We have settled in Cape Town quite nicely (I'm even starting to talk like them) and have gotten a pretty good feel for the city. Monday night after we arrived in our new homes, we decided to head out to see the night life. We all had dinner together at a Mexican restaurant in town and then some of us went down to Long Street which is where a lot of young people go at night. It was so fun. The DJ played all American music and did a special rendition of "Sweet Home Alabama" for me and did "Sweet home Washington DC" and threw in some "yes we can"'s in there. It was interesting but absolutely hilarious.Yesterday (Tuesday) we went on a bus tour of Cape Town. It was on an extra-touristy double-decker bus and we were able to get off at any stop that we wanted. We decided to get off at Camps Bay and spend some time on the beach. It was one of the most beautiful beaches I have ever seen with crystal clear blue water and perfectly placed rocks. The pictures I took don't do it justice. After the bus tour, we decided to head into the aquarium. It was mediocre compared to the one in Baltimore but we did get to see some enormous sharks and a penguin feeding.
We headed back to the house and I took an hour nap before we went out again. The organization that we're working with is called Shawco and they do all sorts of development outreach in the local "shanty towns." One of their major projects is located in Khayelitsha and is a free medical clinic that locals have access to when they aren't feeling well. One of the girls in my program is going to be interning at the clinic so we thought we'd take a look. It was an extremely eye-opening experience that I cannot even begin to explain on this blog but if you ask me about it, I will attempt to. On a lighter note, we got back from the clinic around 9pm and all were starving so we had pizza which was remarkably similar to domino's in the U.S.
I just finished my first class at the University of Cape Town. Our instructor was extremely interesting and I have to admit that he really encouraged me to think and dive deeper in what we were talking about. I don't think I've ever enjoyed a class so much in my life. Despite the 45+ pages we will have to write, I am really looking forward to the rest of the course. We discussed "development" in both South Africa and the Sudan and all different aspects of it. This is definitely a topic that I'm not likely to discuss in courses at VT. So for now, while I'm in South Africa, I'm going to soak up as much as I possibly can!
More to come later!