As always, it seems that millions of things have happened since last time I blogged, so I will to try to sum up the best of the best…
The Friday after our homestay we had a braai at our house because Sam’s brother and his friends were visiting and we wanted to see our friends from the homestay again. The guest list was over 50 people, so needless to say, preparation was crazy. Myself, two other vegetarians, and one meat eater went a local meat shop where they sell tons of meat in bulk for very cheap. I was once again reminded why I made the right decision personally to be vegetarian. But the braai was a great success, everyone came and danced and ate and socialized and it was a great night of being surrounded by old and new friends from so many different parts of the world.
That next week we attended a walk for school libraries that was organized by Equal Education, an advocating NGO that my housemate Pat works for. They did a study that showed that hardly any schools in the townships have a library, so they are advocating for, “one school, one library, one librarian,” for the underpriveledged schools. We walked with about 2000 students and citizens for about 3 miles to City Hall where they had a rally. It was so inspiring to see so many students standing up for their rights and knowing that they must voice their concerns to make a difference. It really gave me hope for South Africa’s future. And it was really exciting because the walk made The New York Times! You can check out the article at http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/25/world/africa/25safrica.html?_r=1&scp=1&sq=south%20africa%20libraries&st=cse. It really was great to see how what we are doing here can be seen on such a global scale.
This last weekend we attended a research conference in Stellenbosch. We presented the preliminary stages of our research which was great for the public speaking practice, but we did seem a little out of place surrounded a bunch of very experienced researches. I am doing my research on the differing affects of a service-learning abroad program vs. an arts and science program on the students’ understanding of South African culture. I have not completed my report yet, but my initial results are pretty interesting so it was nice to get feedback while presenting them. We stayed at a great backpackers and we were able to explore the city and University of Stellenbosch’s campus. That night we went to a Afrikaaner rapper concert which was so interesting because it was the first time we had been surrounded by that many white South Africans. It really is so interesting how we are constantly reminded of the cultural differences that exist here, and it is so strange to find our place within them.
Finally, I got a treat this week of being able to see my roommate from school Taylor and my friends Nick and George from Santa Clara! They are on Semester at Sea and stopped in Cape Town for 6 days. It was fun for both of us to get a little taste of each other’s worlds for these few months. I really enjoyed taking Taylor to Mzoli’s and my service in Khayelitsha, and I think she really enjoyed not feeling like a tourist for a bit. On their last day here we hiked Table Mountain (after a long night at Rand a Brand I might add) and it was so great to get to the top and see the incredible view. I also got to see the inside of their ship, which seems like a Marriott on the sea! But it was very cool to be able to share our experiences and see each other in Cape Town, South Africa of all places!
I am going camping this weekend with Ubuntu so I am sure I will have lots to tell when I get back! Hope all is well at home-I love and miss you all!
Talk to you just now!