Wednesday, May 25, 2011


Students Health and Welfare Centres Organisation (SHAWCO)

I got my information packet today in the mail with every little detail about SHAWCO and how we will be interacting with them. This is their vision: Improving the quality of life of previously disadvantaged individuals in developing communities within the Cape Town metropolitan area.

Basically we will be working with 3rd-7th grade students in primarily English and Math but will also go on field trips with them. We work with them in various workshops that will teach them communication and leadership skills through art and drama, improving the quality of life, and basic health awareness skills. The students will also learn about the crime rate in their home towns. I'm excited to educate these students and hope to gain personal knowledge as well. 1,200 student volunteers work with SHAWCO every year and I'm so excited to contribute to that number.

I also found out that the weather is usually cold and wet, and windy. I thought I left Blacksburg for the summer? It's okay though because I'm going to be in Africa! I'm just so excited, I can hardly wait.

Something else I learned was that it's illegal to remove anything from its natural habitat. It's illegal to be within 300m of a whale or dolphin. Guess who can't fish without a permit? This girl. Also can't light a fire anywhere other than designated areas. There are ELEVEN official languages. Luckily for me, English is the first, followed by Afrikaans and Xhosa.
The currency is the Rand so something that would cost 7 dollars in the states would typically cost "1 rand" in SA. But bottled water is around the same price as it is in the States. But night club cover charges are between R40 and R50 so other things are expensive but if I went to the movies it'd only be able R40. Restaurants have a very wide range of prices and meals can cost anywhere from  R35 (5 dollars) and R100. We'll see how all that pans out.
My older brother thinks I should bring a travel filter so I might just take him up on that.

Yesterday  I had to do what every world traveler dreads doing. Vaccinations! Luckily, because I was a camp counselor, I already had to get a bunch of shots out of the way. So today I only had to get a typhoid immunization. Unfortunately my arm is really sore now. I had the option of taking 4 pills instead but because I'm lactose intolerant, they directed me towards the shot. I'm really not afraid of needles so it wasn't too much of a problem. She gave me a whole packet on precautions to take in South Africa so I definitely think I'm ready to go! I sure am EAGER to go!

Just thought I'd fill yall in on the latest with my program! I've met 4 other people via facebook and I think I'll be living with them but we haven't gotten our housing assignments yet.

15 days!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

19 Days!

Today they released the list of participants for the program that I'll be traveling and studying with. There are only 8 of us! 3 interns and 5 people participating in the Community Development program (including myself). Of course I felt the need to friend-request as many of these people as I could find on Facebook. I'm just so eager to get to know everyone and finally get there!

I made an appointment with an immunization center today and it's looking like I'll probably have about FIVE vaccinations to get before I go. yikes.

In the summer of 2009 I worked at Camp Horizons in Harrisonburg, VA. I was paired up with a counselor from England that pretty much became my other half. We made an awesome pair and always had the greatest times with our campers. I recently found out that during my 14 hour layover at Heathrow airport, I will have the opportunity to meet up with my co-counselor from 2 years ago! I could not be more excited. That evening I'll board my flight to SA and arrive early in the morning on June 10th.

June 10th marks the begining of my orientation in which I will travel all around Cape Town and other destinations nearby. I'll get to know everyone in my program and hopefully become familiar with the area too.

Counting down the days!

Monday, May 9, 2011

One Month and Counting!

For those of you who don't know, I'll be traveling to Cape Town, South Africa on June 8th, 2011 and return on July 30th. I am currently a Human Development major at Virginia Tech and intend to receive credit for both my major and my minor (Leadership & Social Change) while abroad.

In exactly one month I will be sitting, enjoying my fourteen hour layover in London Heathrow airport. Unfortunately, this was the only way to get to Cape Town.

I'm excited for my trip and to keep everyone updated on my travels!