Welcome to our class community blog! The purpose of the blog is for students to share (and reflect upon) their experiences while in South Africa with friends and family back home. We're excited to have you read along, comment, and dive into this wonderful journey with us!
By bedwa001 on November 26, 2012 10:05 PM
Derran G. Bedward - Nov. 27th, 2012
would have never expected this, to be able to take a 18 hour flight to Africa.
From the USA to Amsterdam then landing in Cape Town, South Africa, I will
be taking a journey that most could not ever dream of.
Being a sophomore at the U of M
majoring in Kinesiology in hopes to matriculate into a med school of my choice
and become the doctor of my choice, I never once had the thought of going to
Africa to study abroad. People always mentioned to me that I should go to
England or Japan, but never once did they mention Africa. South Africa with its
long history of social justice and change, gives me the opportunity to learn
more about how the health system works there and even here in the U.S. Having
one of the top health systems in the world, South Africa gives me hopes of
finding out break through on diseases that haven't been found here in the USA
as of yet.
however this isn't my reason for going.
I want to find out
who I am as an individual and what I am about. In my future, I plan to be a
doctor of medicine, but the issue is; how must one help another if they are not
fully in tune with themselves? How will I be able to use my God given gift to
heal an individual if I do not know who I am? Even more so, is the career path
I have chosen for myself right for me, is it my true calling or am I only in it
for the money? These are the questions I ask myself everyday, and these are the
answers I hope to find.
In the next few
weeks, I am expecting to deal with a lot of money issues and packing issues
along with learning about the country of South Africa. I also expect little
sleep seeing that I really excited and even more, I love planes.
To the new life in
South Africa, let it be amazing.
Welcome to our class BLOG. I invite parents, family, and friends to
comment and read along while we are away in Cape Town, South Africa.
This BLOG is our collective story to share with our loved ones back home
- a glimpse into our journey, our new learning, and transformations.
Tracing the footsteps of social change in South Africa is not an easy task. Though the path to revolution and social justice takes cultural, economic, and socio-political strides, our aim in this course is more existential in nature - a journey towards giving meaning to life and for living life passionately and sincerely. The aim is to explore our innermost selves and trace "soft-footprints" of a conscious sort - to seek the wisdom South Africans gained during their long-walk in defeating Apartheid.
The path will include an examination of South Africa's history, collectivist community, lessons on living together, forgiving one-another, and healing. Using the lens of lived-experience, Ubuntu, and Reconciliation, we will attempt to mend ourselves from oppression and bigotry in our own lives - as both perpetrators and targets - in order to become stronger agents of social change.
Cape Town, South Africa is a medley of sheer natural splendor, beautiful weather, and astounding bio-diversity. The plethora of treasures produced by nature is reason enough to connect to a larger world - from Table Mountain dwarfing the city bowl to Great White sharks and baboons. Though the magnificence of the Cape is vast, it is often said that visitors "ignore the view" by overlooking the juxtaposition between poverty-stricken (though vibrant) shantytowns and immensely affluent neighborhoods (built for-and-by the White minority during Apartheid). Mindful visitors will often put into question South Africa's progress towards "non-racialization," "Reconciliation," the legitimacy of a "free market" system (so valued in the USA), and recognize that Apartheid's history of racism and classism still exists in all fabrics of life.
However, Cape Town has a wealth of human diversity that enriches all aspects of the "Rainbow Nation." The people of South Africa, through struggle and wisdom, have helped many to live from the inside out - to achieve a deep sense of happiness and a zeal for life. Their story of overcoming Apartheid is unfinished yet their spirit to endure is essential to our understanding of human possibility. This seminar will engage with both the people and the places of South Africa. Through lectures, site visits, service-learning, and a wilderness retreat, students - via a direct exchange with South Africans - will start to transform their understanding of "community" and the essence of what it means to be human.
There are communities in the United States who have undoubtedly been pushed into marginalization and face injustice daily; and, there are incredible resources here at home to combat these realities. By visiting South Africa, we are not washing our hands of this responsibility at home. I have come to learn that by visiting South Africa, we can gain meaningful new insight into how the United States may have gone astray in our own struggle for equality. By baring witness to the drastically observable challenges South Africa faces in terms of poverty and racial inequity, we begin to see the dilemmas here at home; we become fish of water. In this sense, South Africa for many US citizens can be the mirror in which we look at ourselves. By traveling to Cape Town and learning from and with South Africans, we become citizens of the world and strengthen our capacity to make change at home.