Monday, June 20, 2011

This is going to be a long post so brace yourselves!
This weekend was so eventful! On Thursday night we all went out together as a group for the first time and went to a club called "tiger tiger." It was fun but we were told that the places on Long Street were much better so that's where we plan to go from now on. Everyone just got funny vibes being there and the music was pretty lame. But, we had a good time all together! On Friday we went to the Green Market Square down town. I have started to learn how to bargain with the locals because you can really manage to lower prices at these markets. I got some really cool souvenirs for my family and of course I had to buy two scarves for myself to add to my collection. It was a bit of a laid back day because we didn't have class but I sure did enjoy the taxi rides across town. The taxis here are completely different than they are back in the US. They are large vans and they have a driver and a passenger. The passenger hangs his head out the window screaming at people on the streets where they are going. They pack the van as full as they possibly can and it typically costs about 5 Rand to get across town. 7 Rand is a that's pretty inexpensive.

On Friday night everyone decided to head down to Long Street. I was really tired and ended up watching a movie in my bed instead because I know how many more opportunities there will be to go out. We have a gate outside our house as well as one in front of our door. You have to go through 3 different doors to get into our house and then we can also lock our room doors. As I was home alone on Friday night, someone kept buzzing the front gate over and over again. I finally got out of bed to go see who it was and I cracked the door open, said "hello?" and immediately didn't recognize the guy so I shut the door. I went back into my bed and he continued to ring the bell. I pressed the "emergency" button in our house which calls ADT. (being home contributed to my paranoia) ADT came five minutes later and they shined a bright flashlight into the front door window. I opened the door and tried to explain the situation to the guy. As it turns out, it was him, the ADT man, the whole time because the alarm had been triggered earlier. So, I shut the door on the ADT guy when I initially didn't recognize him, whooops! He said there was probably a glitch in the system because they got a funny response when they first showed up. I didn't get in trouble for pressing the button though, so the coast was clear on that.

On Saturday we had an excursion planned for us. We went to the District 6 Museum and site. District 6 was an area in the western cape that was composed of all different races and religions. During Apartheid, this area was seen as a threat to the SA government and everyone, except for the whites were forcibly removed from their homes. These families would have the last image of their home in District 6 as a smoke cloud and pile of rubble. The museum is used for people who experienced this trauma to go to and pray. They can receive counseling and spend time with fellow District 6 neighbors. Today, a lot of these people have been able to receive their land back that they once owned but if there have been buildings constructed where their homes used to be, they just receive a stipend of money.
We also ventured up to the top of Table Mountain. Table Mountain is currently on the ballot to become one of the 7 wonders of the world. How cool is that? This place was absolutely stunning. We rode in a cable car to the top and then walked around for an hour. Who knew it’d be 20 degrees cooler at the top? Not me! I took some gorgeous pictures and felt like I was on top of the world.

Sunday we decided to create an excursion of our own. We took a ride out to Stellenbosch and got the chance to pet cheetahs and see some other exotic animals that are native to South Africa. It was amazing seeing these cheetahs so calm…I guess that’s what happens when you’re born and raised in captivity by humans. They told us that if they released these animals out into the wild now, they wouldn’t survive because their mothers teach them how to hunt and kill during their first 18 months of life. Raised by humans, they would starve to death. That afternoon we went wine tasting. It was equivalent to three dollars to taste five different wines. It was fun!

Today was our first day visiting the township of Khaylitsha for the IT training. Just driving through the town, I was able to see exactly what I would be faced with for the next two weeks. After that we’re doing the Holiday Project with children. We were paired up with two people from the township and they had computers. It took three hours to simply teach them how to turn on a computer, make a folder on the desktop, open MS office, type their name, and cut/paste. I realized today that after my time with Corentia and Thozama, I will be a very patient person. Looks like we’re heading down town tonight.

I just finished my first five page paper for my course!

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