had deliberately been obtuse and devious to create a favourable situation for themselves.

    No dinners arranged no drinks offered - just lots of smiles and hugs and loud talking. The local headmaster finishes off the remains of lunch as the rest look on waiting for dinner. The English, thirsty now, offer the party a drink from the bar. Mistake as 'the drink' turns into a free for all, at their expense.

    It turns out that the schools are closed as this is a long weekend, so the teachers cannot do what they came to do. The teacher that doesn't know where Durban is, teaches Geography, the local organisers are principals of their schools cannot organise, the history teacher wants to see Rourke's drift where the boers fought the british and is surprised to see so many english names down here in Natal. (I was also surprised to see so many English names still ...but thats another story.) Do you wonder why kids world wide do not seem to know anything?

    The Ghanians with no bucks are demanding and generally being poor guests, the SA's badly organised and poor hosts. Everybody shrugs, smiles and laughs it off. We were thinking that these guys wanted a cultural exchange..they got it - whats the problem........ha - maybe that there is another four days of this?

    Is this a small taste of whats in store for us next year? It seems that as long as we can smile and retain a sense of humour 2010 is going to be a huge success.
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    Moderator IanF's Avatar
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    Marq
    That is sad that they change SA's reputation as good hosts to terrible hosts. You must despair at this.
    Only stress when you can change the outcome!

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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    Don't worry, be happy! It's all part of the African experience.

    Think of all the wonderful stories they're all going to be able to tell at the end of this.
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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    Platinum Member Marq's Avatar
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    Its a real mix of feelings, but not one of despair. Not yet anyway. There is a genuine attempt at being hosts and they are really friendly and want to be a success. Its just that they do not see what they do. I dont know whether a mentor scenario would help or not and do not want to burst their enthusiasm bubble.

    I also think that we judge the scenario as if we are in Europe or Britain say. The guys from that side of the world do not seem to have the same expectations and as I said earlier, they are just looking to experience the cultures which they know are different. One of the things they learn quickly, as an example, is the concept of time.

    As my friend said - the Swiss may have invented the watch but we Zulu's invented time.
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    Diamond Member tec0's Avatar
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    Africa Time... Yes a broken watch works perfectly with this concept.

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    Platinum Member Marq's Avatar
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    Update...

    Things have got better - time is still the usual issue, but everyone is happy.

    Well everyone except the Ghanians - They are unable to ask nicely, smile or just be pleasant. The English guys gave them suitcases full of Pens & pencils & stationery, books and other nik naks. Not even a thank you, just looking around to see if there was anything else.

    I guess I am glad I don't live there.
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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marq View Post
    Not even a thank you, just looking around to see if there was anything else.
    Now that's the bit that frustrates me - no sense of appreciation.

    Fortunately I don't have the time right now for a
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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    Platinum Member Marq's Avatar
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    Final Update...

    All left happy.

    All that is, except for the Ghanians, who could not be bothered to even say goodbye. The rest of the guys did photos and hugs and crying stuff. The G Guys just stood around and then huddled into the wagon. Quite weird actually.

    I believe their trip was paid for by the SA's. The Ghanians had added an extra two days to the stay....only told their hosts on the last day that their flight was booked for later, could they stay in Durban? No money though - please help. They were packed on a flight to Jhb and told make your way back home. As said, most ungracious guests I have ever come across. Thats not actually true - it appears to be a general trend from citizens of West Africa.
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  9. #9
    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    The other day on radio I heard a segment about the British Lions supporters who have come to SA, complete with sound bites from some of those supporters. One bite was "First time in Africa and loving the experience." The DJ's quip was "That would be South Africa, please."

    Quite clearly the sense that we might be a little different to the rest of Africa is not uncommon. But I can't help wondering if this is heading for a chicken and egg standoff.

    What is causing the failure to connect? Us or them?

    Or maybe it's the very concept of "us" and "them"
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

  10. #10
    Platinum Member Marq's Avatar
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    I think we see ourselves as different and this does come across to those who travel here and have seen the difference between the rest of africa and South Africa.

    The general concept that africa is just africa is held by the majority overseas who, from our experiences, do not want to travel and do not know what the SA experience is about. Take these English teachers for instance - they battled to get a contingent together as nobody was willing to travel away from home. They opened up the opportunity to their admin staff as well trying to get numbers together to make it worthwhile. Perhaps their report backs will open some eyes which brings me to another point that I raise on regular occasions. That is, that our SA marketing arm in the form of the provincial tourist boards and kortbroeks kamp do not do enough to promote us.

    They seem to have sold Cape Town, table mountain and the Kruger park. That is all that is generally known about SA. Little is known about the cultures here, they are not interested in the political front and crime is the word of mouth scenario that most worry about.

    The reports of government corruption reach far and wide and that is probably one of the main reasons we are seen as just another african country.

    So the failure to connect, if you are looking in on SA comparing it to the rest of africa, I would say is our problem. A generally perceived corrupt government and an ineffectual marketing arm keeps the thought patterns going.

    Ah and another thing that we are well known for, is that we have a great rugby team. But that again is no thanks to the government and rugby board politics who it seems go out of their way to destroy this asset.
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