The living conditions vary greatly in South Africa. Jeff's parents live in a nicer area of Johannesburg and have fences and a gate for security. (Just about every building has a fence around it, some even topped with razor wire).  Then there are townships which are made up of small, simple structures of brick with one or two rooms. Right in the city you will also find what they call "informal settlements" which are basically structures made of anything people scavenge for: tin, car doors, wood scraps, old bricks, etc.  These settlements have no electricity or running water and only have outhouses around the perimeter.  These areas are very unsafe at night, mostly because it's so dark.

There are also those who don't live in any housing.  At night we looked out the windows of the Mission home and saw spots of light where people had built fires on the hillside. One night it poured rain and we saw a spectacular lightning storm. The next day we saw lots of clothing laid out on the rocks to dry and there were even reports of people struck by lightning who were living out in the hills.

Below is a picture of a township taken by an Elder in the mission.

There are panhandlers at every stoplight and we took this picture driving through town one day.

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In South Africa there is a big market for street hawkers and you find them at most intersections. These enterprising people sell everything from hats and purses to batteries and clothes hangers.  You can even pick up wicker furniture and pallets of sod from the side of the road.  The people are very industrious and creative.  In the poorer areas the people set up "tuck" shops along the road offering things like hair cuts, car washes from buckets, and muffler shops which were basically three or four rusty mufflers on a stand and a tank for welding.  This first picture is of a hair cutting shop we drove by.  The next picture is a clothing shop and you would usually see people pushing wheelbarrows as a way to transport things.

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Boy with wheelbarrow.jpgOn Sunday we had the opportunity to attend church in Protea Glen, a township area, which was all black people.  The people at church were so kind and friendly and wanted to shake our hands. The amazing thing was the LDS church in Africa was no different than in American and they taught the same things we would have been taught in our home ward despite the drastic difference in culture.