Sorry I’m so so SO behind! More like a week behind. Before we left Cape Town, we had the chance to visit Beth Uriel, which is a boy’s home for boys under 18 who either don’t have parents, or whose parents can’t properly care for them. The director of BU is Lindsey, who ironically is originally from Wheaton!! She has been the director for over ten years and lives in Cape Town. She has a three year old son named LJ who is the cutest thing. His mom is white and his dad is colored or black so LJ is the perfect mix of the two of them! But we got to tour BU and meet some of the boys that are from all over, not just South Africa. They call everyone “brother” and call Lindsey “grandma” and LJ “brother” and LJ’s dad is their dad. Two of the brothers are actual brothers who were separated at birth and then reconnected! That was crazy. It was interesting to learn about Lindsey’s story and how she came to Cape Town and what made her want to work at BU. She said that she wanted to study social work in the states but when it didn’t work out, she went to SA to practice international social work. She says that some of the things that they do at BU would surely get her fired if she did them back in the states. It was a great visit.
On the 31st, we officially left Cape Town and headed on our way along the coast to Port Elizabeth on the Eastern Cape (Cape Town is on the Western Cape). We drove to a city about 7 hours from Cape Town called Knysna (pronounces like “Nize-na”). Incidentally, two EIU students are student teaching in Knysna, and we got a chance to meet up with them and have dinner as a big group! It was cool to see some EIU faces. The guy and the girl were probably even more excited to see us. They were extremely happy to see people from “home”. Being student teachers, they stay with host families and aren’t a part of a faculty-led study abroad session like we are. They are pretty much on their own, so it was nice that we got to meet up with them. Before we met up with Hillary and Jordan, we went to the Knysna Elephant Park!!!! I’ll post a link to their page, but it’s a like a forest preserve park where 15 elephants live and tourists can come and feed them, ride them, and pet them. The ellies (that’s what they call them!) are trained so that they are super safe and let you touch them and stuff. We got to feed them! They wait for you to walk up with some fruit and take it with their trunk as you hold out your hand, and then they scoop it into their mouths! It was so cool! Elephants are my new favorite animal J
We stayed the night in Knysna and then went on the road again the next morning. This time to Bloukrans Bridge for BUNGY JUMPING!!!! Follow the link on the page I’m going to post about it. It’s the highest bungy bridge IN THE WORLD! We all jumped. It was extremely terrifying and I still can’t believe I did it. Such a rush. I’ll upload some pictures for sure. We even bought the video of our jump. You will pee your pants!! I’ll try to upload it when I get some good wifi.
Last night (the 1st) we made it to Port Elizabeth (PE). It’s a nice place. It’s not like the big city of Cape Town, but it’s still a city. PE is very industrialized. Given the name, there are a lot of harbors and big ships coming and going all the time (mom you’d love it!). There is a really nice promenade along the beach. Also PE is known for their beaches. It’s thankfully not as cold in PE as it was in Cape Town. However, PE is known as the “windy city” J. Today we got a tour around the city of PE and visited two Primary schools where the 8 of us will spend our internships working alongside the teachers in a Grade R classroom (kindergarten class). The students are sooo cute and I’m really excited about working with them. I don’t know too much of what we’ll be doing (we take each day at a time!) so I’ll update more tomorrow about how our first interning day went!! We also drove through some of the townships. The shacks are a lot like Cape Town. Lots of them don’t have running water, toilets, or electricity. They are the shacks with the tin roofs and tarps covering the sides. It’s still really sad every time we drive through a township. Stray dogs, sheep, and cattle roam around everywhere, and that get’s me sad too. As lame as it sounds, I’m excited to see what this next journey in PE has in store for us. I know I’m going to fall in love with these kids and won’t want to leave after our 5 weeks here. All of the Grade R learners (they call students “learners”) are Xhosa speakers as their mother tongue. So they’re not gonna understand me, and I’m not gonna understand them! But somehow I know we’ll be able to communicate. There are soo many more things I could write about, but don’t have the time or words to describe them. I’ll update tomorrow for sure!