One of my favorite parts in South Africa was visiting the Groote Vinterhoek mountain range during our time with Educo. I think all of us were a little surprised when we finally got out of the vans after traveling up the somewhat death defying road. It reminded me of summer camp, but in the best way. The directors of Educo were so nice and quite quirky, but I guess you have to be if you live in the wilderness for extended periods of time. After some orientation they showed us around the camp area where we would be staying in cabins. They explained about the eco friendly green soap and their recycling and water system. In our free time we climbed the tallest peak near our cabins, led by one of the director's daughters, barefoot. Her grit amazed us, but she said she never wore shoes when she hiked. We were led up a fairly steady path to the most amazing and unusual view I have seen in a long time. It kind of reminded me of scenes in Lord of the Rings with endless rocky outcroppings. Here we took tons of pictures and then attempted to climb down since it was time for dinner. On the way down we strayed very far from the path and struggled embarrassingly as those who had stayed behind watched us from below. The director's younger son, also barefoot, was somewhat annoyed that we had gone the wrong way due to the vast amount of brambles in our new path. Gradually we helped him, and he directed us, and we finally made it to the bottom in time for some homemade chicken curry.
Recently in Anna Hitchman Category
Whenever we went on excursions we saw signs everywhere advertising the "Bafana Bafana" match. I only knew what this was because it had a picture of a soccer player a long with it. Although I loved playing soccer in high school and watching the World Cup I had no idea that this was the name of South Africa's football team. When we heard there was a possibility that we might be able to go to the Bafana Bafana vs Norway game we were all ecstatic! Even those in our group who had never played or even hated soccer were pumped to go. Then we got the bad news that all the tickets were sold out and many of us became semi-severely saddened. We continued on thinking this while we went about our day. A few of us were at a mall eating when we got the call that we had to come back asap because our guide, Charles, had managed to get tickets. Then it was excitement all over again. Figuring out what to bring, what to wear, where to find face paint (because we are so American). A couple of us didn't have any green or yellow clothes, which were the team colors, so we went to the local store and bought the only shirts that would fit us, boy's large, in the school uniform section. We didn't care if they looked weird or not, we were so excited to be going. When we reconvened everyone was so enthused it took us awhile to get organized. We all got into mini busses and met up a long way from the stadium because there was so much traffic. As we got closer we joined up with more and more green and yellow comrades. After awhile it was like a giant mass all surging toward the stadium that had been build for the 2010 World Cup. So much was going on it was hard to keep track of everyone but we all made it and found our seats, which were field side! We got a few beers and ciders to acquire the commemorative cups and enjoyed a match we will never forget. Although South Africa did end up losing we all had a great time and helped start the wave that carried on around the entire stadium.
Our first day visiting Delft Township was an awesome and interesting experience. We pulled up in the vans with the music bumping. At first I was unsure if this was intrusive in their peaceful afternoon, but immediately we were overwhelmed with greetings from the staff at Afrika Tikkun. We played get-to-know-you games that I had never heard of and will probably never forget. Everyone we talked to was so welcoming and open, pretty much telling us anything we were curious about. They told us about many facets of the organization. Their goal is to empower communities so they are self-sustainable for future generations. One aspect I thought was really amazing was the food services they provided. The cooks made meals daily for many children as well as some adults that needed assistance. As part of this understanding, adults were also given the facility to learn necessary skills that would help them in getting a job or becoming a more self-sufficient. I thought this was amazing because it was completely free for those who needed it. The huge impact and communal nature of the Afrika Tikkun organization made me really appreciate those who had such a great heart to dedicate their life to helping others. After helping in the kitchens, going on to home-visits, experiencing the clinic, playing with the children, and many other things it made me really wish we could have spent wayyy more than a week in Delft because I had so much more to learn.