International Student Trips Powered By Discovery Education
South Africa Adventure

Cape Town At Last

Saturday, June 6, 2009

We had our first full day in Cape Town and in South Africa today after months of anticipation. We are actually here! It was a very exciting day, while still very educational.
The day started off with a breakfast, which some of us missed. Then it was off to Langa township to learn about the life of South African people who live in these communities. No one probably could prepare themselves for this, but everyone enjoyed it and it was very intriguing. The first place we went was Langa township. Langa is the oldest township in Cape Town, and is quite large, but not the largest. The townships like Langa were set up as a place for blacks and coloureds to live after they were forced out of the white residential areas under Apartheid. Life in the township can be tough. People live in very small homes, hostels, or shacks. Some have running water, but not uncommonly the toilets are communal. Our guide, Samantha, was very knowledgable, as she lives in Langa and knows many people there.
It was then off to Khayalitsha township, the largest by far (over 1 million people), and visited a woman named Rosie. Her story is remarkable. Many years ago, Rosie came from the Eastern Cape looking for a job, but couldn’t find one, so she started cooking for the people in the township. She eventually realized that she didn’t want any child to go to bed hungry. Since then, that has become almost a motto for her, and is her mission. Like many people, Rosie used to live in one of the shacks, and her story relates to us how dangerous that is. Many people used to use candles or paraffin, and it didn’t take much to make your own shack catch fire. The shacks are packed together, though, and when one shack burns, hundreds burn. Rosie’s shack was caught in one of these fires, and she was injured in it when she went back to get her kids. She didn’t tell us that, though, and I don’t think she would have, she was very humble. She now serves Somewhere around 300 meals every day to the kids so they can go to school or to bed with a full stomach. She is really passionate about her work, and truly was in inspiration for us all.
For lunch we then traveled to a church, where they served us our most authentic meal yet. We got some sort of rice, cabbage, sweet potatoes, beef, and regular potatoes. Homebrewed ginger beer was to drink, and for desert they served us pudding/ custard, which was hot, with guava underneath. All the food was enjoyed by all. The people there were very welcoming and we had a great time. They had a map on the wall on which all of the labels were printed correctly, but the orientation of the world itself was upside down of “normal”. They do this in order to put Cape Town at the top of the world!
Sadly, we did not visit Robben Island as planned, but maybe not so sadly, we went to a pool on the water’s edge and learned how to scuba dive. The guides weren’t sure if we would be able to go out on the boat to do the shark cage due to the weather, so as a back up plan we were doing the training in order to be able to swim in the aquarium tomorrow. It was a great time even though the water was cold, and it meant we might not see great white sharks. The plan is still to go on the boat, though, so we are hoping that the weather will clear up enough to go out.
Because we didn’t go to Robben Island, the guides invited the headmaster of the island school, Teta, to join us for dinner at the Ferryman’s Tavern. He told us about the school at which only 22 children attend! Most of them live in the island village, and others are children of island workers.
Other than that, we posted photos and one video, so check them out and keep coming back for updates, as well as on the student blogs and the twitter feed!

Essential Programs Details

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