May 5, 2011
I’m in America. Not Spokane, yet, but close. I’m waiting in Minneapolis to board my last flight. It’s a weird feeling. I feel like tomorrow I’ll still be waking up in my Cape Town home, but in all actuality, I don’t know when I’ll be back there. I definitely do hope to go back at some point, though.
It’s been a while since I’ve updated, so let me see what I can remember…
When we got home from the Eastern Cape (which was by far one of my favorite things I did in South Africa), we had about 3 days before we began our service-learning class. It was…alright. For the first week, we stayed in the township Guguletu. In case you don’t know, a township is basically a shanty town where the blacks were forced to move into during the apartheid, and where most still live today. However, our experience wasn’t so much a shack house, they were probably the nicest houses in the township, and the biggest sacrifice I made was a cold bath. This was a bit of a relief at first, as I thought I would be bug infested and taking bucket showers, but it was also a disappointment. I feel that the shack houses are the “true” township life, and so I didn’t feel like I really experienced that. Each day, we went to a center/church in the township called JL Zwane, which has numerous programs to help the community. We did some cleaning, learned about the programs, and helped with the “rainbow school” after-school program. A couple of the days we went out and met some people in the community, particularly people who suffer from HIV/AIDS and/or cancer. This is all sounds great, right? The idea was great. However, the cleaning we were doing wasn’t necessary (we cleaned the same windows 3 times in the 2 weeks we were there), and the people we met were kind of displayed as show animals. We would go into the home, a lady would introduce us to the patient, and then the lady would tell his story instead of him telling it himself (even though he was perfectly capable). The second week we were there, we were bussed in each day, and it was really a waste of time. We spent at least half our time playing cards (with each other, not with people from the community), and the other half doing things…like cleaning the windows. We did get to paint a house, so that was cool. I did learn some stuff from it, but in all honesty, it was quite a disappointment. We were honest with the people in charge of it, so hopefully changes will be made for next year.
The last 2 weeks were spent doing whatever we wanted. Krystle and I rode the train into town a few times to explore and do some souvenir shopping. It was nice to hang out with the family and just be lazy, but we also made sure to go out and enjoy the city while we could. We stayed at our friend Luke’s place that he was house-sitting, and then went to Easter dinner at his family’s house the next day. That was super nice, and we met his cousin who we ended up hanging out with a couple more times.
I did too much to do a day-by-day explanation, but I’ll be happy to fill you all in when I see you!
I can’t believe I’ll be home in 3 hours. It’ll take some adjusting…I should be asleep right now if I were in Cape Town… so I’m starting to feel a bit tired.
Please be praying for my Grandpa and family, as he is in the hospital struggling to stay alive.
Thank you all again for everything you’ve done for my trip, including reading this blog! It means so much to have your support.
I’ll update a couple more times as I experience my “culture shock back to America.”