Soon after we arrived at our training site, we were told that there is a shopping mall located in a neighboring town, accessible by taxi/kombi (more about kombi’s in another entry). It costs 11R (rand) each way … this amounts to about $3.00 round trip. I don’t think any of us were prepared for this big, bright new mall, as we were probably expecting some kind of open air market. Jubilee Mall has a couple of large supermarkets, a food court with KFC (KFC is everywhere!!!), a small pizza place where the pizzas taste amazingly like those at Pizza Hut, an internet café, and at least 30-40 different shops, mostly clothing, cellular phone stores, Kodak, pharmacy, furniture, and variety. Jubilee Mall opened just this past spring, so it is new and clean and widely popular. We have been going to Jubilee Mall on the average of once a week. When we are there it almost feels as though we could be at any mall in America. We are fortunate that is it somewhat nearby (roughly a 30-minute ride away from home) as locally there are only very teeny, tiny shops locally known as tuck shops, which sell only a small handful of very basic food items … bread, milk and a few canned items. We feel a little spoiled to have Jubilee Mall nearby.
When talking with current PC volunteers (as opposed to us trainees), I am always curious as to where their site is located as well as the location of their “shopping town”, a term which becomes just as important as where you live. For some volunteers, the shopping town might be as far as 1-2 hours away or more. I guess this is something we would just have to get used to, but could be a hassle when you really needed something. Just today, John had to go to Jubilee Mall to get some medicine for me as I have been suffering for several days with a bad cold and perhaps viral sinus infection. Essentially, there is nowhere locally where he could get any medication, so he had to travel to Jubilee Mall. The whole journey took about 2.5 hours round trip (after factoring in both shopping and wait times for the taxis), something that could have been accomplished in less than 10-15 minutes back home. Nonetheless, I’m glad Jubilee Mall is somewhat nearby … relatively speaking! (Also glad to have a husband that could go get the medicine for me. Thanks, John!)