These past view days have been heavy. What we have encountered in Cape Town is real, everything from the coast line and massive houses to the train , townships, and clinics and even more real are the people. The individuals who have gone through and are still working through the issues of South Africa have faces and names.
The District 6 Museum is a place for people to remember and give tribute to the people of a district that was thriving and vibrant and then destroyed because of greed and racism. It is important to educate yourself about events and you hope to learn from them. I left feeling heartbroken but to hear our tour guide (a former resident of District 6) talk about fighting for issues of social justice and relating what he has learned from his experience to current issues gave hope because has he found a way to live in the after math and also helps provide a lens for people learning about District 6 and apartheid.
Yesterday we went to Hout Bay and a friend of Nate's showed us around Mandela Park a neighborhood and unofficial settlement where Nate used to live and work. The experience was raw and I am still having difficulty describing all that I saw and feel. The homes of the people have bathrooms, bedrooms, living rooms, and outside areas. They may not fit our idea of a traditional house or home but just like everyone they make due with what they have and have friends, family, and neighbors. The children were splashing themselves with water like many do on a hot day and chasing each other. We were invited into a home and the woman took much pride in her arrangement and the great view that she had. It was still hard to see and hear about some of the problems that the area is having but it opened my eyes to a little wider to the human condition.
Today we went to our service-learning site in Delft , a township about 30 minutes away from Cape Town. We will be working with an organization called Ma Afrika Tikkun. Anthea, the leader at the center gave us a tour of the area . We went around with some home hospice workers and we also took a tour of the hospital. Going around with the hospice women and Anthea helped give faces to the women described in an article for class, Townships in Transition: Women's Caring Keeps the Township Together. The piece was about how woman in the townships are essential to community as they provide care but it also talked about how care as defined by government documents does not identify that these woman are keystone to the townships.
The construction of femininity and women as natural caretakers has taken focus off of men as caretakers and has led to a change in family dynamic and care responsibility. Today did give witness to the important place that woman have in the community from youth worker and hospital manager to hospice worker, and mother.