Today Nelson from Calabash Tours pick us up for our tour. He took us all around Port Elizabeth but first he started in our domain. I didn’t know we were so close to so many restaurants. Yay! I was shocked there was a casino close by too. I was feeling a little lucky and I hoped i didn’t lose too much money, Nelson also took us to visited a black township and a black middle class neighborhood. I was sadden at the sights of the informal housing because it’s 2013 and people still have to live in those enslaved conditions. It just made me realized in today’s era we still have to work on promoting and achieving changes for all.
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Today we visited the world’s highest bungy bridge in Bloukrans in South Africa. At first I was skeptical about participating because I was very nervous. Once I paid my money, my uneasiness was set aside because I knew there was no going back. As we were crossing to the bridge, I was shocked to discover the cross walk was a see through. Instantly I was scared the the crosswalk was going to collapse . Once we made it over, our tour guide announced this bugy jump was a 100% safe. Immediately I thought if that was true, why did i have to sign a wavier! When the tour guide announced i was going first, I thought he was joking. As I was at the edge of bridge receiving my countdown I instantly thought, “what the heck am i doing”. Immediately I took a leap of faith into the unknown and while i was hanging upside down I thought the view was very peaceful. It was an amazing experience I’m so glad I did it.
We visited The Knysna Elephant Park and it was a blast! There were nine elephants present and the adult elephants were very mischievous. As we were touring their sleeping quarters I noticed their space was small with barley any room to roam around. I was surprised to discover that people could spend the night in the same room as the elephants for a special fee. I wonder for a second is it comfortable and how cold at night does it get? When we arrived to see the elephants the were lined up in a row behind a metal bar. They seemed to be very trained and broken in. We were able to feed the adults elephants by handing the food to their tusks but we had to throw the baby elephants food on the ground because they were not trained yet. It was a cool experiencing the elephant’s eat food from my hand with their trunk!
Today was our last study aboard class and to celebrate we had movie night in our apartment. We ended up watching The Number 1 Women’s Detective Agency. It was very good but I’m sad to discover that only 1 season was made. It is a really good television series and I will watch the other episodes as well.
Today we were able to meet a young man named Innocent. His life story really touched my heart and I able to hear how much adversity he over came. During his life story Innocent spoke some very inspirational words of wisdom. I also realized I shouldn’t let the small things get me down and I should let my faith lead me in all that I do. Innocent story also reminded me of what other African citizens must face as well on a daily basis. I realized that I am very blessed and should treasure and appreciate even the smallest thing.
Today we visited Beth Uriel and it was an honor and pleasure to meet Lindsey. While Lindsey was speaking I could see how passionate she was about her job. The stories of the young men really touch my heart. I was also happy to hear that two young men who were brothers were able to find each other there. Usually after being displaced due to war family members do not have the opportunity to see each other again.
Beth Uriel is a great organization that tries to help as many young men as possible. Due to having limited space they can only take a selected number of young men at a time. They also have a great activity plan to keep the individuals active and around positive influences. Even through this organization can’t save everyone, they are saving and changing lives.
Hilton Hermanus took us to Columba Church in Guglethu for 20th anniversary commemoration event of Amy Biehl. It was through a documentary that I learned about Amy’s death and her accomplishments. It was such an honor to attend her anniversary service because she was a beautiful person who just wanted to help people especially black citizens during apartheid. The event was mainly in Xhosa with a little bit of English dialogue. The singing was done in Xhosa but the lyrics were so beautiful that we started clapped along. There was a moment were the choir went to the front of the church and started singing a song that was very rhythmic. Overall the service was very beautiful and I learned that each day is a precious blessing.
After the service we were able to meet Mrs. Linda Biehl and she was happy to meet us and she introduced us to one of her granddaughters. We march to the site were Amy was killed and were her memorial statue is placed. We placed flowers on her memorial and listed to speakers who knew Amy talk about her. While listening I came to understand how the Amy Biehl Foundation was started. Linda has showed my the depths of how forgiveness can heal and save a life. Linda is truly a remarkable women and it was an honor to meet her. I will never forget her or her daughter story.
Today we went on Parliament Tour exploring South Africa’s government, laws, and policies. The tour was lead by a young man that was very excited meet us. The first detour on the tour was showing us the chamber that was built for the white government officials during apartheid. The second stop was the original chamber which was used by the women’s league. Our tour guide allowed us to sit in on their meeting for a few minutes. I was very happy to be able to see them and hear the important topics being discussed. While I was watching the women I instantly got inspired to stand for a clause and keep it close to my heart.
Today we went on a journey of remembrance with Clive Newman visiting townships that were for the black and colored citizens. Before we started our tour we stop at Cecil B. Rhodes memorial and looked at the view. There were many mountains tops, grassy areas, and beautiful houses and apartments. The view was just incredible and breathe taking. As we made our way to the first town I noticed the sign had smoke stakes symbols next to the name of the town. Once we arrived at the first township there wasn’t much grass and all the houses were built next to each other and cluttered behind each other. There wasn’t any room for children to play nor a yard for the parents/parent to enjoy. I was instantly sadden when I found out numerous of people were forced out of their homes to these unsettling conditions.Many informal housing covered the area instead of more stable larger residents. Clive also informed us that the street names consist of being Native Yard 1/NY1 and that the street numbers were not parallel to each other. Listening to Clive explain the conditions lots of individuals had to endure I can’t blame some people for passing as white. In the novel Playing in the Light I can understand why Marion parents left everything behind to pose as another race. As a human being you want to be valued and treated fairly, if a person is steadily getting kicked down then their self-worth plummets. Having to make the choice of posing as another race is not only a sacrifice but dangerous as well if they were ever found out. I feel that during Apartheid lives of several non-white individuals was hard and although some people were able to pass as white, they sacrifice their self-identity in the process. Overall this tour help me realize how much damage apartheid did to non-whites and understand the choices others made in order to better their lives.
Today we visited the District Six Museum with Ebraham he told us about District 6 community and how he used to live their when he was a child. He described to us the memories he had and how your next door neighbors also became your second set of parents. District 6 originally had a mixer of different ethnic groups that made up a community . Through the pictures I was able to see how lively the neighbor once was. I also was about to see how close the community become a tint knit group. I was sad to discovered that they were forced into removals to different townships that were set up for their own racial group. I found out their homes were knock down and the remains was dumped into the bottom of the ocean. It must have been very hard form them to leave their comfortable and secure surroundings for something unknown. I was sad to find out that sometimes several citizens would have to leave with just the clothes on their backs and whatever money that was in their pocket’s. This trip to the museum allowed me to see the effects the Group Area Act had on a neighbored and also the love the community still had for one another.