UD South Africa 2013



Ask me anything  

Jetlagged

I promised pictures and another blog.. and trust me, both are on their way. I have been very jet lagged and sleeping most of the time, as the other students are quite familiar with ;) 

Not sure why these didn’t get added to the previous post, but there will (still) be more.

Eat Sleep and Get in the Jeep

The day has come. The day we say goodbye to a place we all fell hopelessly in love with.

My name is Caroline Farrell and I am a senior on this journey. Today is a special and bittersweet day because it is my birthday, and the finale of an experience that opened my eyes to a beautiful place I didn’t know existed with people who touched my heart. This is not limited to each and every individual I encountered in the clinics, hospitals, market place, hotel; it is also the group that became a family to each other. Whether you have been following the blog, or if this is the first post you have read, it is impossible to describe what South Africa has done to us. I know I’m not the only one who feels this way. Many of us have a silver Africa charm that dangles on a necklace next to our heart.

My hope in this post is to sum up this trip the way I saw it through my own eyes. I lived behind my camera lens this past month and wanted to capture the beauty of Africa and our experiences to share how amazing this country and program is. I found it so hard to restrain myself from taking a picture of everything I saw, wanting to capture each moment and savor it for later. I encourage you all to read the previous posts, but if you haven’t already, perhaps some of these photos may prompt you to do just that.   

Before I share these pictures with you, I have to say thank you to some of the most special people of the trip.

Lisa: You have done an amazing balancing act of being a mother, a teacher, and a friend to each and every one of us. There really couldn’t be a better person as passionate and caring as you to have put this life-changing program together and guide us through this unbelievable country and towards becoming better nurses. This trip has been what it was because of you, and all of the wooden giraffes in Africa wouldn’t be enough to show our appreciation, but I hope the one we gave you gives you an idea.

Casey: Our experience in South Africa has been beyond anyone’s expectations thanks to your organization and everlasting patience. Gathering the group, making arrangements, and ensuring everyone was always accounted for is no easy task but the trip couldn’t have gone more smoothly because of you. You are going to be an amazing nurse.

 

Bari: Thank you for being an inspiration to us all and showing us that there is more than the conventional career route everyone is used to. You have taught us that your life can be whatever you want it to be, wherever you want it to be. While that may be something that we are told as far back as we can remember, to see that you actually CAN go to Africa and pursue a career that you love is both extremely motivational and mind-boggling. You, quite literally, broadened everyone’s future horizons in nursing.

Mothers, Fathers, Aunts, Uncles, Guardians: Thank you for sharing your children and allowing them to learn, explore, and form life long friendships and memories here in South Africa. The stigma and portrayal towards this country is unfortunate but nevertheless still apparent, and I know my own family expressed their concerns with my decision of coming here. Many of you were scared about letting your son and daughters study abroad in a place with an undeserving bad reputation, but we can’t wait to tell you about the real Africa- how polite the people are, how beautiful it is, and how it has changed us.

So, this is Africa.

 

This is not my complete blog post, the internet here is very flakey and I have a lot to say about the last night, and many, many more pictures.  Stay tuned, there will be more to follow

Sanibonani from South Africa! Im Amanda Williams and a junior nursing major on the trip. We’re going to do a little time travel today back to Friday for the blog after bad internet connection while on safari the past few days. We all packed up into the bus around 8am and headed to Soweto, a township an hour away near Johannesburg. Soweto has many different communities with around 5million people living in such a small area. One of first stops of the day was a walk through a market and to look at the hospital. The hospital is one of the largest in the world and was quite expansive over the area. There were different units for mother and child health as well as an emergency department and walk in clinic area. It was much larger then any hospital that we saw in Capetown.

We all got to do a little more market shopping outside of the first museum we stopped at before walking over to Nelson mandelas home. It was very interesting for all of us to see where Nelson Mandela lived with his wife Winnie until he was imprisoned in 1964 after each reading a Long Walk to Freedom. There were letters framed from his correspondence with Winnie while in jail at robben island. When he was released in 1990, Nelson Mandela returned here for 11 days and this is where he truly felt like he was finally a free man again. He moved to Beverly Hills, Soweto with Winnie shortly after that and the house was turned into a museum.

We also took a walking tour through a shanty town. It was an experience that is very difficult to describe. The homes were not much more than rubble with a metal sheet for a roof and crumbling cinder block. The residents here are very used to tourists walking through and snapping pictures of the area so I don’t feel like we got an extremely accurate feeling of a shanty town, although very close. The heat, sights and smells had more of an impact than any picture could describe.

We were finally headed to lunch at a locals home in the township after a long morning. Here we had a traditional Zulu meal which included chicken, maize with a tomato sauce, green beans, beans and mashed pumpkin. To top it all off, traditional Zulu do not use silver wear to eat so neither did we! All of us washed our hands in a bowl first then dug in with all 10 fingers. We each sat in groups of 4-5 and had a community member there who taught us basic Zulu sentences and gave everyone a traditional name. We then went around and addressed the group with Sanibonani, ninjani? Igama lami u noluthando. ( in English; hello, how are you all? My name is noluthando-mother of love in my case). It was very neat to listen to all of us try to twist out tongues around to get these words out. We all learned a dance and song from the women who put together the fantastic meal before we left and sang it together. That was one of the best parts of the day.

Once we were sufficiently stuffed with food, we made our way to the last stop of the day; the apartheid museum. When we were given our ticket, it had either blankes/whites or coloured/blacks written on it and this separated us into two groups. There were two different lines and it represented the racial segregation that happened during the apartheid. We toured through the Nelson Mandela exhibit that was here. It was divided into 7 themes: character, comrade, leader, prisoner, negotiator and statesman. Each different area had numerous artificats , videos, photographs and timelines to show the various parts of Mandela’s life. He was a very crucial person in the struggle against the apartheid that it landed him in prison for 27years. One of the most moving parts of the exhibit was the wall of quotes. Each of the seven themes was color quoted to 3-4 different quotes. We each picked up a corresponding stick color and placed it in a larger container depending on which we identified most with. By the end of each day, the colors were no longer separated into groups but were now a mix of reds, greens, yellows and blues. It served as an underlying message that diversity should be embarrassed: Coming together as a group to show our different personalities and traits as individuals makes for a much more beautiful whole with many dimensions.

Salani kahle to all our blog followers!

To my parents: miss you momma! Can’t wait to see you this week and cheer our ravens on Super Bowl Sunday! Without you this wouldn’t have been possible. I know you would love it here so were going to have to make a family trip back here to see this beautiful place. Tell jeremy his sunglasses are being put to good use after i lost my favorite pair and enjoy citizen cope tonight =) Dad hope you’ve been enjoying my FaceTime and emails! Super jealous that you guys got to go to the inauguration but I’m sure not complaining about this 90 degree weather here. Love you guys! Thanks for always supporting me in all that I do and letting me follow my dreams half way across the world

Madikwe: The Afircans word meaning Mother of my Child

        Hello from Madikwe Safari, my name is Lauren Workmeister and I am a junior on the trip.  Tuesday was our fourth day on safari, we were finally used to waking up at 5 am for our morning rides but this morning it rained so we were sent back to bed until the rain stopped. Around 7 am the rain came to a drizzle so we suited up in our rain gear, grabbed some coffee and muffins, and headed out for the morning drive.  Our guides told us that because of the weather we may not see quite as many animals, but we still managed to see some rhino, zebra, wildebeast, kudu, and impala. Also the roads were very wet and slippery so it was quite an adventure trying to navigate through the bush, many of the dirt roads were even closed.  My jeep had to take our morning coffee break a little early because we got a flat tire. Luckily our guide, Francois, was a pro at changing tires so it was no time at all before we were back on the road. During our break three of the girls, Kiersten Bonsall, Olivia Del Pizzo, and Colleen Ruoff decided to touch some fresh Wildebeast dung for a 1/3 grade increase from our teacher Lisa.

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Francois said that was the first time anyone in his group had ever done that. The morning ride was cut a little short because of the rain so we headed back for our second breakfast of the morning.  We enjoyed a delicious breakfast made by the wonderful chefs, Virginia and Sully, and all headed back to our rooms.  During our break many of us decided to relax by the various pools around the lodges. Since it was Allie Whitcraft’s birthday many of us headed to the Nare Suite, where her and four other girls lived to celebrate at their pool out back. By this time the sun had come out and we had a wonderful and relaxing day. Around 4:00pm everybody headed to the lodges for tea before our 4:30pm afternoon drive. This drive was different for all three jeeps. Some jeeps got lucky and saw all sorts of animals, one even getting charged by an elephant and spotting two water buffalo. One of the jeeps had a very quiet ride, but enjoyed a great bonding moment while having some snacks and watching one last sunset in the African safari bush. Francois decided to take my jeep out to find some hippos and leopards, he said the roads were still wet but he thought we would be fine… he was wrong. About an hour into our trip we tried driving through some black mud and our jeep got stuck. Francois was surprised when we all offered to jump out and push us out of the mud and told us to give it a shot. “Luckily” Alex Meyer decided not to help push the jeep out of the knee-deep mud and captured it all on camera.

After three tries we finally got it out and were on our way. Sadly, after all that we didn’t see any hippos or leopard, but we all agreed pushing the jeep out of the mud was the highlight of our day. Around 8:30 all the jeeps made their way back to camp for out final dinner. We ate right outside the lodge around a campfire that kept all the food warm until it was ready to eat. We enjoyed butternut squash soup, which was our favorite of the trip, and greek salad for our appetizers.  For the main course we had potatoes, vegetables, rice, and three different types of meat that were all delicious. After dinner Allie Whitcraft and Caroline Farrell, who’s birthday is on the 30th, were called up to sing and dance with the staff and blow out the candles on their birthday cake. It was the perfect last night to a wonderful safari adventure.

Safari Sunrise

Hello friends and family, my name is Natalie and I am one of the juniors on the trip! I am so excited to share our first full day of safari experiences with you all, it really has been a tremendous day.  The day began for us at 5 am, when we all received a personal wake up knock on the sides of our lodgings from our safari rangers.  We usually are not so eager to be up that early in the morning, but everyone was very chipper and excited at the lodge gathering area, where we met for some pre-gamedrive tea, coffee, and biscuits.  By 5:30 am, we had collected everyone from both lodges and were off!

            It was definitely worth waking up so early this morning, especially because we made it out just in time to watch the sun rise over the mountains.  The sunsets and sunrises here are not only some of the best times to spot animals, but also extremely beautiful. 

            Each safari guide travels by a different route through the reserve to where they are most confident that they will find animals, so we were all able to see different sites and wildlife species today.  By 7 am, my group had seen an elephant, a giraffe, two kudu, a pair of lions, a wildebeest, several zebras, a mongoose, and countless impala.  We also briefly drove into a river to spot hippos and crocodiles, but unfortunately there were not at the time.  I think our most unique, memorable (and terrifying) sighting today, however, was on the drive back to the lodge from our sunrisers gamedrive.  A few of us saw a big black coil flying through the air—it turns out that our safari truck made a black mamba snake (which is very deadly, according to our guide) feel very threatened, so it launched itself at us and hit the side of the vehicle! Fortunately, it is not very often that people see black mambas, so we are hoping not to run into anymore of those on our trip.  Another group also saw a zebra fight, which was very interesting.

            We then all spent the afternoon exploring around the lodges, swimming, napping, and enjoying the multiple feasts that were laid out before us.  We have been enjoying so much fresh tropical fruit on this trip, and our meals today were no exception.  After our massive breakfast upon returning from safari, we were also served a large lunch, as well as high tea shortly before our evening game drive.

Lounging by the safari suite private pool.

            In terms of our lodges, we are enjoying a full safari immersion experience, though we are quite pampered in our five star accommodations.  All of the lodges are very open to the outside, allowing us to enjoy the sounds of the wild, but also inviting many insects inside! Still, we are extremely lucky to be staying in such beautiful lodges.

            Our evening game drive was also very pleasant.  One of the groups saw a wounded lion, who had just been attacked by his brother and was making moaning noises.  Very sad, but something that our entire group has come to accept as “the circle of life.”  As for our group, we had yet another black mamba sighting, followed by a face-to-face encounter with a rogue elephant! As we were returning to the lodge after sunset, an elephant suddenly appeared on the road, and it was quickly clear that he was not backing down.  Our ranger Sello started to reverse the truck, and we continued this until we reached a side road, where we parked and held our breath, hoping that the elephant would continue down the road and leave us alone so we could pass.  We could hear him approaching, and then we saw his shadow as he paused, took a few steps toward us, and then continued walking down the road.  What a relief! When we got back to the lodge, we discovered that we had met this elephant on his way back from breaking into our camp, where he had destroyed the gate and a hundred year old aloe vera plant inside the entry.  Luckily, the rangers had been able to chase him out, but this elephant is a reputable troublemaker on the reserve!

            Fortunately, we were all greeted from our drive with a candlelit dinner on the deck under the trees.  We enjoyed delicious kingflip fish, steak, salmon sushi, and passion fruit panna cotta for dessert.  It was very refreshing after such a long day, even though we were all stuffed from the previous meals.

            Everyone in our group has agreed that this safari has been the best way to end an incredible trip.  Although our Botswana Mashatu safari did not work out, we are all very happy to have ended up in Madikwe; besides the incredible accommodations, we have all had a chance to see black rhinos, and we are on the lookout for leopards, both of which are not found in Mashatu.  We are greatly looking forward to our next few days on safari with the people we have grown so close with over the last month, it will be very hard to say goodbye! Stay tuned for more safari photos and updates!

Safari: the Swahili word for “Long Journey”

        Molo from Madikwe Game Reserve! My name is Darra Markland and I am a senior Exercise Physiology major. Before I get into the excitement we encountered yesterday, I would like to start off by saying that – as the only non-nursing major on this trip – I have been blown away by your daughters and son [shout out to Blake :)]. Everyone is so knowledgeable and they have taught me so much on this trip, without even realizing it, simply by their own example in the hospitals and clinics. I have already expressed this to them myself, but I wanted to share it with all of you. Everyone’s influence has been pretty incredible and empowering…especially since it stems from my own peers.

        Now onto the details you’re waiting for! Each individual aspect of our trip has been enough to make this an experience of a lifetime, but we took our adventures to a whole new level as we departed from Pretoria at 8:30am yesterday morning to head out to Madikwe. Although we had originally planned to go on safari at the Mashatu Reserve up in Botswana, Mother Nature had different plans for us and sent a flood of rains last week. As a result, 15,000 crocodiles up there were flooded out of a crocodile park and are currently on the loose. Meanwhile, the Limpopo River we needed to cross is impassable. As much as some of us would have loved this extra thrill, we figured that all of you back at home – as well as the University – would greatly appreciate it if we embarked on a safer safari experience. At first the news disappointed us a bit, but I think our arrival to this unique five star resort, situated on a 20 by 30 kilometer span of wilderness, has swayed our minds otherwise…

        Upon our arrival, it took about a 30 minute drive to reach the registration booth, and then another 30 minutes in the jeeps to reach our lodging. Almost immediately along the way, we saw an impala, a warthog, a giraffe, a beautiful lion and lioness and two white rhinos. The sight of these beautiful animals got us so excited for what was to come. We were then told that this reserve is home to the renown Big Five of Africa: lions, leopards, elephants, buffalos, and rhinos. This was awesome news because up in Mashatu, rhino and buffalo are impossible to come by.

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"Big 5 Territory, Please be Aware" …

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A group of giraffes is called a journey.

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This is a white rhino. They are distinct from black rhinos by their square jaw and more pointed ears (neither of them are white nor black!).

       After this initial sight seeing, we drove up to a breathtaking canopy of trees that welcomed us to the Tree Lodge, one of the three lodges we are residing in during our time here. The was incredibly warm & welcoming and had drinks as well as a delicious lunch waiting for us. If I could describe the magnificent setting I would, but I think I’ll just let the pictures do the talking. Brace yourselves for some envy and/or possible fainting as you scroll through these images…

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The entrance to the Tree Lodge!

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One of the tree rooms. They stand 6 meters high!

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Lounging area in the Tree Lodge

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One of the beautiful rooms!

       You could say we’re quite comfortable. :) After our lunch, we reconvened for our first sunset game drive. As we drove around, everyone around me was just in complete awe. It is truly surreal that we are in the depths of the African Bush while being surrounded by wild animals that most of us have just seen within the pages of National Geographic magazines. Each jeep has a unique experience while out in the wild, as the guides drive us around independently of each other. It is awesome to exchange stories with one another of what we’ve seen, and our guides have ensured us that they will try to expose us to something new and different with each drive.  

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       Yesterday, most of us saw some elephants, zebras, cheetahs, impala, another lion as well as a lioness, more rhinos (including a black rhino, which is a much less common sighting…they are also much more aggressive than white rhinos!). One group even saw a buffalo as well, which means that they saw four of the Big Five on their very first game drive, which is incredible.

imageA pack of zebras is called a dazzle.

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       I think the highlight of our time out on the drive was our “sundowners” when we parked in the bush for some drinks and snacks during sunset. The jeep I was in ended up meeting up with another from our group so we got to enjoy it together. We also had another guest join us for the fun…

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…Note the elephant lurking in the background. I think he smelled our peanuts.

       As if the day could not get any better, we drove up to the Tree Lodge after watching dusk turn to nightfall only to find that a candlelight dinner had been set up for all of us outside around a roaring fire pit. The manager greeted us then introduced us to the fantastic chefs who described the menu while our dinner warmed up in pots around the fire. Starting with a butternut apple soup, then grubbing on juicy venison & steak with flavor-filled veggies, and finishing it all off with mouthwatering coconut cake drizzled with custard, the meal almost surpassed the picturesque atmosphere. For many of us, the night ended soon after this memorable dinner since we had a 5:00am wake up for our first sunrise game drive!

       It is safe to say that we are doing it all. From our stay in the beautiful Cape Town, to the lifelong lessons we learned and skills we worked on in the hospitals & clinics, to our immersion in South African history and the relationships we built at the orphanages & schools in Pretoria, and now our start to an unforgettable stay in Safari Paradise, Lisa could not have possibly put together a more incredible month stay for us here. As I know so many of us have reiterated, we have all of you to thank for allowing us this opportunity, so THANK YOU to our families!! Everything has been truly unbelievable.

On that note, enjoy the pictures and stay tuned for some more Safari footage! :D

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Jabulani

It is hard to believe but this trip is winding down. We will be in the air this time next week and I know all of us will be incredibly sad. So family and friends as you pelt them with questions and want to hear about everything, remember one they will be exhausted…. a 16 hour flight, and 2 they will be trying to adjust to being happy to be home in freezing weather and only a couple days before classes start up:) As you know the group surprised me with a giraffe. This isn’t just any giraffe, he is 7 feet tall. Needless to say I cried. Carrying him through the airport with the help of Darra and Sarah M checked him in as her second piece of luggage was quite a feat. Only one more leg of the journey for him until he is safely  in the special place waiting for him in my house. Everyday I will look at him and think of each and everyone of these amazing young adults. I have named him Jabulani and will call him Jabu for short. This is a Zulu word that means rejoice and that is what we have done for almost a month now. Rejoiced in the opportunities and experiences we have shared and the lessons learned. Rejoiced in knowing we made a difference in some lives and touched many. Rejoiced in penguins, sunshine, Table mountain hike up and down, african food, music, friendships, and I could go on.

As we are wrapping up in Pretoria today we shared what has moved us the most and what we will each take away as our most important lesson. I think we were all moved today by what each one said. I know I was quite moved by Andrea actually taking of her shoes and as her group relayed the story, she walked out barefoot. Such a simple thing but a huge gesture and gift to this woman. Blake reaffirmed to the ladies what remarkable women they each were and how privileged he felt to share this time with them. Feelings mutual. Darra (as the only non-nursing student) told them how these nursing majors have inspired her and that by coming on this trip her goals in life have changed and that she plans on applying to PA schools upon returning to the US. Sarah M reminded us all that sometimes it seems impossible to make a difference but that from the remarkable women that run the orphanges and school and even Bari, the UD grad, she learned we actually can and that each of them already did in the past few weeks. Every one of them moved me and reaffirmed why I do this each year. I personally am always reminded watching them in the clinics, etc that they really listened to me in class and got all that I taught them. As students they always doubt their knowledge and capabilities and I get to see first hand how much they retained, especially the juniors who finished my class and lab in December. As parents we often think the words go in one ear and out the other, but I know my words weren’t wasted:) This group is so prepared to become excellent nurses. We heard constantly that the South African nurses get over 4000 hours in the clinical setting before becoming a nurse. I told each of them today, that with their ~1000 hours I would have anyone of them take care of me over any of the nurses I saw here. So for those helping your children attend UD and the money put into this education, I assure you it is well spent. I am reminded what an excellent nursing program we really do have and that it continues to graduate outstanding nurses. And as the health care debate continues and concerns arise, you can all feel reassured that we will be in good hands if ever we are in need of nurses.

This will be my last post as we will be in Soweto all day tomorrow and leave early on Saturday for safari. Once back we have our farewell and then on our way home. So I will finish with just a bit more. It has been an honor and a privilege to spend this month with this group and it will be so strange to wake up and not see all their smiling faces bright and early at our fabulous breakfast spreads. Oh yes, the hardest part of returning, we all have to start cooking for ourselves again:) I will leave you all with some of the beautiful faces that were so hard to say goodbye to……

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Thank you for sharing your child, friend, sibling, grandchild with me. I loved getting to know them.

One Week to Go :(

Hello from South Africa!!! My name is Stefanie Ferraro and I am a senior in this wonderful program. To all the parents out there: you have given your children such an amazing opportunity that has changed all of our lives without a doubt… THANK YOU!!!! I know all of us plan on taking you guys back here one day with our impressive nursing salaries J So today was our last day at placements, which was a sad yet amazing time. We started our day at 7:00 AM, which is starting to get very hard! But after we have our amazing continental breakfast and our special South African tea, called Rooibos, we are ready for our day with our kids. I am placed at Motheong, a preschool and primary school for some lovely African children. Blake Caplan, Brittany Hartman, Caroline Farrell, and I spent our morning teaching the 7th graders all about nutrition. It was such an amazing experience to be able to teach them such important information! We started out with quizzing them about the 5 food groups and which foods fell into each group. We then proceeded to help them draw out a typical plate of food that they eat on an everyday basis. Using their pictures, we were able to help them see if what they eat was the correct proportions of fruit, veggies, protein, carbs, fats and oils. While some children had fairly balanced diets, we found that a lot of them thought it was “impossible” to eat right. The morning was spent telling the children healthy substitutes to every day foods that aren’t the healthiest choices, such as KFC and “African burgers”, which we learned was essentially a sandwich filled with French fries. All of the children were incredibly enthusiastic and were so eager to learn, which has been one of the most amazing things to witness at this school. Its hard to come out of this place without thinking about how much American children take their education for granted. You can tell that the kids at Motheong really appreciate and value getting an education. They realize how lucky they are. We had an hour athletic period where we were able to watch the children take part in various athletics, and today we were able to participate! We spent the whole hour playing soccer with the kids, which was probably the most fun I have had since I’ve been on the trip. Saying goodbye to all of our children was really hard. I wish I could spend every day with them. They all asked us to sign their books, we felt like celebrities getting asked for autographs. Whenever I signed a book I made sure to tell each child that they were special, smart, and beautiful. I told them to never give up on their dreams or their ambition to learn, because it is the most important thing you can have in your life. I will really think of these children every day.

Today at Levoyo the girls were again amazed with the children that they worked with, but as usual they came home exhausted! Andrea Frantz had one of her most memorable moments today when she was able to give a woman who worked there her extra pair of sneakers. She described the woman as someone who works so hard for the children. Andrea knew that she had two pairs of sneakers and when she saw this woman work with the children she knew that she had to give them to her. After giving the shoes she said the woman broke down crying and was so thankful. That is a prime example of something that is so amazing about this trip. South Africa has really taught us that we can make a difference, even if it is just in one person’s life. We have all made differences in the women and children that we have spent time with, and they will remember these experiences, which is such an empowering feeling. Everyone who has intentions of changing the world needs to know that their dreams are possible, and even if you effect only one person’s life, that person will remember you and be grateful for your contribution forever. Don’t let the weight of the problem prevent you from trying to make a difference.

So, as the sun is setting in this beautiful weather (its 70 degrees here AT NIGHT, it was 91 today in the sun), we are all thinking about how amazing this place is and how sad we are to come home (but I’m sure it will be great to see you all). This place is amazing in every single way, and it is an experience that will change our lives forever. Until tomorrow, Cheers.

Zulus and Xhosas and Pedis…oh my!

Hi family and friends! My name is Kiersten Bonsall and I am a senior on this trip. This morning started off around 7:00 am as we all fueled up for the day at our complimentary breakfast buffet.  Then we hopped onto our assigned buses and we are off to our sites. My group was dropped off for our third day at New Beginningz, and we were eagerly greeted with screams of excitement from the children.  Immediately we got to work.  Some of us went and helped out Auntie in the kitchen.  We were busy making vegetable stew and washing dishes for 34 little ones! Auntie definitely appreciated the help.  Another group was upstairs helping dust the cribs and fold the clothes because at New Beginningz the Aunties like to keep everything neat and tidy.  Downstairs there were not as many babies to tend to because today was their checkups in the clinics.  The older children (2+) ran off to preschool in the little playhouse in the backyard, and we were left to entertain the ones who could not quite walk yet.  Their favorite things to do are bounce on the in ground trampoline, play on the swings, and lay all over us.  Our group is so shocked at how well-behaved these kids are.  They always say please and thank you and when it is snack they know to all sit on the mat and not get up until they are finished.  Impressive!! They are also the happiest bunch of children ever, despite everything they have been through. 

Today the students at Motheong had an exciting day.  They were able to teach a nutrition class to a group of sixth grade students.  The students were very intrigued and asked many questions. Another group went to an Afrikaaans class and was able to pick up on a few words.  The children at Motheong speak mostly English but are required to enroll in Afrikaans in third grade as a second language.  Today at recess, students participated in track and field.  Some were doing the 100 meter dash while others were perfecting their long jump.  The students absolutely love it.  One little girl fell and scraped her head open and Stephanie Ferraro was able to use her nursing assessment skills to help out the school nurse.

At La Voya, the students sang and danced all morning to “I Love You”, “Ring around the Rosie”, and “The Body Part Song.”  Then they help the little preschoolers color, paint, and try to prevent them from eating all their play dough.   Snack time comes and instead of saying thank you these little ones clap their hands twice after they are given their jelly sandwich.  Shame!!! (means aww how cute in Afrikaans).

After our busy day at the orphanage/schools, the group was off to LeSedi, a cultural village.  We had no idea what to expect but once again it turned out to be awesome.  First we got to walk through 5 villages of the native South African tribes which still exist today. 

The first tribe we learned about was the Zulus.  These people make up the biggest population in South Africa and are known as warrior people who make shields and swords.  The next village we walked through belonged to the Ndebele people and they are known as the artists of South Africa.  They bring color and beauty to the land and you can see just a hint of this in their mud-walled homes.   We traveled over to the Pedi Tribe.  These people are really easy to spot because they wear Scottish kilts.  They do this because they were tricked by the British Empire and Scotland back in the day and they always want to remember this trickery so it does not happen again. In battle, the Scotts came out first in line wearing kilts and the chief of the Pedis ordered his tribe not to shoot the “beautiful woman.”  So they didn’t, and this allowed the Britt’s to come up from behind and defeat the Pedis.   Next up was the Xhosa tribe, many students’ favorite, and Mr. Mandela’s tribe.  The Xhosa come from the Eastern Cape of South Africa and are known for their painted faces and chest beating dances. In order for a man to be able to marry, he had to have at least 11 cows to give.  If he wanted a more beautiful and educated woman to marry, he might even have to pay double!  The last tribe, and my favorite, is the Basothos.  These people live in a mountain kingdom and therefore wear these conical hats and wool blankets because it gets very chilly in the winter months.  They are the tribe of peace and do not like to fight.  The first King of the tribe woke up every morning and said, “ke bona lesedi”, which means I thank the light because he was thankful for another day.

               After becoming experts on the all the tribes, we sat down to watch a performance of the traditional dances that belong to each.  Blake even got to participate in a sword fight with a Zulu warrior!!  At the end, we all got up and joined right in.  Lastly, we dove right in to an African-style buffet with ostrich, crocodile, lamb, and beans that “make a thunder in your buttock!”  Of course, the group had to stop at the craft market for more souvenirs.  Many of us bought handmade Zulu dolls, and the seniors got beaded cords to represent our South Africa trip on graduation.  It was a great day. imageimageimage