It has been a longgggg week. I guess I should start with the 4th of July. We went downtown to a club where they were hosting just Americans for the evening which meant that it was pretty much empty. But, it was fun to hangout with the group from Vanderbilt for the night and listen to American music. Other than that, we didn't really celebrate.
This week we started tutoring 9th grade students in Khayelitsha. I was paired with a group of four rowdy 15 year olds. They are quite the handful. Although they can get loud and competitive when we're playing games, they are so cooperative and eager to learn when we're doing work. The two-week tutoring session is called the Holiday Project and SHAWCO runs it every year. They do an hour of tutoring every day and an hour of "playtime" which we have filled with various games, talent shows, and crafts. It has been a whole lot of fun. This week we covered English and starting tomorrow, we'll do math. On Tuesday I was sick and had to stay at home and one of the boys in my group made me a get well card after only knowing me for one day, that was pretty cool.
This weekend we went on our Homestay to a very small town called Pniel which is about 40 minutes outside of Cape Town. This is one of those small towns where everyone knows each other and everyone seems to be related in some way or another. It was great. We arrived just before noon yesterday (Saturday) and met Denise and Winston who run the homestay program. They had three little girls who were just precious. They also had a tiny kitten which of course made me happy. "Uncle Eddie" gave us a three hour walking tour of Pniel which included walking from one end of town to the other. For some reason, it was nearly 80 degrees. We were all in long pants and long sleeves because it's been 50-60 the past four weeks so we were a little uncomfortable. But, the tour was gorgeous. Everyone waves or honks their horn when they pass by and apparently there is zero crime in town. We also played a game which is similar to botchee ball (spelling?). When we got back to the house, we were all exhausted so we took a nap and then had a traditional Brye with the family. This is very similar to barbecue in the United States. Denise made quite the feast for us and we were all stuffed. After that they took us to meet the families that we would be staying with for the evening. Ryan, Taryn, and I went together to a house and the woman we stayed with was incredibly hospitable and friendly. We chatted with her for a while and then went to bed fairly early.
This morning we went to church in Pniel at 7:30am. None of us have woken up that early all month so it was a little painful. But, the service was absolutely beautiful. I spoke to the congregation about our group and our purpose here in South Africa. I got a ton of compliments on my speaking abilities so thank you COMM 2004 Public Speaking at VT! After church we had breakfast, took a nap, had lunch (they wouldn't stop feeding us) and then walked down to the Winery. In the town of Pniel, at least two people out of every family works at the winery. They're known for their wine in all of South Africa, specifically their Sauvignon Blanc. We went wine tasting (5 wines for less than 3 US dollars...) and it was a beautiful day.
I hope everyone had a wonderful 4th of July and I will be celebrating Nelson Mandela day here shortly!
I can't believe that two weeks from today I'll be sitting at home in Arlington.