It's very hard for me to sit here and write this blog post. I want to be in denial as long as possible that this trip is really over. Luckily, our incredibly busy final week here was completely jam packed with more amazing things to do. There's so much to talk about so I'll just highlight some of my favorite moments from the week.
On Monday morning we returned to Afrika Tikkun after our weekend break. That morning we went to a day care center in Delft where one woman was taking care of many children. I had a blast playing with the kids. There was an adorable baby boy there who was a bit fussy, but he was so cute! It was amazing to watch the kids interact with each other. There was no fighting amongst any of them and the older ones were so helpful when it came to taking care of the little ones. It was so sweet to watch. We spent the entire morning at the day care and although I felt completely exhausted by the time we left, I had a blast. Nate told us before we started our work with kids at Afrika Tikkun that they would lift us up, and he was definitely right.
Tuesday morning at Afrika Tikkun we went around making patient home visits. After the feeling going through the health center left me with, I was really nervous about what my reaction would be to seeing patients at their homes. The first patient we visited was an almost 21 year old with cerebral palsy. His mother has devoted her life to taking care of him and her other children. The boy can't walk or talk. His thigh was about the size of my wrist. It felt very weird walking into their home and mostly just looking at this boy. The mother was very kind and was willing to answer all of our questions. It was hard for me to say anything when we were inside. To see a woman who will never give up on the well-being of a child in need is amazing. It really made me think about the members of my own family who do the same. The nurse called this mother "the mother of strength", and I certainly know some mothers of strength in my own life.
That afternoon we rode the "cableway" up to Table Mountain. What an absolutely stunning place. It's one thing to look at it as the backdrop to this marvelous city, but to go up there and look down at the entire city and the ocean was breathtaking. It was a beautiful day with clear and gorgeous views of everything. We were up there for about 2 hours which was a good amount of time to grab some lunch at the restaurant up there and walk around. I need to find a way to get back up there someday...
Wednesday we had the day off and I headed to Muizenberg to go the beach with a group of people. We took the train there which was really fun. It was super hot on Wednesday, especially on the train. It kept stopping for long periods of time which didn't help with the heat, but we made it finally! Muizenberg is such a pretty beach. The water wasn't too cold and the waves were really fun to jump and swim in. It was also cool to see all the surfers do their thang on those big waves.
Thursday was our last day at Afrika Tikkun and some of us helped with cooking, the storage room, moving furniture in and out of offices, and painting. I was really excited to paint and helped paint the new mint green office. Unfortunately we didn't have enough time to finish what we started, but we tried to get as much as we could done. Hopefully the Afrika Tikkun staff didn't have too much trouble finishing up. Afterwards we all headed to Mzoli's in Gugulethu, another township a few minutes away. Mzoli's is a fresh meat market where they braai (barbecue) the food for you. Even though I didn't eat the meat I had a fun there. There was a vegetarian meal and other things to munch on. It's quite the establishment, lots of very fresh animal of all sorts being served. It was fun!
Yesterday was one of the best days I've had here. A few of us journeyed to Cape Point, the southernmost tip of all of Africa. It was pouring as we were getting closer and when we got out of the car, but just as we were getting ready to begin the trek the rain stopped. It was a lot of uphill, but the views were definitely worth it. The clouds cleared up enough for us to see everything around us. The mountains, the lighthouses, the 2 oceans (Atlantic and Indian) below us, and the fabulous company I was with were amazing. Yet another indescribable place I've been to. We then headed to Boulder's Beach to see the penguins. I was not wearing the proper attire for this part of the day and I had to roll my pants up pretty high to walk through the water and climb over all the rocks. Being that close to penguins was cute but also amusingly scary. I couldn't stop picturing all the penguins coming to bite and peck me ferociously. Thank goodness that didn't happen! I had a blast crawling through, over, and under the rocks there and even getting harassed by a catfish in the process.
Last night we had our farewell Braai and many of the staff members from InterStudy and Afrika Tikkun came over. Everyone was hanging out in the backyard sitting in a circle as some people played the drums, sang, and danced. I feel like I've said to everything I've described that I've had so much fun, but I really have! I've had more fun these past 3 ½ weeks than I think I have in a very long time. Not to mention I've learned more in the past 3 ½ weeks than I have probably in all of college so far.
We headed out for final night out Cape Town style before heading home to get as much sleep (which wasn't much at all) before needing to get up clean and pack. As I sit here looking at my packed bags in my quaint single room I am very sad to be leaving. I knew I would be sad, but I'm looking forward to a lot this semester. I keep forgetting that all of these great new friends I've made here go to school with me. Most of the time when I say goodbye to people I don't get to see them for a long time, but that won't be the case when we get back to Minneapolis. I signed up for this trip not even thinking about the potential friends I would make, but now I can't believe I just met all of these people now--it feels like we've been together for much longer than 3 weeks.
My dad sent me a text just before we left the country that said "I love you. Be full of awe and have a great time". I saved that text and carried it with in everything I did here. Dad, I was consumed with awe and had more than a great time. If any of you ever get the chance to come to Cape Town, GO! And take me with you please.