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Monday, August 25, 2008

First full day on the Ground


So today was more than I can probably talk about in a lifetime. I feel like I have seen so much, and its only the first day.

The first thing we did today is wake up and go to a Township outside of Cape Town. Let me say that Township sounds rather nice compared what we saw. The first thing that we visited in the township was a youth Center. There we heard the story of a Ceramics Studio there. Apparently they train 24 students a year to make ceramics and start a new business with that skill.
They also. After that we watched kids about 15-7 do a gum-boot dance. The dance involves them dancing slapping their boots and making noise while they dance. It was such an awesome dance and really reminded me of the time I spent doing theater, and dance in high school. The kids were also very very good.

After that we visited the rest of the Township. Most of the houses looked very different most of them seemed to be cement or aluminum with an aluminum roof. They were all very small looking houses and seemed very makeshift but it was what these people called home. The ground was covered in trash and glass, and before I left I saw at least one kid playing without shoes. From the youth Center we went to a church. This was an amazing experience that is best described by Nicole. "In America you see huge decorated Cathedrals or churches that are religious and people just visit, here they take a hall and some plastic chairs and they bring their religion with them." While we were there it seemed like they accepted us and were incredibly welcoming.

After that we went through the town, slowly gathering an army of kids who we proceeded to cary and play with as they follow us around. Basically this was the strangest thing here because in America if I went to go play with someone else kid I would get a dirty look and a scared parent. We really got to see the living conditions of the people there. Most of them were spending time with each other outside, and it looked like a giant family reunion. The ground was covered in trash and so much broken glass, once during the day I saw a kid wandering around with no shoes and I cringed. The living conditions are so sad but the people seem were very resilient.

After that we went an visited the Island where Nelson Mandella was imprisoned. This was enlightening because we were given the tour by a former inmate. We learned more about apartheid than I would have imagined I ever would. It was sad hearing about all the people looking for change and the parallel between america and the struggle for civil rights. 

I want to write about it more when I can think more about it. 



Hope said...

Bryan, Ann, and everyone there...keep the words coming for us so we can continue to see through your eyes. The photos are amazing. Every day I want to be with you. This is beyond anything I could ever wish for our Champlain students' education.

Sending especially big hugs to my pals Lauren and Wes...why did I have to miss THIS trip on our adventures?!

Anonymous said...

Bryan, Ann and team, Thanks for giving us an opportunity to see this adventure through your lense, I am so proud of Champlain and the work being tackled, this is amazing. Thank you Ann & staff for giving my child a once in a lifetime experience. Bryan, keep posting and I can't wait to hear more, love Mom!!

Shari said...

Bryan - thank you SO much for taking the time to share your thoughts with all of us that keep reading everyday, and wondering how and what you are all doing. Your words paint a vivid picture for us back home.