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South Africa Adventure

The Apartheid Museum and The Othandweni Centre

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Today we went to the Apartheid museum. With a feeling similar to the Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C., this museum takes you into the freedom struggle, the grip of the National Party’s Apartheid, and the happy days of liberation. This museum was extremely powerful. The entrance of the museum has to entry ways; one is designated for “whites” and one is designated for “non-whites.” After merging the two sections, the museum goes on to chronologically depict the freedom struggle and the intensity of the Apartheid. My favorite part was the ending. When leaving the museum, the exit path goes in between two piles of stones. On your left, there is a much larger pile with a huge African flag behind it. On the right, there is a smaller pile. As each person leaves the museum, they are to move a stone from the right to the left to signify the change and that they have been informed. Very powerful. Overall, the day was great and very moving.

After the museum we went to the Othandweni Centre.

"Acquired immune deficiency syndrome or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) is a disease of the human immune system caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Genetic research indicates that HIV originated in west-central Africa during the late nineteenth or early twentieth century. Many people are unaware that they are infected with HIV. Less than 1% of the sexually active urban population in Africa has been tested, and this proportion is even lower in rural populations.”

All of the children at the Othandweni Centre, ranging from ages three to eighteen, are affected by HIV AIDS either directly or indirectly. Many of these children have lost parents to this terrible disease. Othandweni means “Place of Love” in Zulu and Xhosa. The centre offers residential care for up to 90 children who have been abused, abandoned or neglected. Due to poverty and increased social problems, facilities such as this are in high demand. Due to the AIDS pandemic there has been an increase in the rate of child abandonment and many HIV-positive babies are in need of shelter and special care.

These children were so cute, fun, and full of life. Judging by their disposition, you would never know that they are in such dispiriting situations. We had a great time with them!


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Essential Programs Details

Duration 12 days
When June 2nd - 13th, 2009
Focus Wildlife Research/Conservation
Political History