I don’t understand how its already Friday!!! Time flies when you’re having fun! This week has been extremely busy. Wednesday we had orientation at University of Western Cape. We should be starting classes Monday…but still have no idea what classes we’re registered for! The orientation was interesting, but being at a completely new school that’s twice the size of Marquette is a little scary. There were a lot of people on campus and our classes will most likely have about 300 people in them, little different than home.
Yesterday a group of us went to hike, thinking we would do one of the easier mountains first. We were dropped off at Table Mountain and just decided to start climbing. After about 5 minutes we decided we already needed a break. That pace kept up for most of the mountain (we’re quite the hikers). Most of the trail we took was straight up, though. I also found it was much harder to hike when you’re laughing so hard, so that also accounted for lots of the breaks taken. At one point, we saw a big, rodent looking animal peering over the rocks at us. He was just sitting watching us licking his lips. Needless to say, we were screaming, laughing, and ended up running past that point in the mountain. Later we saw some locals hiking the mountain who informed us it was just a dussie and they are vegetarians… so the screaming and running was DEFINITELY necessary. When we finally reached the top, we were in the clouds. It was extremely cold at the top and a little disappointing that we were in a cloud, but nonetheless it was gorgeous. (LOTS of pictures on facebook). It was about 5:30 at that point so we decided to take the cable car down.
Today, most of the group decided to hike Lion’s Head Mountain. I wasn’t planning on going but was very easily convinced. That hike was extremely different than Table Mountain. Lion’s Head was more scaling a mountain than anything. There was a lot of rock climbing involved and it only took about one hour, as opposed to our 2.5 hour Table Mountain hike. We saw a couple more dussies and had a great time. This hike was definitely less work and more fun. My terrible fear of heights only kicked in when I was scaling the rocks… other than that all went well!! From the top of Lion’s Head we were able to see all of Cape Town, Table Mountain, and the ocean. This view was more beautiful than anything I’ve ever seen. I was so thankful to be there all these kids who are beginning to feel like family in South Africa.
We are not quite registered for classes yet so might start a day or two late, but no one seems worried. Our service will start in about two weeks. I was informed that I will either be at Imbasa or Amy Biel Foundation. Imbasa is a school grades 1-8. The children begin learning English in 3rd grade and really seem to have a love for learning. They seem like they are there because they want to learn and not because they are forced to. Amy Biel was a 26 year old who came to South Africa during the apartheid in order to help with freedom. She was dragged out of her car one day after work and beaten to death by 3 black men. Amy’s parents have since forgiven the men and work closely with two of the men in the Amy Biel Foundation. An incredibly sad story has turned into an organization that will never turn away a child and now serves about 1200 children at various schools. They mostly put together after school programs including reading, music, dance, and sports.
Everything is going well and I have been quite the hiker the past couple days. Needless to say, I’m exhausted. I miss home but am constantly reminded why I am here. The shacks on the side of the road will never be something I can overlook. I hope everyone at home is doing well!! I miss you all lots! Lots of love from South Africa!
p.s. If you wanted to know… the toilets DON’T swirl here. Still throwing me off… I also have the greatest farmer’s tan of my life.