Monthly Archives: August 2011

From Atop A Table!

Another early morning today! We picked up the team and were off to Table Mountain. There we hiked up the trail and it was a lovely day. We couldn’t have asked for better weather. The hour and a half hike was well worth it when we reached the top. The view was breathtaking. We saw all of Cape Town from this viewpoint; it’s honestly such a beautiful city. We caught the cable car to go down. The cable car was much like the one on the Grouse Grind except way better because the floor spun in a circle so everyone could get the full 360o view. Later we went to downtown Cape Town. We split into groups and did some shopping. Many of us went to the Pan African Market; this is where we found the best souvenirs! Another great place for bargains is Green Market Square. We gathered at Ms Ferris’ sister’s house, and we enjoyed dinner with the team and all of our home stay families. Currently I am packing and getting ready for our final wrap debrief tomorrow. I’m so shocked that we are leaving tomorrow. Even though it’s been three weeks, it feels like we have only just arrived. It hasn’t hit me yet that tomorrow we have to leave South Africa. I’m hoping to have a fun and memorable last night with my team and home stays.

~ Karimah N.

!Khwa ttu and Xhosa Culture

Today we went to !khwa ttu with the Educo Africa group . !Khwa ttu is an organization/ living museum dedicated to teaching people about the culture and heritage of the San people of Southern Africa. It was an eye opening tour about the indigenous people of Southern Africa. We learned about the many languages of the tribes and how some are closely related. As well, we also learned how to make the “clicks” that are required in order to speak the languages. It may sound simple, but it is most definitely not. It was definitely entertaining for the tour guide to watch and listen to us fail miserably at making these “clicks”.  After the language session we went on a tractor ride and saw some zebras, springbok and other antelope.

After the tour of !khwa ttu we got a chance to mingle with the Educo Africa group and learn a bit about them. In my group there was a Xhosa boy who explained to us about his culture. He told us about how when a male is between 16-25, he is sent to the bush by his father. In the bush you are circumcised and considered to become a man in their culture. He told us how they used to stay in the bush for up to three months but now it usually is about two weeks. Also, he explained that now before going into the bush the boys will go to the hospital to be circumcised. He explained that if they go to the hospital first they would be a different level of man. As well, he explained how that if a younger brother goes to the bush first he might be treated as the oldest brother of the family. So the ranks in the family is based on of when you “become a man” rather than when you are born. This was very interesting to me, because in our cultures we don’t usually send our boys out into the bush to become men. Because not only in the bush do they have to survive, but they are not usually given any help. The man explained that if they are sent to the bush in the winter they would find themselves eating a lot of birds because that is all they can find. I was definitely intrigued by what he explained to us and am definitely keen to learn more about the Xhosa culture.

Our team discussed with the group from Educo Africa the issues of cultures coming together, the fears and stereotypes that occur, and how we can build understanding of differences between people of different cultures. The day was interesting and informative.  The only drawback was the ice cold wind as we walked around.

~ Kat D. and Lizzie A.

The Next Generation

As the days of this trip come to an end, I realize that this trip is about the kids. The next generation is going to have to deal with present mistakes and be responsible for the progress of our nations. Throughout this trip we have visited many child-orientated programs, schools, and facilities and today we visited more of those inspiring programs. As we traveled in our bus through the townships of Cape Town we stopped at a shack that looked just like the ones all around it; however, it is a run by a woman that makes this “shack” into a beacon of light for the local children. We, at Shawnigan, have more than we need to eat, but here there are many children without food and Rosie has come to the rescue for the past 21 years. She supplies the children with oatmeal and a peanut butter sandwiches for lunch at school. And when it comes to dinner, she tries her best when food is available.

Another facility is a local kindergarten / daycare. Along with focusing on the children they realize that the reason for the child to be in their care is that the parents don’t have proper training to earn a living. For that they offer trade training. The women have the opportunity to work and learn how to weave rugs, tablecloths, and bags.

Over the past three weeks on this trip we have visited over seven different child growth programs in the locations that need help and we realize that when you help the youth, you’re helping everyone. So this whole experience is all about how to sustain children.

~ Aaron W.