The Drakensbergers

Some Drakensbergers enjoy a pint waiting for a ride. Left to right: Eve, Meg, Nick, Kevin, and Jill.

Some Drakensbergers enjoy a pint waiting for a ride. Left to right: Eve, Meg, Nick, Kevin, and Jill.

Meg, smiling big as usual.

Meg, smiling big as usual.

Sean, causing mischief at the pub

Sean, causing mischief at the pub

Chris, excited about his frosty Hansa Pilsener coming up.

Chris, excited about his frosty Hansa Pilsener coming up.

Kevin takes aim.

Kevin takes aim.

Dreading your hair is a team effort.

Dreading your hair is a team effort.

Sean and Howell pause from picking blackberries.

Sean and Howell pause from picking blackberries.

Jill and Meg explore a stream in Champagne Valley.

Jill and Meg explore a stream in Champagne Valley.

Chris and Eve, taking a stroll.

Chris and Eve, taking a stroll.

Jill and Abby take a rest on the ascent to the Sterkhorn.

Jill and Abby take a rest on the ascent to the Sterkhorn.

Left to right: Lucas, Abby, Sean, Meg, Howell, Kevin, Jill, Nick, and Cedric.

Left to right: Lucas, Abby, Sean, Meg, Howell, Kevin, Jill, Nick, and Cedric.

December 2011 / The Drakensberg Range / KwaZulu-Natal / South Africa

Over the December holidays, I had the good fortune of traveling around South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal province with eight incredibly capable and intelligent fellow Peace Corps Volunteers and a young linguist/development worker working in Namibia, a friend of one of the Volunteers. We called ourselves the Drakensbergers, after the rugged mountain range where we spent most of our time. Every night we cooked together and laughed a lot; we even exchanged gifts on Christmas Eve. Learn a little about each below.

Abby Sprau laughs loud and takes care of business. She is a talented in contra and swing dancing, baking (except when it comes to blackberries), slacklining, and pretty much everything else that is cool.

My roommate in Washington DC, my neighbor in the training village, and Setswana classmate and study partner, Chris Ames has been my partner-in-crime from day one. Chris’ even-keeled disposition tempered some of the more wired personalities on the trip (perhaps including myself).

Evelyn Manning worked hard to make the trip feel like Christmas, organizing a Secret Santa gift exchange leading us in Christmas carols. Her people-first attitude makes her easy to get along with.

With a mind that runs almost as fast as her legs, Jillian Corley can be hard to keep up with at several levels. On hikes she has a tendency to disappear off into the mists until we find her, miles later, waiting patiently on the side of the trail.

With a sharp Boston accent and an even sharper sense of sarcasm, Kevin Crowinshield brings humor to any expedition he joins. However, with a son almost the age of most PCVs, Kevin offers measured insight into the joys and challenges of this life.

Holding American, British and French passports, Lucas Delacourt is truly a man of the world. He works with the Khoisan people of Namibia, transcribing their oral traditions. Lucas has an uncanny ability to chat with strangers as if they are old friends.

With a big smile and a bigger heart, Meghan Downey makes a great travel companion. With a qualifications and experience as a teacher, Meg is one of those PCVs quietly going about incredible work in her host community.

When life gives fellow Southerner Nicolas Dippel blackberries, he makes delicious mixed drinks. Easy-going with an easy laugh, Nick is lots of fun to hang out with.

Sean O’Malley’s goofy sense of humor belies his resolute commitment to sound teaching practices. With a quick wit and a levelheaded approach to life, Sean makes a great hiking partner.

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