Back at the heavenly Shamwari guest house, the reinvigorated Housewives sat down to dinner. NeNe looked weirdly adorable in her baseball cap, Cynthia as relaxed and regal as we’ve ever seen her. The women, united by their tremendous experience in the village and at the orphanage, seemed lighter, individually and as a group. They spoke about the lack of resources they just bore witness to, and the warmth and gratitude of all the people they’d met. “Uh, this shrimp is raw,” said Marlo. “Excuse me waiter. I need the waiter please.” The Smalls—and Cynthia too, of course—shot quick, confused glares at this most confounding woman but didn’t skip a beat. Phaedra pointed out the pettiness of their beefs with one another, what with their blessed lives and labelicious wardrobes back home. “For the first time during this trip I think that we are really truly bonding,” she said. “Here’s to giving!” announced NeNe, which is as unexpected a Real Housewives battle cry if I’ve ever heard one.
Off to the museum for some culture. Sheree and NeNe looked all kinds of adorable laughing and sitting next to one another in the back seat, admiring their view of zebras. How I wish these two were friends again. (Wait, were they ever friends?) A museum tour guide whisked the ladies inside to share with them some local Xhosa culture. I’m going to risk being offensive by daring to suggest though that the pride of Xhosa looked like a well-used mannequin modeling an old school Britches Great Outdoors rugby. To add insult to injury, the poor thing was in a holding position, waiting for some man to come fetch her and drag her home.
Herbalist alert! (Would that the hilariously innocent scene of the Housewives trying to understand his accent—”hep artist?”—went on longer.) Don’t look directly into his sunglasses or you’ll be fetched. He had a little jar full of twigs and sardine juice that he wanted the ladies to smell. Time to read the mysteries of the bones. And by that he meant it was time to spread some souvenir seashells atop a Hefty bag and tell tales. Marlo hasn’t yet found a real man. (Burn, Charles Grant!) Sheree is too old for anyone to love. NeNe is not happy. Oh, and Cynthia’s going to get married. “She’s happy this one,” said the medicine man. “You can tell.” Refund!
That night Marlo invited the women over to the antique wing, that she’d transformed into a showroom of conspicuous consumption. Here was her Coco Chanel section, here Louis Vuitton, over there were 29 pairs of shoes arranged like creepy porcelain dolls watching over the place. Oh yeah, there’s her Holy Bible. Once the women had properly acknowledged her stuff, they indulged in a little slumber party conversating. “What’s your favorite position?” Marlo asked, before demonstrating hers on Kandi. Poor Phaedra clutched the lapels of her silk leopard robe tighter. Nothing bonds a group of women together than a good old-fashioned tea bag conversation. Just as the ladies were relaxing into their giggle, Kandi suggested to Marlo that at first she found her to be little more than a label whore. Hold up, hold up, said Marlo, who didn’t appreciate the idea of being thought of as more than just that. “I love fashion!” she cried hoarsely. “I bleed this s—. I love it!” “You’re screaming,” said Cynthia, fumbling for her camera so she could show everyone pictures of them dancing with the children.
NEXT: Oh captain, my captain.