Goodbye South Africa

March 4, 2011 - Johannesburg, South Africa

Today was the last day of our training program. It was a lot of work, and I am exhausted, but I’m sad to be leaving. I have met so many wonderful people who are doing amazing work with few resources. There will still be a lot of work to do when I get back to the US, we need to help the trainees implement the things we talked about during the training program.


I realize that I haven’t written much about what I see around here on a day-to-day basis (on the way to and from the training facility), so here are some interesting things about Johannesburg

  • They drive on the left side of the road, and it took me a few days to get used to it.
  • All of the houses, apartment buildings, and stores are behind walls and gates. Most of the walls have spikes, barbed wire or an electric fence on top. Some neighborhoods are entirely fenced off.

Walled TownhomesBarbed WireFenced Street

  • We are staying in a very affluent area of Johannesburg, and we can safely walk around in a 2-3 block radius of our hotel. We have to stay in groups, and at night we usually have 5-6 people walking together. Luckily there are many shops and restaurants in the area. When we go to the training facility we are not permitted to leave the campus. The facility is located on the grounds of the National Health Laboratory Service for South Africa.


  • There are 11 official languages in South Africa. In school, kids learn Afrikaans ( and English, and a third language based on the tribe that is prevalent in that specific area of the country. Most of the TV shows are in English
  • I have been getting all of my news from Al Jazeera this week. As you can imagine, they are very focused on Libya at the moment, but their coverage of world news is quite good. I was able to watch an hour-long recap of the uprising in Egypt which was so much more informative than anything we saw on US news.

Al Jazeera


This will likely be my last post from South Africa. I check out in the morning and my flight is at 8:30pm. One of my new friends here in Joburg made up a great day-long itinerary so a coworker and I can do some shopping, eating, drinking and exploring before we have to get to the airport. I will be sure to post when I get home.





Al Jazeera
Barbed Wire
Fenced Street

1 Comment

March 5, 2011
Safe trip home, Laura!
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