Hope is what Africa has to offer the rest of the world. However, this hope has not come cheap. Many good people are dead becuase the hope they fought for in South Africa conflicted with the hope of their government. Apartheid tore a nation apart and threatened the integrity of South African culture as a whole. It might sound odd to say, but I imagine that there wasn't much hope for hope for many people during this oppression. Africa is a special place - the birthplace of Ubuntu. I am becuase we are.
When you think of New York City you think of an environment that is constantly in motion and never able to stop. This is true. This city never sleeps. It is always in fast-forward, and as you pass people on the street you find that they are so pressed for time, to get from destination to destination, that they are unable to smile or say "hello". This was hard for me to understand the first week of this trip, since at the Lutedome it's almost considered unkind to say "hello" to some one passing you on the walkway.
My trip to New York is almost complete and it feels great to be able to conclude that I have accomplished the things I came to do. As an aspiring artist it was important for me to experience the art scene in New York as well as the reality of what it would be like to work and live in this environment. It was not only a class for me but somewhat of a personal challenge to really discover if I could do this, and if I could make it here. I had never been to the city and my main expectation was this idea of polarization.
As I sit down to write my last blog I am humbled that this month in SA has come and gone so quickly. This blog, although a bit inaccessible and even bothersome at times, has been an incredible outlet to share the thoughts and experiences of SA with myself and all of you! So once again, thank you all for your constant support and interest in our journey.
This is an entry from my journal, Tuesday, January 30th.
Today was a powerful and emotional day. It was also very busy.
Only a day left and I finally get a chance to use the computer again. I used my last time to post pictures, which I hope everyone has enjoyed. I will be posting lost more just after I return, so stay tuned. We hear so much about crime in the cities and townships that you start to get a perception of what it is going to be like, but your whole image completely goes out the window when you actually get there. I have felt more at risk in cities in the US than I have in the townships and squatter camps here.
A few days ago we visited a handful of schools and had the opportunity to speak with students and faculty at Midrand High School and Eqinisweni Secondary School. I was shocked and sobered by their response in regards to the AIDS epidemic and rape prevalence. I am still working to digest the harsh reality--perhaps this blog entry will help me do so.
At Midrand High School we stat in Ms. Sinah Komane's life orientation (L.O.) class. The high school itself has 1023 learners. It was established in 1993 (post-apartheid) and has 40 highly qualified teachers.
Yesterday was an emotionally draining day in all aspects . Our time spent at the Apartheid Museum was the most thought provoking visit of the day for me. We've read and learned a lot about the history of Apartheid before coming to South Africa, but seeing the different pictures, watching videos, and hearing stories made it all the more meaningful. It astounds me that the horrific history of South Africa definitely did not occur in the distant past. It is just so incredible that something as detrimental as Apartheid even happened in the first place, and not that long ago.
This is an entry from my journal for Monday January 29th, 2007.
Today was one of the best of the trip. We visited two high schools, one more middle class, the other struggling.
It's hard to believe that our group only has three more days in the great country of South Africa. Over the past few weeks, I have taken up the margins of my journals with numerous lists. There's the list of encounters that I am hesitant to share with my parents: bungy jumping from the world's highest bungy point, digging out a tick from my leg, diving from cliffs into the rivers of the Wild Coast. I have a list of activities that the trip has inspired me to complete: receiving a graduate degree in social work and increasing awareness of the everyday realism of AIDS in Africa.