I'm not really sure where to start to be honest. There has been such a whirlwind of events going on in my life. First off , I guess I can tell you today was the best. I woke up, went to class, studied for my test in Socio-Economic development..and then from 1-2pm gave Free Hugs on the "Jammie Steps" which is the main center of campus. My friend pat and I rocked " Free Hugs" signs, and we were well recieved. I got over 50 hugs. Some people bounded down the steps and just embraced me, others walked by with serious faces, and then burst out laughing, we only had one person say no thanks, I'm good. It was hilarious. Its now going to be an every monday thing at 12pm, we've decided. http://www.freehugscampaign.org/
Ok onto the actual update. I've uploaded 2 albums. The shorter one I was meaning to upload before and forgot. The "Savannah or Jungle" is the uploaded version of my Spring Break Trip.
So Spring break was 5 days on the West coast of South Africa. We flew into Joburg. Drove straight to Kruger National Park. We stayed right outside the park in a backpackers that was so fun. It had a pool and a banana tree. A couple friends and I climbed up into the mountains and saw the vally. Then we headed into the Park for the next two days. We all had jeeps and guides. To give you a little background, Kruger National Park is and has been reserved as a wildlife untouched rural land, with just animals. It is the size of Switzerland and borders Mozambique and Swaisland. It is huge. We barley even made a dent driving around in it. There are over 30,000 elephants, and giraffes, alot of Impala= what we like to call deer, and couple thousand lions, and leopards but only 350 cheetahs. There are bamboons, warthod, monkeys, buffalo, zebra, eagles, kudu- type of antelope, lizards, hippos, owls, crocidiles, deadwood trees you name it they have it. The likelihood of you seeing animals though is scarce, but in the first day we saw almost all the big 5: Buffalo, Elephant, Lions, Lepoards, and Black Rhino. These refer to the 5 hardest animals for humans to hunt. I never saw leopards, but the other jeep saw it in a tree attack and eat a monkey..pretty crazy! The days we were in the park were amazing. Just seeing the vast landscape and the sunrise everymorning. Getting to see cheetahs and lions up close was unreal. I have a video of the cheetah's we saw- check it out. They ran right past our jeep. Now I'm sure you are wondering, can you walk around in Kruger National Park. No. There are some fenced in areas, where people can use the rest room but everything is really fair game. The second night we stayed in the park in huts. At night I went to the back and looked up a the stars, and listened to the animals with all their sounds. We had several braai's or barbacues each night at the backpackers lodges and out in the wild. What do you call Kruger National Park- a jungle? no an African Savannah.... http://www.krugerpark.co.za/
Onto Soweto. So from Friday to Monday we were in Kruger, then we headed to Soweto. On our way we passed through the Blyde River Canyon- 3rd largest in the world- check out photos, and LIsbon falls, up through the Drakensberg Mountains, one of the main mountain ranges in Africa. Since it is rainy season, for summer , everything is lush and green, and it was actually raining. The canyon itsself is created by two rivers, the Blyde- " sad" river and the Treu" or Happy River. There is a story behind it, but its romantic, and I dont know it well enough to tell you. At the waterfall, my friend Ryan gave me a coin, and we both threw it over and made wishes. I wished for a rainbow.. and at the potholes, further into the canyon, the mist off the waterfalls, created one. I am sooo lucky. I also fell in the watercfall and was soaked in jeans all day- go Susy!
So we headed to Soweto- acronyn for "SOuth WEst TOwnships", and stayed at a backpackers there. It was loads of fun interacting with the locals, and learning about Soweto History. We all went on a bike tour, around Soweto which is 120 km, its huge, and the saw the site of the 1976 Soweto Student Uprisings, there is a memorial there now. WE also drove by Mandela's house, as well as Desmond Tutu's, they are in the "beverly hills " of soweto. We also saw the famous Jazz Musican's house, Maskeo The park next to our house was full with kids playing, so I taught 2 girls "Mpo" and "Kosi" how to throw a frisbee and catch. At night in the backpackers we met this cool dude named Edward who played the guitar, he's rastafarian and we all had random AFrican instraments, I got the drum at some points, and just jammed for hours and hours. Wednesday night we partied at a local "shabeen" or pub in Soweto and had a good time. Thursday morning before we flew out a couple of us went into Joburg, which is is like the new york of South Africa and went to the South African Museum and got smoothies. Joburg was alright, but its missing 2 things that home is not....the beach and the mountains!
Some of my favorite quotes:
Our bike tour guide said about the liberation struggle during and under apartheid, " we wanted something fresh....a new lease on life..."
The picture of the memorial posted, and the rocks facing opposite represent the blood of those in the liberation struggle, and the tear drops of the parents. the Rocks represent the continuous struggles for the future, and the untold stories, the walls, commemorate the violence experienced, and the many stories left untold.
Journal entry about the golf course inside kruger, " sitting here at the golf course int he middle of the park with no fense, just your verge day with hippos in the pod and warthogs dancing across the grass." FYI- Hippos are the most dangerous animals on earth. No lie.
We flew home and the rest of the weekend I chilled with my Roomate Portia and friends April and Morgan. April and a couple other friends and I went to Ratanga Junction Amusement park and went on the rollercoasters, we also went to a Church in a couloured community called retreat and visited her homestay family. It was loads of fun, best easter sunday I've had in a long time! Retreat Church Sermon a favorite quote/song, " there are only two ways to move....forward and upwards."- then everyone broke out in song and started hugging and dancing!
A Few highlights of the last months:
Spring Break Trip= experiencing a different part of Africa- espeically the canyons and soweto
going on a Safari, going kayaking at camps bay
recently we had a braai at our house with all of our homestay families. We had a great time and I made a south african meal called "pap" which has maize corn meal and Chakalaka on top- a tomato sauce with vegetables,
last monday was a fun day in kalk bay- a hippies yuppy town on the beach near cape point, went into some bookstores, had cuban food.
Recently I have been running and swimming everyday and I feel in good shape.
Got an intership finally at an organization called, "Global Development for Peace and Leadership"
I learned how to make a Banana Cream Pie.
Saw a Outdoor Jazz Concert in Green Market Square Downtown. It was phenominal. http://www.mio.co.za/article/free-concert-on-greenmarket-square-2009-03-25
Autumn is upon South Africa so the days are getting colder.
There is a cute cafe down our street that has live music on sundays and I went to check it out the other day. The hippy owner and his son were playing classic American Folk with harmionica and guitar.
Classes have been good, but are rigorous and alot of work.
Our house was robbed but everyone is fine, and its just material stuff. It happens.
I am in the "UCT Choir for Africa" and we are having our concert May 14. Very excited.
This past weekend, I hung around and did homework, and went to a couple braais, and a hip hop concert on friday night downtown at a bar called Zula.
Tomorrow is a BIG Band concert at the Baxter Theatre, featuring UCT Students, and Wendesday is Election Day for South AFrica- this is a turning point in thier history. I plan to go down town and see some rallies. http://www.electionguide.org/country-news.php?ID=198
This weekend is SHAWCO Community Day- I've uploaded pictures of my volunteering there, check them out, and on Sunday Mazolis in Gooks - a township, and church with my friend Shalagh-Ann in Observatory- a neighboorhood nearby. http://www.shawco.org/
Mostly my pictures say it more than anything. I'm happy to be here. Still currently trying to find out my volunteering for the summer. I'm having trouble finding accomodation, and I'd really like to visit Namibia and Botswana as well.... we shall see.
Feel Free to send me emails and regular mail. I miss everyone!