Today, we went to the V&A Waterfront and then headed to Robben Island. The V&A Waterfront is very touristy full of shops with beautiful jewelry, clothing, and artwork. We then had to go to the Nelson Mandela Gateway in order to get onto a ferry to take us to Robben Island. Robben Island is 7.5 miles from the coast of Cape Town and was a place of banishment, exile, isolation, and imprisonment for political trouble makers, those opposed to apartheid, and society's outcasts. The ferry ride was an hour long and quite rocky but was quite fun to experience. Once on Robben Island, we took coach buses around the island to visit the major aspects of the Island: the four prisons, the houses where current staff work, graveyards, the limestone quarry, and a church. I was not expecting Robben Island to be so big. I thought that it was a small island with one prison on the island. On the tour we learned that the political prisoners had to work in the limestone quarry for 8 hours a day with no gloves or sunglasses. In fact, Nelson Mandela's tear ducts were damaged from the reflection off the limestone that he can no longer produce tears. For me, crying is a part of my reaction to being hurt or seeing horrific things. I cannot imagine not being able to cry and Nelson Mandela has experienced so much pain and hardship first hand. In the limestone quarry, there was a small cave. While they worked, the political prisoners would go one at a time into the cave and write one piece of information in the sand. Therefore, they taught and learned from each other. As a future teacher, it is important for me to remember that although I may be the teacher, I have so much to learn from my students. Also, the students are able to learn from each other if given the opportunity. After the coach bus tour, we were led through one of the prisons by an ex-political prisoner named Sparks. We walked into a small room that held 60 prisoners at one time. They had to sleep on the floor with one blanket and the windows only had bars so the rain would come. All 60 of the prisoners had to take a shower three times a week so they had to start getting up at 4am in order for everyone to shower. If they did not shower on Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday, they were put into solitary confinement. It was so heartbreaking to hear about the awful conditions and the mistreatments that the political prisoners faced. I thought that all prisoners at Robben Island would be treated the same. However, the blacks were separated from the coloured, Asians, and the whites. All prisoners, except the blacks had shoes and long sleeved shirts. The blacks had no shoes and short sleeved shirts. Therefore, for the 17 years that Nelson Mandela was on Robben Island, he didn't have a single pair of shoes. Sparks also took us past Mandela's cell which contained three blankets, on bucket for a toilet, a small end table, a tin plate, and a tin cup. There was barely enough place for him to lie down. Sparks concluded the tour by saying that he has forgiven the whites who hurt him. Sparks, to me, is so brave and courageous. He is living on the island today as a free man but still must confront his past every day. If I experienced what Sparks went through, I would want to forget my past on Robben Island. He lives in peace with both whites and blacks and has forgiven all who hurt him. It makes me think about how easily I can hold a grudge and yet Sparks was able to forgive people who treated him with such disrespect. I applaud him for his strength and God truly does bring about personal healing!