Scott Michaelis January 18th 2012. So we.ve been home for a few days now and I don't think the shock and awe have rubbed off just yet. An opportunity of a lifetime shouldn't be restricted to three weeks, but dreams are more highly held because they take us away from reality not encompass it. Looking back on the trip, Africa was gorgeous and the experience was second to none, but what I will remember most is the vibrance of the people. Despite all of the hardships we saw while in S. Africa the people had a resilience and passion about them that I have never experienced before. For those reasons the Africa trip was also interestingly spiritual, not necessarily religious although some people spoke to that effect, I think I experienced someone a little bit deeper than just an incredible three weeks and found something a little bit greater. This may sound a little bit crazy, but unless it was experienced it is hard to believe and I think if anyone from this group was asked we could all speak about how there was something spiritual about South Africa. Being home now has been kinda weird, like I never left because the trip went by so fast. Yet, here I am all ready to start my second day of classes in this Minnesota cold. It is weird when people ask me about my time in South Africa because I don't know how to answer a 1 minute question with a lifetime of experiences. However, back to reality emphasizes I am home, and also eludes to another trip, who knows South Africa perhaps again sometime soon.
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Scott Michaelis - January 13th Unfortunately I have been able to share this experience with all of the people that have helped me make it to this juncture of my life, however, I carry a piece from all of you as you have made me who I am. This is ubuntu to me, I am a collection of the people that have influenced me in my life and this experience has been a reflective process, as well as a new one and one I most definitely will not forget. I'm not sure how I will react to being back in the states in just over several days now, but I don't think I am too nervous but more excited to share this experience with the people that have gotten me here. I am also very excited to incorporate some of the amazing people I have met on this trip into my life back in the states and am happy and fortunate to call them friends. This crazy weird collection of people have transformed from friends I have met and made abroad to a family that I bring back to the United States with me. I was always afraid of blinking while I was in S. Africa as though I would wake up form this dream, but with the trip nearly over I am starting to understand that is exactly what it has been, a dream. Still not ready to be back in the states, but for dreams like this to come true reality must be lived on occasion to make us understand what we are gaining while abroad.
Scott Michaelis January 10th, 2012 As some of the facebook pictures indicate I.ve been spent four days in the township, Delft, working and most of that time has been with kids (as all of the pictures have me covered in paints). The first day however, we got a tour of the main area in the township and we spent some time getting a tour of the clinic. For those of you at home that don't know what a township is, it is the equivalent to a shanty town, or extreme ghetto of sorts where six to eight people typically live in a single bedroom or very small home. Petty crimes are very common and drug use as well as rape seem to run out of control with some of the conversations we've had with people that live in the township. The tour of the clinic was heart wrenching and very difficult, and after the tour we took a group picture and one of our African leaders tried to get us to smile. At the time I was almost confused as it was obvious that most of us were pretty torn by the tour, but I thought about it afterwards and we collectively talked about emotions while being in these extreme conditions and tears and sympathy doesn't do a whole lot for the people living here. Human emotions are really hard to deal with while in those situations, but a smile can convey hope while I believe sympathy doesn't have a home in the township unless it helps progress someone towards help for the people living there. On another note, the days are going by way too fast and the entire experience is starting to melt together, did I mention it's hot as hell here right now?apparently it hit low 90's today in the township. I do love the summer season and its been awesome to wear shorts and plan out days to the beach, but this ginger body needs to take the heat/sun in doses. The last few days we've visited Robben Island, the two oceans aquarium, the waterfront market, the green square market, district six and are about to head to the top of table mountain for a little hiking and sight seeing (check out pictures on-line if you're unfamiliar). Tomorrow is a day off and I've been planning a few things out and hope everything pans out but I suppose I can blog about that perhaps tomorrow night. I don't want to spend anymore time blogging with weather and sight-seeing waiting. Unfortunately I'll be leaving and seeing all of you soon. :)
Haven't blogged while in country yet, sorry for slacking everyone. Anyways been here in South Africa for something like 2 weeks and it has been a bomb experience. We started off by heading into the mountains on a retreat as an entire group and immediately started to gel collectively. We took in a few hikes and were outdoors pretty much the entire 3 days and 2 nights we were up there and it was gorgeous. The mountains and the safari bush were something I will surely not forget soon but the people I encountered while we were up there were absolutely remarkable, and the peace they have found in those mountains is almost a religious experience. Since we've been back it has been pretty nonstop, we have been volunteering at Afrika Tukun (sorry I am sure this is spelt wrong) taking part in the 3 credit class that we are here for, so subsequently going to class every few days to talk about social injustice and things that we see and experience. We have also gone on some really cool field trips to different neighborhood's of South Africa, museums, markets, etc. etc.. Today is one of our days off and I am heading to the beach with a couple people to get surfing lessons and just hang out for the better part of the morning. Originally I wanted to go cage diving for sharks, but its the low season for them and I wasn't trying to spend a bunch of money on something that would have been very hit or miss especially with so few full days off left, 2 after today. I have been looking into visiting and indigenous peoples village on maybe our next day off which would be pretty sweet. I'll get into a better routine of using this thing and keeping everyone up to date on events and days. Love everyone back home, but am not concerned about coming back or spending too much time thinking about you while I'm here. I'll post again soon, Scott
Hey everyone, I suppose I can't delay this blog posting any longer but find myself packing and posting a little later than I should be. The past several months I haven't gotten as good of a chance as I should have to look forward to, or to get excited about leaving, with classes and finals still in front of me. After cramming for a week, I've been home for just over four days now and I can't believe I'll be crossing through security in half a day. The past several days have allowed me time to appreciate family, friends, and well deserved time off, which has gotten me thinking about what's really important. My family and friends primarily, and one of the important things about these people is the person they have helped me to become today, and more importantly someone I want them to be proud of tomorrow. Going to South Africa is something I have wanted to do for several years now, and the opportunity to volunteer and take a class was simply too good to pass up. Volunteering is something that I really do value and I think taking time to help others, or better others, is something an Individualistic nation often forgets. I do not think there is a single aspect of this three week opportunity I am not extremely excited about and feel like I will learn as much about myself as I will about the people and culture of South Africa. Well I plan on getting back to playing some family games and possibly even packing. Airport in 12 hours, Merry Christmas, Scott