NeNe LeaksThe first few days they were in South Africa, the ladies of The Real Housewives of Atlanta were a complete embarrassment to themselves and all Americans. NeNe Leakes and Marlo Hampton led the way for sure, but all of them and their ridiculous quarreling over who got the best rooms and who got invited to what party was just painful to watch.

From throwing up a "rain shower" of money while dancing in a club to demanding hair and makeup artists before going on safari, Marlo is adamant about making her moneyed ways known. But as another Housewife once sang, money can't buy you class, which was more than apparent when Marlo showed up for the safari in sequined disco pants. Classy they were not.

Even while on the safari, within feet of gorgeous giraffes and amazing zebras, the duo of divas acted ridiculous, scaring away the animals and generally having their noses up in the air about the whole experience. It was maddening to watch them waste an opportunity like that and even fellow Talls teammate, Cynthia Bailey, was embarrassed by their behavior.

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Things changed, however, as the ladies went deeper into Africa and headed toward an orphanage. They stopped to get supplies and ran into a group of students who were on a lunch break. The children sang, danced, and delighted the ladies, who went in and cleaned out the local store to buy supplies for the kids and for others in the area.

Once at the orphanage, there was no quarrelling or bickering, no worrying about one's hair or shoes. No one cared who was a tall or a small, they were all just moved. It was real recognition by the woman of the sad situation of the children, and their own very privileged one. They laughed, hugged, and doted on the children and seemed genuinely immersed in the experience -- even Marlo. It was lovely to see, and you could almost forget all the other ugliness they put out there.

My hope is those warm feelings of gratitude will stay with the women and make the rest of their trip more peaceful and meaningful. Previews and past experience, however, seem to suggest otherwise. Rather we'll likely see those lessons will be quickly aside for more drama.

Were you completely embarrassed to see the ladies acting like they did in Africa? Do you think their experience at the orphanage will change their attitudes ... for long?


Image via Bravo