Saturday, August 13, 2016

Cape Town

Our visit to Cape Town was very different compared to Port Elizabeth. It was a very busy city, reminded me of Washington D.C. The people of the city did not seem as welcoming and personable as they were in PE. Although the landscape and coast were beautiful and the streets rich with history, I preferred our quaint time in PE to the time spent in Cape Town.

Robben Island

One of our excursions was a visit to Robben Island. For those of you who don't know what that is, it is an old prison where Nelson Mandela among other political prisoners were kept. Our tour guide was Kgotso Glen Ntsoelengoe, a former prisoner who served 6 and a half years. It was an incredible experience to have a first hand account of that time in history. I can only imagine what it would have been like to be imprisoned because of your beliefs.

Open room that housed the prisoners who were not well known. They kept the high profile prisoners in their own cells as not to cause problems between inmates.

Typical meals for the prisoners.

Nelson Mandela's old cell. No toilet, just a bucket.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Bayworld Museum School

On our last day in Port Elizabeth we were fortunate enough to visit Bayworld. It is a natural and cultural history museum that hosts an Educational Program for thousands of the surrounding area schools. The learners come from all over the area to learn about conservation, marine life, reptiles, maritime, and local history. The museum is booked a year in advance and is very popular among area schools. We had a great time visiting the marine life and watching some educational programs that were taking place during our visit.

Last Day at Emafini

Today was our last day at Emafini. The staff said goodbye to us by hosting a Farewell Celebration. They danced and sang in Xhosa wearing their traditional dress. It was so amazing. Then we went to a braai (BBQ) at Principal McKay's house that evening. Such a warm and caring group of people. It was a bittersweet experience. I am sad to leave such an awe inspiring place but I am excited to return home to my family.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Women's Day

Today was National Women's Day in South Africa. This public holiday commemorates the 1956 march of over 20,000 women who were petitioning against  the country's "pass laws". This law required people who were defined as "black" to carry an internal passport. The reason for the pass law was to maintain population segregation, control urbanization, and mange migrant labor during the apartheid era. This is an important day in the history of South Africa and has been celebrated since 1994.
Lucky for us, the day turned out to be the most beautiful and warmest day of our trip. We took a stroll to a local park and walked along the beach. Happy Women's Day!

Friday, August 5, 2016

Lunch Time!

Lunchtime at township school is very different than lunchtime at an American public school. One reason is that lunch is provided by the government for ALL students for FREE. They must have a meat, vegetables and a carbohydrate (rice, meal, etc). The lunch ladies prepare the food all from scratch (in contrast to our American processed, chemical nightmare) every single day. The parent workers, as well as older students, then deliver bowls of food to each class. They carry around a huge bowl and buckets to serve from to each class. The students, or learners they call them, then each get a bowl of food in which they use a spoon brought from home, to eat while finishing up their work. If they don't have a spoon, they either use their fingers or wait for someone to finish their food so they can borrow their spoon. The entire time I was at the school, I never heard a single complaint about what they were getting. They took the bowl of food graciously and ate every bit of it. Some examples of the foods served are a bowl of cabbage, pumpkin, meal (that is what they call it, it was some kind of grain similar to grits) with fish gravy. Another day they served cabbage, rice, and a small (and by small I mean like 2 inch) chicken leg. VERY different than chicken nuggets, hot dogs or pizza. I can't imagine what my students would do if they were served a meal like this!

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Election Day

Today is Election Day in South Africa. We do not have school because it is considered a Holiday. The streets and places around our hotel are not busy. Interesting that they provide time for people to actually get the the poll to vote. It is important enough for them that they make it more accessible for the voters. Maybe America should take note. ????