Though the 40 hours of travel were long, I am now finally settled in to Cape Town. The flights seem like a blur. When we first got to the airport in Cape Town, we were picked up by Pearnel (our driver for the semester). At that point, the whole trip felt like vacation. We had the warm sun on our faces and the wind blowing our hair. We began the ride out of the airport and soon enough saw the shacks people were living in on the side of the road…. card board walls and any material they could find to use as a makeshift roof. Many people called this home while so many others had large cement houses right down the road. At that point, I remembered why I was actually in South Africa.
Our first full day here was spent exploring and making our way to the water front, which is about a 20 minute drive. The restaurants had very similar food to America, but the service takes very long. They don’t seem to have much commitment to time so meals take at least two hours. Most of the day was spent all together (21 students) getting to know each other and laughing.
Today we are in the midst of people coming and going from various service sites. I haven’t been placed at a site yet, but I went to a school called Imbasa to meet Mama Zana. The ride to the school was an experience in itself. The cars on the highway don’t really care if there is a lane or not, they will make one or just drive through the grass….and I thought Chicago traffic was bad!! This school is grades 1-8 in the middle of neighborhoods of shacks. Mama Zana made us feel very welcomed and at home. Everyone there was so happy to see us and kept thanking us for being here.
I don’t know how much I can teach them, but I do know how much they will teach me. I am so blessed to have this opportunity and look forward to every part of the experience.