I've been procrastinating with blogging due to so many full days of activities; it's been hard to find time to sit down and write!! When I reflect on the few weeks that have past, I can't believe I've fit all a large number of events into 3 weeks here in South Africa. I can honestly say that I've climbed rocky South African mountains, swam in natural springs after long hikes, assisted a braai with group leaders, celebrated new year's eve with great new friends in the downtown streets of Cape Town, visited the District 6 Museum where our guide shared personal stories with us about his pre/present/post-apartheid journey, walked through the St. George's Cathedral crypt where Desmond Tutu and other leaders preached, enjoyed a day at the beach with new local friends, worked with children and met families in Delft township, contributed to the Afrika Tikkun community center by gardening and painting a few of their offices, visited the only accessible health clinic in the township in Delft, had conversations with nurses from the Delft Clinic, interacted with wonderful families in Delft during the home visits, rode a ferry to Robben Island to see the land and jail cell that Nelson Mandela and many other peace activists were imprisoned in for several years, took cable cars up to the Table Mountain to see Cape Town from above, went to Two Oceans Aquarium to see underwater fish and creatures, enjoyed the privilege to venture through rural lands in South Africa on a Wine Tour and taste homemade wines, cheeses and chocolate, went on a Safari and got the opportunity to see wild animals (elephants, lions, springbok, wildebeests, zebras, ostriches, rhino, hippos and giraffes) up close, bargained for souvenirs at the Green Market, watched the new years day parade, wandered through a diverse butterfly garden, interacted with a small monkey, pet 3 cheetahs and I'm sure there are a few other things I've forgotten to mention. It doesn't seem possible that I've been fortunate enough to be a part of these moments. Each of these experiences have been incredible; they will continue to remain as important memories which have definitely been a positive contribution to my life. Aside from just experience, I've sensed tremendous growth in my learning. Tremendous growth. I feel a shift in some of my naive viewpoints that restricted me from keeping an open mind about culture, language and people. There has been no other class where I've felt such a strong challenge to question my personal beliefs and different ways of thinking. This trip has been humbling in inexplicable ways. There are certain similarities between our contemporary American culture and South African culture but I've witnessed thousands of differences as well which can become quite an interesting discussion. The people I've met who have witnessed and dealt with heavy oppression during and post-apartheid are so wise and free spirited, I am touched by their intellectual thoughts and personal stories they share with me. I love the people here. I've needed this trip so bad! SO THANKFUL!