First Few Days
Arriving in Cape Town was a treat after being on a plane ride for more than a day. I think we were all pretty tired, but eager to get going, see parts of the city, and figure out what South Africa was all about. The night of arrival we stayed in the hotel and met an interesting British man in the lobby. He had some great advice about the city, where to go, and people to meet.
The first morning we were all up early and got to meet Stuart Hendry. Stuart started our first learning session with a brief history of South Africa, and explained the incredible sense of pride that the people of the nation have. We discussed the past and then moved on to discuss what the future may hold for South Africa. One thing that really stood out for me is how South Africa can go in 3 directions in the future, “Walking Together”, “Walking Apart”, and “Walking Behind.” Only the “Walking Together” direction will be a good influence on South Africa’s culture in the future. It involves the public and private sectors working together with active participation among the communities to derive positive growth in the government and economy. We got to go up to the top of Table Mountain and I got to see one of the most incredible views I could ever imagine. That night we went to the Waterfront and ate some great food and enjoyed the atmosphere.
On saturday we had class most of the day at the University of Cape Town. We met Stuart there again and got to talk a lot about leadership and entrepreneurship. We learned about the 9 fundamentals of humans development based on a model created by Max-Neef. We also got to hear some of the pitches for local graduate students and their entrepreneurial projects. After class we went out to a local restaurant and continued to talk with the students about their culture and education process.
Sunday morning we woke up early and got to attend church at St. James. The service surprised me because it was very contemporary and reminded me a lot of some churches I have been to back home. The speaker taught a great sermon out of the book of Ruth and I found him pretty relaxed and funny as he taught. After church some of us decided to hike up Table Mountain, but a group of us went back to the hotel and just got some rest because we still have a jam packed week ahead of us.
My Perceptions So Far
The culture that I have seen in South Africa is in some ways completely the same as back home and some ways completely different. In America I feel like we are always going at such a fast pace and never take the time to slow down. Since we have been here I have noticed, apart from cab rides, that the people are a lot more relaxed and not as stressed as we are. They may do some things differently, but in general we have held a great sense of community with the local people that we have met. We both take great pride in our countries and the things that we do, and I feel that we have been able to hold that in common since we have been here. I know we have only been here a few days, but I wonder if my original perceptions will hold true throughout the trip.