Sunday, May 4, 2008

We're back

Dear all,

The Honors in Cape Town 2008 Program has come to a close but the impact of our time spent in South Africa has yet to be realized.

We arrived back in Connecticut at 3:20 pm on April 28. For me, and many of the students, the return trip was bitter sweet-- happy to see family and friends, while challenged to bid farewell to Cape Town and its people, the place we had come to call home.

The experience far exceeded any expectations I could have ever imagined:

*The students, each remarkable in his or her own unique way, have become a special part of my life and commitment to working for peace and justice wherever and however I can. In addition to their 3 day a week internships, and course work, each used some of their spare time working at another organization dedicated to bringing about positive social change.

*RAs Ben & Jeff were remarkable. Jeff did a great job of planning the March excursion and Ben’s willingness to fill-in as RA a month into the program and bring such energy, compassion, and insight to the program was greatly appreciated by everyone.

*Each supervisor, at every field placement, gave generously of their time and wisdom, enabling us all to learn lessons that could not have been gained without their dedication.

*Vincent Williams, who taught the History and Politics of South Africa, was amazing. Sitting in on his class helped me to realize how very much I still have to learn. We all benefited greatly from his knowledge and ability to condense huge amounts of information into manageable lessons.

* Cape Town coordinator Vernon Rose made the entire venture possible! Not only did Vernon work with a vast number of organizations to secure commitments to take interns, interview each student in order to find the most appropriate placement, and teach a class to help us all better understand non-profit organizations, he was also there to answer questions while providing support, understanding, and insight from the time we arrived until the day we departed.

The blog and pictures I have compiled do not begin to capture the profound experiences which will continue to influence each of us in ways yet to be discovered. I will continue to make entries to this blog and upload (and delete duplicate) pictures as time allows. You can view the pictures, which are grouped by events, at

To all who have followed our adventures and/or contributed in any way to making this Study Abroad Program a reality, thank you!

In peace, with hope,

Saturday, April 26, 2008

TAC march to stop violence

On 26 April, the day before we left Cape Town, some of us went to Khayelitsha to join Jung and Michelle, who had interned at Treatment Action Campaign (TAC), for a march against violence.

Below are several articles describing the march. Pictures taken at the march can be found at


Hundreds say no to gender violence

This article was originally published on page 5 of The Cape Argus on April 27, 2008

Led by Nwabisa Ngcukana, the young woman assaulted for wearing a mini-skirt at a Johannesburg taxi rank, hundreds of protesters on Saturday marched against gender violence in Khayelitsha.

The march, aimed at highlighting violence against women and children and held on the eve of Freedom Day, was planned by the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) and supported by the Western Cape Youth Commission, the Western Cape Provincial Taxi Council and a host of other community-based organisations.

The protest comes two months after Ngcukana was attacked by taxi drivers and hawkers at the Noord Street taxi rank in Soweto for wearing a short skirt.

The march started at Harare Park and was soon joined by over 100 children dressed in school uniforms as it wound past the house where Nandipha Makeke, a TAC activist, was raped and murdered in 2005.

Sporting posters reading "Real Men Don't Rape" and "Hands off our Children", the protesters proceeded to the Harare police station where a memorandum of grievances was handed to the area's visible policing head, Superintendent Mncedi Mdonga.

There, TAC deputy general-secretary and former chairperson Zackie Achmat slammed police and Community Safety MEC Leonard Ramatlakane for not doing enough to keep perpetrators behind bars.

He said it was "sad" that criminals were arrested for one or two days and freed to continue raping and killing innocent women and children.

"We should assist police find the perpetrators," said Achmat.

He said Ramatlakane had failed the people of Khayelitsha and the TAC for not responding to their continuous pleas for "firm action" against criminals and rapists.

"Today we are not only angry at criminals, but also at the government," he said.

Carrying a brightly coloured banner reading: "I feel good in my mini-skirt", Ngcukana, 25, said she didn't expect so many people and children at the march.

"This is wonderful," she said, "especially on the eve of Freedom Day and the launch of the Mini-skirt Festival which kicks off in Soweto tomorrow."

Ngcukana said although her experience was "extremely traumatic", the many mini-skirt campaigns and anti-gender violence drives around the country had highlighted the plight of women, especially those living in townships.

Accepting the memorandum on behalf of Codeta and all taxi drivers in Khayelitsha, Peter Thethani, of the Western Cape Provincial Taxi Council, said the council condemned the actions of industry colleagues in Johannesburg.

He said although it was "culturally wrong" for Ngcukana to have worn a mini-skirt to a taxi rank, taxi drivers should not have assaulted her.

"We are against the violence, but we do feel that women should be dressed appropriately in public. That is the Xhosa tradition."

Key points in the memorandum handed to police and the taxi council include a call for community action and mobilisation to rid communities of gangsterism and crime, faster prosecution of criminals, more rape crisis centres and an end to victimisation of survivors by police and court officials. 

The next march against gender violence is planned for May 22 to the provincial legislature in Cape Town.


TAC to Take Action to Stop Criminals Threatening its Members in Khayelitsha
3 April, 2008 - 18:37 — moderator

Since 2003 TAC Khayelitsha members have been actively involved in campaigns against violence, particularly violence against women, children, gays and lesbians.

On 16 December 2005, a TAC member 18 year old Nandipha Makeke, was raped and murdered. On the same day another member, Mandla Nkunkuma, was attacked and shot. Mandla Nkunkuma identified his attacker as Yanga Janet who was later arrested for the rape and murder of Nandipha Makeke.

TAC Khayelitsha activists rallied for over two years to see justice done in the murder trial of Nandipha Makeke in which four men stood trial. We attended over 20 court appearances.

On 17 March 2008 the charges against Zukile Fumbatha (accused No.2) and Janet (Accused No.4) were dismissed, because there was insufficient evidence to convict them. Janet was subsequently released.
On 2 April 2008 Thembinkosi Ntukani (accused No.1) was found guilty of murder and of being an accomplice to rape, while Bonga Sibhozo (accused No.3) was found guilty of murder and rape. Both were also found guilty of illegal possession of firearms and ammunition.

When TAC members queried the status of the investigation on the shooting of Mandla Nkunkuma we were informed the docket was lost. Since then it has been relocated but important medical records are mysteriously missing.

Janet, a known gang leader, and his associates have been intimidating and threatening TAC members, predominantly in the Harare area of Khayelitsha. Janet has made it known to many, including one of TAC's members directly, that he plans to murder a number of TAC members in order to “finish what he started”. Three TAC members targeted by Janet have therefore been accommodated outside of Khayelitsha in a safe house at TAC's expense as they fear for their lives.

On Sunday 30 March 2008 the home of one TAC member was broken into and Slulamile Hlonendlini, another member, was stabbed by an assailant suspected to be associated with Janet's gang. Both incidents took place in Harare, Khayelitsha. Hlonendlini had to be hospitalised at Tygerberg Hospital for four nights.

Yanga Janet and his thugs gather daily on the corner of Hlonela Street and Mew Way Road. This corner is an important bus and taxi stop for many residents of Harare. This is also the corner on which Janet shot Mandla Nkunkuma in 2005. This same location is where they regularly intimidate TAC members, particularly women, calling them names, staring at them menacingly and taunting them about their involvement in TAC.

TAC Khayelitsha has mobilised against violence against women since the rape and murder of Lorna Mlofana (a TAC member) on 13 December 2005. It is ironic and tragic that the members of an organisation dedicated to improving safety and justice in one of South Africa's biggest townships, now feel they do not have the adequate protection of the police or the courts.

TAC has therefore decided to take the following actions:
• An urgent court application is being sought to get a protection order against Yanga Janet and his associates.
• We will hold a public march in Harare Khayelitsha on 17 April focusing on community and gender based violence. We will protest the slow functioning of the judicial system and campaign for appropriate policing and investigation.
• We will hold a march in Cape Town on 8 May 2008 on the same theme.
• We will step up our community education and mobilisation programs.

TAC calls on the ANC, government, SAPS, community organisations, faith based organisations, trade unions, and ordinary community members to join us in our campaign against violence.

We will not allow our communities to be ruled by gangsterism, crime and violence. This campaign can be won, like many others in the past, through broad-based community organising.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Amanda at Economic Justice Network (EJN)

Amanda's reflection on EJN

The past few months have been very hectic for Economic Justice Network, and it's been exciting to help out this NGO is the midst of all that it is doing. I've had the opportunity to assist at a conference on Econmic Partnership Agreements (trade agreements) which took place here in Cape Town, and was also able to attend a workshop on budget monitoring hosted by EJN in Johannesburg. I'm been assisting with activity reports/summaries to send out to partners, conducting research on food security policy in countries across Southern Africa, and doing work related to these meetings and workshops. As my internship draws to a close, I'm turning the report of the Economic Partnership Agreement conference into a publication which can be given to partners to help explain issues surrounding these trade agreements.

As I write this from the EJN office, I'm looking out the window at St. George's Cathedral, where Desmond Tutu preached during Apartheid. Beyond that, I can see the streets and buildings that I've come to know so well during my last few months of interning downtown. On a building behind this one hangs a huge banner that says "Western Cape: This place I call home", and after spending the past few months here, that couldn't be more true. I had never dreamed of fidning myself here in this historic, vibrant city, and I think a piece of me will always feel at home here in Cape Town.

Final weeks in Cape Town

Dear all,

Nearly impossible to believe that 2 weeks from today most of us will be back in Connecticut. The time has flown by and these final days have crept up on us!

Working to finish up papers and projects, finding ways to say farewell to colleagues and friends, deciding what things we still want to see and do, anticipating what it will be like to leave this place we have come to call ‘home’, and trying to predict what it might be like to fit back into the life we left 3 1/2 months ago, are things that are proving to be more challenging than many of us had imagined.

A half dozen of the 26 students have decided to extend their time here, a few being joined by family members, to do a bit of traveling before heading back to the states. The remainder of us are spending these final days trying to decide which of the many things we still want to accomplish can realistically be done before we get on the plane at 11:30 pm April 27th. Some are trying to creatively find ways to expand the size of our luggage to enable us carry home all of the jewelry, scarves, crafts, and gifts bought (purchased, of course, while trying to support the local economy, as someone has reminded me)! Many are trying to calculate how and when they will be able to return to Cape Town.

I am fairly certain we all agree this has been an experience of a lifetime that will continue to influence how we see the world, and live of lives, for years to come.

Throughout the semester students have been completing Activist Projects at various places, in addition to spending three days a week interning at their assigned field placements. I think each would agree they have gotten far more from these projects then they could ever have hoped to give. As time permits, and with their permission, I am posting student descriptions of projects together with links to some of the pictures they have taken. I am certain anyone looking at their comments will be as impressed as I am.

I am also still posting details of our week long adventure to Hluhulwe, Durban and the Drakensberg Mountains (March 22-March 28)---which I may or may not have finished before heading home.

Being new to this world of blogging, I have continued to add features to the blog as I have discovered additional options:
* Cape Town weather (because who knows when one might need that information);
* a counter, to see how many times the blog has actually been viewed;
* a side bar listing posts by label to find specific posts without scrolling through the entire site;
* a few pictures embedded within the text of posts;
* pictures related to each post that can be accessed by clicking on the title;

Being new to blogging this certainly is a work in progress--- which I will condense, as well as update and edit, as I have the time and energy to do so!

In the meantime —enjoy!

Cheers from Cape Town

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Place of Hope, Mia & Katy


Place of Hope is an amazing place and truly fits its name. I have really enjoyed my time at POH and getting to know the clients there and the people who work there. I love spending time with the kids and getting to hear the life stories of them and their families. Many of these stories have brought me to tears instantly or at least later on that day. The things that these women have gone through, and still are able to get up each day with faith, hope and a peace with God, renews my faith. I am not sure where their strength and spirit comes from but wow, I am amazed that they can have so much.

At POH I do a little bit of everything, basically I fill in where I am needed. I work mainly as a receptionist, answering phones and controlling the keys and gate. But I also help out in the daycare, chase the school children around, run an after school program on Tuesdays, and just lend a hand where I can. But I love doing anything I can.

I have built some amazing relationships with the clients and the people who work there. I am only sad that it took so much time to build these and now my time is almost up. But I try to spend as much time as I can with my new friends, including visiting their churches on Sundays or getting lunch with them on the weekends. I have really enjoyed my time here and I hope that someday I will be able to come back again and that I will always be able to keep these relationships strong. It will be hard to say Goodbye. I do not look forward to it.


I chose A Place of Hope Women’s Shelter for my social activism project. This organization takes in women and their children who are coming out of abusive and violent relationships and have no where else to go. Violence against women is a serious problem in South Africa, so organizations like A Place of Hope are essential. Currently, the organization has 16 women and 27 children living there, along with 3 permanent residences. However, the shelter will usually hold up to 35 women and 50 children. In addition to providing the women with a place to live, they also provide food, clothing, counseling, childcare, and help the women find employment. The women are allowed to stay up to 6 months, but are not kicked out if they need to stay longer and each woman is assigned chores.

I spent 10 hours volunteering at a Place of Hope in one day, from 8:00 am to 6:00pm and I hope to go back a few more times before my time is up in South Africa. One challenge to my activist project was finding transportation to the shelter. I spent the entire day watching and playing with the children. Earlier in the day I spent time with the younger children, since the older children were at school. I sat with them while we watched the Lion King, 101 Dalmatians, and played different games. When the older kids came home, I stayed for after-care. We had an Easter egg hunt, since it was the week before Easter. I hide chocolate Easter eggs outside and then let the children run around and find as many as they could. We divided the chocolates evenly in the end among the children. After the Easter egg hunt, we played different games outside: catch, soccer, played on the swings, and just sat and talked. It was an exhausting, but very fun day.

It was my first time in any kind of day care and I learned how much attention and care children really need. The children were very sweet and welcoming to me. They fought for my attention and were excited to have a new playmate. I didn’t get to interact with any of the women staying at A Place of Hope, because they were all working. I was surprised to learn that all of the women are holding steady jobs. It was interesting for me to learn about the organization itself. As a Psychology major, the type of counseling they do for the women and children especially interested me. I also learned about the organizations main donors; where they frequently get food and other necessities for the residents. I learned that most of the people working at the shelter hadn’t received a paycheck in a while because of lack of funds. I was inspired that they were working without wages, just because they were so dedicated to the organization and the women and children. They are very understaffed because many of the workers couldn’t stay without a salary to support their families. This gave me some insight of the challenges many NGOs face. After seeing how great A Place of Hope is and the wonderful things they are doing by helping these women and children when they need it most, I decided to donate 2000 Rand to the organization that I had been raising for a fundraiser that fell through. I am going to request that this money goes to the salaries of the women working there.

The work done at a Place of Hope is specifically related to what we are learning in our Women in a Global Perspective course in many ways. It is dealing with domestic violence, a serious issue that needs to be addressed and eradicated. Domestic violence not only affects women in South Africa, but women in all countries around the world, including the United States. Women are verbally and physically abused in relationships regardless of their country, race, or class; it is a global women’s issue. A Place of Hope works to rehabilitate and heal women from their past abusive relationships, as well as empower women to become independent and strong. Ending domestic violence is an issue I feel passionately about and I plan to continue my involvement in battered women’s shelters when I return to the United States. I hope to find one close to home that I can volunteer my time.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Steph and Ruth's Activist Project

Throughout the semester students have been working on Activist Projects in addition to the three days a week they worked at internships. I am fairly certain each would agree they have gotten far more from these projects then they could have ever hoped to give. As time permits, and with their permission, i will post student descriptions of projects and pictures.

Steph and Ruth spent time at a Soup Kitchen in Khayelitsha. Both have written about their experiences and given me permission to post their papers. To learn even more about Iliso Care Society you can check the website at

Stephanie Maurer
7 April 2008
Activist Report

Iliso Care Society

From the first moment I met Vivian, the woman who runs Iliso, I knew that this place would be somewhere I would find inspiration. Vivian was overly enthusiastic about having Ruth and I to her home, which doubles as a soup kitchen and safe house for children. She came all the way from Khayalitsha to Mowbray on a minibus (R14, 50) just to meet with us at our home! I was so impressed by her enthusiasm, that I knew her project would be just as remarkable.

When we first arrived, she proudly showed around the center which literally was in her house. How shocked was I to see that each day she serves more than one hundred children and men and women with HIV/AIDS from her house. At home when someone says the term soup kitchen, I don’t usually just think soup. All the soup kitchens I have been to include serving mass productions of bread, pasta, canned veggies and occasionally some lasagna. But here at Vivian’s, she served the same soup every day. No one complains, they just bring in their containers and say how many ladles they need. It was amazing.

One thing Vivian made pretty clear was that she really didn’t need us. Mostly we were there to observe and spread the word, she told us. I was a little disappointed by this because I was hoping to work somewhere that needed my help. She didn’t, she had women from the community volunteering on days they could not get any work. So while we were there, I served soup and then per Vivian’s request took pictures of the place. She said that I should send these pictures to her, and also bring them home to show people what I saw.

I might not have done very much acting while at Iliso Care Society, but I did gather enough information about the place so that I will feel connected to it forever. I was able to see something in Vivian that is not something you can find in everyone you meet. I could identify the fight in her, the pure determination to make it. She developed her soup kitchen into a place which is actually considered a registered NGO. She is taking classes on how to be a better manager and she is handling all her own finances and donations in a very professional way.

Vivian knows how marginalized people with HIV/AIDS can be, and how hard it is to survive. Iliso does it’s part by breaking down the stigmas and stereotypes that often hold people back. With more safe havens like Iliso, there would be a greater opportunity for people to identify their problems and work together towards fixing them. The first step towards changing something is getting people together, and Iliso does just that.

Ruth Clark
8 April 2008
Activist Project

Iliso Care Society

Iliso Care Society is not just a soup kitchen in Khayelitsha. It is a safe haven for children, a place for catching up with neighborhood friends, and an inspiration for South Africa’s future. Run by an extraordinary woman named Vivian Zilo right out of her home, Iliso Care Society (meaning “An Eye For Care” in Xhosa) serves hundreds of hungry people every afternoon, five days a week. A record is kept of each person who receives the food by willing volunteers, which is also my role.

The first time I went to Khayalitsha, I was astonished at Vivian’s amount of dedication to her fellow South Africans. Here was a poor woman, living in Khayelitsha herself, giving all she had to as many as she could. She was using her own home as a soup kitchen for anyone who needed it, and also as a shelter for children. She began Iliso all on her own, slowly accruing devoted helpers and eventually becoming a registered non-profit organization. She handles everything from the purchasing of food to the finances, and is even attending a workshop to become a better manager. When Stephanie and I went there, Vivian made it clear that we would be gaining more for ourselves rather than helping others. She encouraged us to take pictures to show at home and to chat with the people coming in. We served some soup, posed for a few photos, and just acquired an understanding of what it is that Vivian really does. And just like she said, I am positive that I got more out of the experience than any Capetonian lining up to get soup.

One thing in particular that struck me was how many people come to get soup, and do so willingly. I could not imagine that many people in one area needing such a small amount of food that desperately. Babies and grannies alike, no one was ashamed of their need. I could not imagine myself, in America, being so humble—if I only had one ounce of their humility! And then to see Vivian, an equal in their eyes, serving them and helping them. I was struck, and knew I needed to go back.

My time in Cape Town will definitely be punctuated by Vivian’s soup kitchen. Ideally, I would like to raise money and awareness back in America to help her cause. An inspiration to me is Jackie Sheltry, who went on this trip last year, and sent me a large amount of money to donate to Vivian during my time there. I would love to be able to say that I will do the same thing, and I am absolutely going to try. To still be connected to a small, but significant, organization in Cape Town a year later is extremely commendable.

Witnessing the work done at Iliso Care Society is also amazing to me because of how it relates to my classes this semester. Learning all about non-profit organizations in Vernon’s class was probably the most obvious, which did make me appreciate Vivian’s more. But seeing all those women come in with babies on their backs and toddlers at their sides and their older children coming with more containers for soup really made me appreciate the work of women in this country. Between Vivian, her volunteers, and these brave mothers, it truly seems that women carry the weight of South Africa. Without these women, the world really would be a different place.


Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Sarah Stockmann on Christel House School

Christel House South Africa is a school for children from townships such as Manenberg, Langa, Hanover Park, and Delft. It is an independent school, and the students pay nothing to go there. The students receive two full meals and snacks at school, which is sometimes the only food that they get all day. Christel House is an international organization with schools in Venezuela, Mexico, India, South Africa, and Indianapolis, Indiana. The South Africa school opened in 2002 with grades one through five. It now has students in grades one through eleven, and will have it's first graduating class next year. Because they have grown so quickly, they now have two different locations, one for grades one through six and the other for grades seven through eleven. They have recently started building a new facility that will be able to accommodate their learners.

As an intern, I have been assisting the teachers in their classrooms. I have mostly been working with grade one learners. Coming into Christel House, about half of the grade one learners do not speak English; they speak only Xhosa. Therefore, there is a teacher's aide in the classroom that translates for the students. There are about thirty students in each class and two classes per grade. Coming from a U.S. perspective, thirty students seems like a lot for one class, but compared to class sizes of 50 or 60 in the public schools in the townships, thirty is quite reasonable.

One of the most rewarding experiences for me has been seeing the Xhosa speaking children gradually learn English. It is amazing how fast they learn and how excited they are when they are able to make sentences and communicate with their teacher without using a translator. By far, my favorite part of the day is "interval" (recess) when all of the student get to go outside and play. As soon as I walk out of the classroom, I am swarmed by students who want to hold my hand and hug me. They also LOVE to play with my hair, which can get kind of overwhelming having 5 or 6 children pulling my hair in every direction. I have had some very memorable moments, and the kids are absolutely adorable.

Here's just one of the many cute conversations I've had--
Me: "I should just pack you up in my suitcase and bring you back to America with me"
Lorenzo (grade 1): "My mommy says we are going to America."
Me: "Well, when you get there, you come knock on my door, okay?"
Lorenzo: "What number are you?"

I have thoroughly enjoyed my internship and recently was accepted into the school of education for elementary education. I am looking forward to bringing this perspective and experience with me as I start my education classes in the fall!

If you are interested in Christel House South Africa, there is a great video online at

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

South African Blessing

South African Blessing

Walk tall, walk well, walk safe, walk free
And may harm never come to thee.

Walk wise, walk good, walk proud, walk true
And may the sun always smile on you.

Walk prayer, walk hope, walk faith, walk light
And may peace always guide you right.

Walk joy, walk brave, walk love, walk strong
And may life always give you song.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Katie's Cape Town Adventures

Below is an email Katherine Welsh sent her family and friends. With her permission i am posting to this blog to provide yet another view of just some of the amazing experiences the Honors in Cape Town students are having. Although not all students have had the opportunity to sit in on South African Parliamentary meetings, or have chosen to ride elephants, bungy jump off the highest bridge, or join meditation classes, Katie's email provides yet another glimpse into why the Honors in Cape Town Program is such an incredible experience!

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Katherine Welsh
Date: Mon, Mar 31, 2008 at 8:20 AM
Subject: THIS IS A SUPER-LONG EMAIL UPDATE FROM CAPE TOWN... I COULDN'T BEAR TO CUT ANYTHING OUT!! (skip to the bungy jumping video for the good stuff)

Already two and a half months into this trip and OH! the places I've found myself! In the last month alone, I looked down my toes off the highest bridge in Africa, stood on a corner waiting to be picked up by a Buddhist monk, played soccer in a township and sat in on a South African Parliamentary meeting. To do justice to my time here in an email will be difficult, but I'll try.

My job is amazing. I work for an organization called Black Sash ( ) where I help with the lobbying they do on social policy issues. Our office serves as a paralegal advice office in addition to its role in the advocacy of and lobbying for important social issues. I'm currently working on an amendment to the Unemployment Insurance where we are lobbying to 'extend the safety net' for citizens and help to alleviate some of the vast poverty that plagues South Africa. This includes spending a lot of time on the phone with government and civil society members and attending Parliamentary Committee meetings where I try to corner Members of Parliament to push our issues. It's great practice for just about any job and I've learned so much about the South African legislative system.

We all have internships in and around Cape Town on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and then classes on Thursday. While we don't get to have classes with South African students, we do have the opportunity to join campus societies at the University of Cape Town. I'm involved with the 'Mused and Bemused' reader and writer society. We meet twice a month, once to share what we're reading and once to share what we're writing. We met last week and hosted an author who is currently a med student at UCT and had the chance to pick her brain on what it's like to be published. She published a book called 'Coconut' and appeared to be a very grounded successful author. The venue couldn't have been cooler either; we met on the rooftop terrace of the very bohemian looking 'Cafe Ganesh' in my favorite part of town called Observatory, or 'Obs'. All the shops and restaurants there have brightly colored walls, mismatched chairs, tables and place settings, and a mix of traditional and more hip African cuisine (a lot of spiced meats, starches, curries and veggies).

About thirteen of us from the house went on a road trip recently. (A total of seventeen students live in my house with an additional ten in another house up the road. Surprisingly, we're still getting along quite well.) We went to a place called Plettenberg Bay for three nights. We hopped on a bus and made it in about twelve hours, two of which were spent sitting on the side of the road when the bus broke down, but otherwise it was a flawless trip. We filled the three days away from Cape Town with hiking, elephant riding, a zipline canopy tour, BUNGY JUMPING! , the beach, and a horseback safari (fortunately the lions were in a fenced-off part of the park). According to the Guinness Book of World Records, our bungy is the highest in the world and after much convincing, all but two of our thirteen ended up jumping. (And yes, if everyone jumped off a bridge... I would too.) AMAZING!

Standing on the corner (of Lafayette? ... Did you know that the inspiration for Paul Simon's Graceland album came from a township not far from me?) waiting to be picked up by a Buddhist monk on the way to meditation class has become a part of my Sunday morning routine. The first time, I wasn't sure if I would recognize him, but fortunately he was hard to miss in the Buddhist monk... uniform? After a few weeks of class, I've decided that meditation class should be a compulsory part of study abroad. Had I realized a few weeks ago that, 'if there's something you can do to change a situation, there is no reason to be unhappy about it and if there's nothing you can do to change a situation, there is no reason to be unhappy about it,' I think I might have had a smoother transition to Cape Town life...

I've also had numerous opportunities to spend time in townships. The people there generally know before we even open our mouths that we're not South African because, according to them, there is no way a white South African would ever spend any time in the townships. Despite the fact that the majority of South Africans live in these townships, they still seem to be portrayed as mysterious and dangerous places by those who don't live there. All we ever really hear is about the poverty and HIV/AIDS, so it's hard to understand what life is like there unless you visit yourself. I was fortunate enough to be invited to an initiation ceremony by an American friend of mine who used to teach in a township. One of her former students returned from 'the bush' recently after his 'becoming a man'. (In Xhosa culture, that's circumcision) The party included all of his relatives and friends, the 'mamas' inside and the men sitting on benches in the garage. Everyone took turns giving him advice on what it is 'to be a man' and then he was gifted with furniture and appliances. If we could all be so lucky.

We've also gotten involved with a youth programme in Khayelitsha, Cape Town's largest township. People generally estimate that about one million people live there, but as most of them live in shacks it's impossible to get an accurate count. A few people in our program have their internships there working with HIV/AIDS prevention or education. At Hope Worldwide, one of my housemates works with a guy named Vuyane who, in addition to his work with Hope Worldwide, started a youth program that facilitates a pick-up soccer league and a drama club. We went to challenge one of the teams in a 'football match' and watch their drama performances. I was so moved by their plays which are all based on very real life experiences of rape, the clash of traditional and modern cultures, HIV/AIDS and race. A 14-year-old named Wanda closed the day's activities by performing his poetry as follows (we asked him to write it down for us):

"Lost in the dark depressions not knowing where to turn to
I opened the windows to my soul to see what I could learn.
With witches and demons chasing I could not get close by.
I shouted God's name out loud and a sword came flying by.
I took it with might and swung it with power
And I sent all the evil witches straight to hell.
I climbed out of the window and I am free as a bird.
The only brave person I know,
It's well me and myself!"

Not only was it an impressive performance on its own, but it was also in his second language. Most of the kids spoke English only if they were older than twelve and had had substantial class time in English.

We have come to understand that the crime and HIV/AIDS that originate in the townships are a result of the apartheid that lasted until 1994. If the situation in South Africa is to improve, there needs to be a fundamental change from the ground up. When black and 'coloured' people were moved off the 'white areas' and into townships in the 60's and 70's, there was a sudden shift in their family structures. Mothers were forced to work, both parents had to travel longer to get to their job, pay more for transportation and work longer to make up for it. Thus, township children very suddenly found themselves without supervision. The immediate result was the plethora of drug and crime problems that exist today. In the time since 1994, children have been the focus of programs combating the attraction of gang life, and one of the best strategies is to provide extracurricular alternatives.

So, the soccer league is more than your average soccer league, it becomes change in a very tangible way. The kids involved perform better in school and generally stay out of trouble. It is for this reason that I am trying to help Vuyane register as a Non-Profit Organization so that he can more easily acquire funding. In the meantime, with the support of Windsor Youth Soccer, Windsor High School and my wonderful boyfriend, Fred, and his friends in Canada, I am having cleats and other soccer equipment collected and sent over here. As we watched kids play barefoot on fields littered with glass and sharp rocks, I couldn't help but think of the six pairs (if not more) of soccer cleats that we have just sitting in the attic. CLEATS FOR KHAYELITSHA (keye-leech-ah) is an initiative that will collect used and new cleats in addition to other soccer equipment. I am hoping to get sponsored by of one of the shipping companies as I have heard that they will sometimes send things for charities for free. If anybody would like to help, donate, or get rid of their old soccer gear, please let me know!

So this is my less than brief rundown of my time here thus far. I'm so lucky to have the chance to continue doing these programs, I have learned so much about a wonderful new place! I'm looking forward to sharing more of my experiences with you when I return, thanks so much for the support I've received while here!



Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Day in Durban, 25 Mar 2008

March 25
Day in Durban

Beginning with what can only be described as a spectacular sunrise, the day was designed for students to choose to do those things that were most appropriate for them. Some enjoyed relaxing on the beach; others attempted surfing; some went shopping at Indian Market. What follows are a few brief reflections on and links to pictures of, those things that I did.

As all who know me realize, I am a very early riser! With that said, for me, having my first cup of coffee on the balcony of the Blue Waters Hotel, overlooking the beach at Durban, was a perfect way to start my day. As I watched the sun begin to rise over the water, I saw three figures far off in the distance at the water’s edge --– two women and a man. It was only when I saw the guy push back his hair, that i realized one of those three had to be Tim! The zoom on my camera revealed that he was joined by Alla and Michelle. I must admit, of the hundreds of pictures I snapped on this trip, the pictures of the sunrise at Durban are definitely among my favorites. You can view them by clicking the title of this post or by going to

After a wonderful buffet breakfast, some of us headed off for a bit of shopping at the Victorian Street Indian Market “If you ever find yourself in Durban, the largest city in KwaZulu-Natal (and third largest in the country), you are in for a treat. Over 170 stalls, including Indian, Chinese and Taiwanese food, can be found at “the Vic”, located in a building that looks like a Maharajah’s palace, complete with purple minarets. Indian and African produce are available, along with handcrafts and prepared food. Durban has a huge Indian population — the largest outside of Asia — its size mirrored in the Vic’s bounty of barrels, overflowing with fragrant Indian spices. Men in their kurtas and women in their saris sell their wares in this extensive bazaar.” You can read more about the market at (since i was too busy looking around to take any pictures!)

Back to the hotel to drop off those who wanted to spend the afternoon on the beach, we picked up others interested in going to for a visit to the Jumah Mosque.

“Built in 1927 it is the largest mosque in the Southern Hemisphere. The architectural style is an interesting combination of Islamic and Colonial. It has colonnaded verandahs, a gold-domed minaret, and many turrets that dominate the whole street, lending it an atmosphere of the East.” The narrow entrance is on Queen Street and, after asking several people, we found that we could have a guided tour by going across the street and inquiring at the Islamic Propagation Centre. More pictures of our time at the Mosque are available at

Next we were off to see the Valley of 1000 Hills and although it took our drivers a little while to find it, we all agreed it was definitely worth the trip, both in terms of beauty and souvenir shopping. More pictures of our time at the Valley of 100 Hills can be found at

We returned to the hotel in time to get ready for dinner at the Roma Revolving Restaurant, which features a “large spread of Italian cuisine prepared with personal service and a superb view of Durban, from the 32nd floor of John Ross House where you can be enchanted by the lights of South Africa’s fun city.” However,any students had never been in a revolving restaurant and i must admit, not everyone found it 'enchanting' to be revolving 360 degrees while eating dinner. You can view the menu and pictures on-line at (I did not bring my camera to dinner!)

Monday, March 24, 2008

St. Lucia Estuary and on to Durban

March 24
Packed up to leave Sand Forest Lodge to enjoy 3-hour boat tour through St. Lucia Estuary Perfect day but a bit too sunny for some of us to remain on the deck but, whether on top or inside the Ferry, we all had an opportunity to see hippos galore!

Back on shore we departed for Durban, stopping along the way to have lunch at the Quarter Deck, where, in addition to lunch we were treated to a Zulu dance performance but some local kids.

A 3 ½ hour drive to Durban allowed us to settle into our rooms at the Blue Waters Hotel in Durban As we were checking in we realized we had arrived at this beach front hotel shortly before the closing of the Hare Krishnas 20th annual Ratha-yatra (Festival of Chariots), allowing us to walk outside and watch as thousands paraded by our hotel.

Continuing down the beach we arrived at 7:30 for a fabulous dinner at the Havana Grill (, located in the Suncoast Casino ( After a several hour relaxing dinner, some of us headed back to the hotel, while an energetic group decided to try their hand at the casino.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Hluhluwe Game Reserve 23 March

March 23

Quite assuredly unlike any Easter Sunday morning I had ever experienced. We were met at our cabins by three driver/guides from Thompsons Africa Touring & Safaris for our 6-hour morning game drive through Umfolozi Hluhluwe Game Reserve The guides had amazing knowledge of not only all the animals but also how to spot them from further away then any human eye could possibly see. They are all exceptionally well trained having been required to take classes, pass exams, participate in a practicum which is followed by a stringent assessment, before taking classes on first aid and completing yet another class on how to manage people on safari –very impressive.

The drive itself was amazing for both the beauty of the landscape, as well as the animals. We stopped at a picnic area about ½ through the drive and ‘feasted’ on the interesting breakfast that had been provided by the folks at Sand Forest – hard boiled eggs, a variety of sandwiches, fruit, cookies, water . . . but no coffee ; - (

The Zebra entertained us as we ate and many took posed and candid shots of both the animals and one another before continuing on our way to see yet more animals and breath taking views.

Following the drive we stopped at Hotel Hluhluwe for lunch before returning to Sand Forest. The afternoon provided a time for some to rest and relax while others of us were transported to the Craft Market for a bit of shopping.

(the one truly unfortunate part of the day was that Joelle was sick and unable to join us for the game drive which was one of the things she had most excitedly anticipated---we all missed being able to share the day with her, but believe her speedy recuperation and the remainder of the trip, helped to mediate her disappointment).

Finished the day with dinner in the dining room. Great conversations and a chance to relax and catch up.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Durban to Sand Forest Lodge

I do believe that everyone who participated in our week long “spring break” Durban Excursion agrees it was absolutely wonderful. Many thanks to Jeffrey Smith, the RA who planned and coordinated the trip.

Ben Brown and Vernon Rose also accompanied us, offering much support, good humor, and enjoyment to the overall success of the adventure (Ben also provided wake-up calls to some very weary travelers on some very early mornings!) The trip provided a wonderful mixture of adventure and relaxation, with plenty of free time for people to select the types of activities that most appealed to them.

With only slight apologies for the unedited accumulation of pictures, you can find pictures of each of the activities in which I was an active participant or interested observer at

Two make things a bit more manageable and to be able to upload a large quantity of pictures i have separated them by day.

March 22
Picked up at 6:00am for transport to Cape Town International Airport for our 8:30am flight. We arrived in Durban International about 10:30 where we were greeted by two wonderful drivers who accompanied us throughout the entire time of our travels. Following a 3 ½ hour drive, with a brief stop for lunch along the way, we arrived at Sand Forest Lodge and got settled into our cabins just before the first of many thunder storms. The storm was quite remarkable, lighting up the sky to reveal the animals roaming the grounds. The storm ended, though the puddles remained, as we made our way to the dining hall for a wonderful dinner and some lively conversation. We enjoyed a wonderful evening but remained well aware of the fact that our morning would begin before sunrise and we all wanted to be wide awake as we headed for our game drive.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Human Rights Day, 21 March '08

Many students decided to spend at least some of Human Rights Day, Friday 21 March 2008, at the Cape Town Festival at Company’s Garden. The theme, appropriately is “One City Many Cultures”

The Human Rights Day Concert in Cape Town’s Company Gardens has been rated as one of the most popular components of the annual Cape Town Festival. The event promotes awareness of the inalienable human rights of all people through music, traditional blessings and inspirational words of local dignitaries. This concert is the official Western Cape provincial celebration of the public holiday.

In 2008, Human Rights Day falls on Good Friday, a holy day celebrated by Christians around the world. Friday is also a holy day for Jews and Muslims.

Scheduled on Human Rights Day, 21 March, the event stages the best dancers and local musicians performing contemporary sacred music in the exceptional outdoor venue of Company’s Garden.

Music and dance starts mid morning, a short multi-denominational Human Rights Day Ceremony is hosted after 2pm, before the main music programme. The show is timed with the headline act on stage by sunset. This years headline act was the Soweto Gospel Choir

Entrance is free to the public and festival researchers reported attendance in excess of 16 000 people during the course of the Human Rights Day Concert on 21 March 2007.

The music programme spans diverse genres and draws an audience representative of Cape Town’s population on this important pubic holiday. The show draws families, youth and all lovers of live music performance.

(The billing typically includes artists from Cape Town, South Africa. Last year’s headline act was Freshlyground (MTV winner for Best Group - Africa) and the year before Judith Sephuma.)

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden

March 16, 2008 I accompanied Ben Brown, (Loch Road RA extraordinaire), and Lara Edmonds together with her mom, Alice, and sister, Marisa, who were visiting from Connecticut, to Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden for a wonderful picnic and sunset concert. This following a day which included Palm Sunday Mass at St Patrick Church in Mowbray, breakfast at Greek, and shopping at Green Point Market with a stop to pick up crackers, cheese, fruit, soda, wine and dessert to enjoy at sunset, listening to a concert, in the shadow of Table Mountain, in what surely must be one of the most beautiful places in all the world

Below is some info from the website regarding the gardens and the summer concert series. Pictures taken by Lara's mom can be found at

Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden is "world-renowned for the beauty and diversity of the Cape flora it displays and for the magnificence of its setting against the eastern slopes of Table Mountain. 

Kirstenbosch grows only indigenous South African plants. The estate covers 528 hectares and supports a diverse fynbos flora and natural forest. The cultivated garden (36 hectares) displays collections of South African plants, particularly those from the winter rainfall region of the country. It was founded in 1913."

Kirstenbosch Summer Sunset Concerts are a fantastic way to spend a Sunday afternoon in Cape Town. The concert venue is within the botanical gardens with concerts every Sunday, from November to April. The Kirstenbosch Concerts have a special feel to them mainly due to the breathtaking setting. Part of the charm also lies in the warm, friendly and relaxed atmosphere, with concert goers picnicking on the soft grass banks that slope downwards towards the stage. An excellent way to enjoy the concert is to pack a delicious picnic basket, bring along friends and family and find a spot on the Kirstenbosch slopes. The concerts are very popular so get there early to ensure you get a good spot. While waiting for the concert to begin take in the beautiful surroundings of the world famous garden.

16 March Concert: Selaelo Selota & Karen Zoid
Selaelo Selota is one of South Africa’s foremost Afro-Jazz musicians. This multi-talented guitarist, singer, songwriter, composer and producer was the winner of the ‘Best Newcomer’ and ‘Best Contemporary Jazz Album’ categories at the 2001 SAMA awards. His first two albums ‘Painted Faces’ and ‘Enchanted Gardens’ both went gold and his latest offering 'The Azanian Songbook' has been released on his own label.

Multi award-winning singer-songwriter, composer, cultural icon and rock diva Karen Zoid started out as a busker on the street corners of Melville, Johannesburg. Since then she has gone on to win numerous awards, headline at most of the country’s major music festivals and be voted one of the ‘Top 6 Rising Stars of South Africa’ by the Sunday Times. She is a prolific songwriter and has written songs for several SA artists as well as a theme for a TV series. She recently released her fourth album ‘Postmodern World’.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Katy Sileo on her internship and Delft

By Katy Sileo

The Gender Equity Unit is an organization located at the University of the Western Cape. The main focus of our programs is geared to continuously challenging gender inequalities, eliminate inequalities and to acknowledge and address diversity issues in the cause of social justice. The GEU monitors and reviews University policies and practices with regard to gender equity, advocates for women's rights on campus,engages in community outreach, and provides a safe space for students to organize around social issues. Some of my personal contributions to the GEU so far have been organizing, interviewing, and managing student volunteers. I also am organizing and participating in community outreach. Last week we visited Delft, a community in need, and provided basic necessities and medical treatment. After our community outreach to Delft, I am starting a fundraiser so that the GEU can go back to Delft and provide more aid. I also spoke as a guest lecturer in a Women and Gender Studies undergraduate class on Gender in a cross-cultural persepctive. We are currently planning a weekend retreat to train all of the University's "Gender Equity Officers" on gender sensitivity and awareness.

On Delft Outreach:

The Gender Equity Unit went with other organizations from the University of the Western Cape on Saturday March 3, 2008 to Delft, a South African community. The people of Delft have recently been forcefully evicted from unfinished governmental housing. Many of these people have been on a waiting list for housing for 20 years. We provided them with toiletries, as well as basic first aid. We spent the day talking to them and providing both physical and emotional support. The people were extremely welcoming and grateful for the support. It was an incredible experience.


Dear Family and Friends,

I had the opportunity on Saturday to visit and provide support to people in need in Delft, a South African community, with my internship at the Gender Equity Unit. At this particular location in Delft, there are hundreds of homeless families facing hunger and sickness. They have recently been forcefully evicted from unfinished governmental houses that they have been promised, however many of them have been on the waiting list for 20 years. These people have very little and were so grateful for the few rolls of toilet paper and first aid we were able to provide them.

I'd like to ask all of you to help me in supporting the people of Delft with a donation, even something as small as $2.00 per person can make a difference. In the next two weeks, I'd like to ask you to collect whatever donations you can from family, friends, and coworkers. Forward this email to everyone you know or put out a collection jar at your office. Please make sure everything you collect gets back to

Diane Sileo
404 Broadwell Ave.
Union, NJ 07083

By March 25th. Diane is my mother and will send me all proceeds. With all of your generous donations, I'd like to go back to Delft and provide them with further first aid and basic necessities.

Attached are pictures of those who will benefit from your generosity. Please email me with any further questions. Thank you all so much for your help, together we can really do something great!


Katy Sileo

Katy & Lara visit Delft

Katy Sileo and Lara Edmonds are interning at the University of the Western Cape at the Gender Equity Unit. Hearing that students from campus were going to spend their Saturday bringing supplies to families who had been evicted from homes in Delft they decided to joint them. Below is a story of the event written by Thomas Helton. Photos taken by Thomas that day are available on my photo page at

And, his article"Out of Africa:Delft: more than a word, forever more than a place" by Thomas Helton can be read at

Friday, March 7, 2008

Dance for Peace

On March 8th, I joined several of the students from the program, together with Sandeli, Amanda, & Molly to attend an incredible performance of Dance for Peace. Although we were not able to take pictures of the performance itself, above is a picture of the program and below is a poem written by one of the stars of the show, Lindiwe Rose (daughter of Vernon Rose).

There is also a link to some pictures taken at my flat where some of us met to have some pizza before attending the show.

Dance for Peace
One step at a time


Joseph Stone Auditorium
March 5th-8th, 2008

These Dreams…
By Lindiwe Rose

With my eyes open wide I dream
Dreams of pride I take it in my stride
Hoping to provide the peace, love and happiness
We’ll need to survive
These dreams of hope
These dreams of prosperity

I open my eyes to a world of positivity
Where my ministry does not contribute to my abnormality
Because you’ve experienced something other than negativity
You’ve now chosen to see my sanity
In these dreams we unite
To celebrate our individuality
We show strength and power through loving unconditionally
Where our conversations are motivational
Educational, inspirational
We live beyond the physical
Those dreams when we’re awake
We know they are real
Just believe and treasure
That we are powerful beyond measure


Saturday, March 1, 2008

Cape Town midpoint update

Hello from incredible Cape Town,

Every day I am thankful to be here – it has been a wonderful and rewarding experience for me on so very many levels—more than I could have ever anticipated.

The students are amazing. Their commitment, wisdom, idealism and vision continue to inspire me and help me to keep hope alive. In addition to their internships, which have provided them with first hand experience to integrate their academic knowledge with personal and professional experience, they are all involved in activist projects in a sector beyond their field placement, and they are, of course, taking every opportunity to get to know the people, customs, and country.

And in Cape Town, the landscape itself continues to provide lessons.

For me, the omnipresent mountains have become a guiding force --- always there as a point of reference —not only to provide direction as I travel but perspective as I confront challenges. I look up and know I am going in the right direction, both figuratively and literally! I continue to be astonished by the calm that comes over me when I gaze upon the incredible beauty, strength and endurance! Certainly not an original thought, but none the less a profoundly personal awakening.

Hard to believe that 7 of our 15 weeks in Cape Town are behind us —the time is truly flying by.

Anyone who has checked my fledgling blog has surely noticed that nothing has been added in over a month—until today!!

Now that we are approaching the 1/2 way mark I have decided to at least get the pics from the first part of our trip in order. Therefore, you can check out new pictures of all 25 fabulous interns which have been posted both on my blog and at the webpage site on which I have posted pictures taken since our arrival --- now somewhat organized (and some, if not all, are even labeled) —
You can check them out at

(I know many of the students are posting pictures regularly on their Facebook pages--- so for those who can negotiate Facebook you may be able to find even more pictures from a wide array of places that I myself have not visited).

On the up and coming front:
• From March 22-29 the group will be on an excursion in the Durban area. I will post the finalized itinerary within the next few days. I trust that trip will be yet another adventure from which we will all be able to further expand our horizons.
• I am asking each student to write a blurb about how their placement is going, what they are doing for their activist projects, and at least one significant thing they have learned since arriving. I will post their responses to the blog as I receive them. (I have no doubt you will be as impressed as I)


In peace, with hope,

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Alex Estes Journal Entry 12 Feb 08

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Today was a slightly livelier day in the care and support office, as we were able to journey out to the community. Relatively early in the day, we went to the store with Nolubabalo and Nolundi and purchased food for the support group we were going to visit.

We eventually arrived at the support group, which was located within a shack within an informal settlement area, positioned on a very sandy hill that overlooked the ocean in the highest parts. We delivered various food parcel packs that are given out once a month: 2 sacks of samp (a bean/corn mixture), 2 sacks of mealie pap (a corn-based porridge that is a staple in the South African diet), 2 things of canned veggies and a sizeable portion of oatmeal. The group was also given sausage, veggies and fruit that we purchased at Shoprite, which was prepared while the Hope women did their workshop on how to care for those living with HIV/AIDS. While the training was in Xhosa, Sabrina made notes on papers tacked to the wall, in English. The training consisted of a revision from last week, including: how to transmit HIV, how to prevent HIV, how to educate about HIV. The new training was all on the topic of disclosure, how to disclose, and why it’s important to disclose. The group came up with a variety of answers about stress relief, seeking support, seeking treatment, preventing HIV amongst loved ones, etc.

The training seemed relatively short, and when it was over, the ladies served sausage, potatoes, pap, and gravy to everyone. Sabrina and I were offered a hefty portion, but we declined initially, and then after one of the staff members urged us to try it, we shared a plate. It was quite good but very filling.

The interactions with the community members were not bad, but not good. It was awkward being with the older adults who most likely questioned our presence. We were not formally introduced to the group, so there may have been some suspicions. One woman who passed by the group asked me if there was perhaps any domestic work I would have her do. Again, they put us to work passing out food, which is always uncomfortable for me, especially to adults.

However, when it came time to give out the meal, the women were so willing to share with us—regardless of knowing that we were not in need. They were so gracious and smiled so brightly when given the opportunity to serve us, despite that we were strangers, despite being Americans, despite not looking hungry, and despite us initially declining their offer. The sense of welcoming was a far cry from today, when our house met to discuss the specifics of the braai we’re having, nitpicking about the individual costs and contributions, making bitter comments about who’s buying what. Having all of the food and the resources that we need while we are here, why is it so difficult for us to extend the same courtesy that is given to us by those who have literally NOTHING? People are sharing the food that they get for free, with huge smiles and the best of intentions--because it is the right thing to do --no matter who the guest is: stranger or friend, rich or poor. But no! Our group has to get technical about making sure that the work and money that is contributed is equitable. Why does it matter, given that we have everything we need, we most likely always will, and it amounts to arguing over the equivalent of 2 or 3 dollars? I had to excuse myself from the room, and couldn’t help but have a mini-breakdown, thinking about the life I live, the things I take for granted, the judgments I make, the things I choose to focus my energy on, the grudges I hang on to, the injustice and indignity of the way of life for people in Khayelitsha, who, on many occasions, go days without food but yet have remarkably learned to extend to a neighbor all that they have, willingly and graciously.

In this, I have realized that after this experience, I will never be the same. Or at least, I hope I will never be the same.