On Wednesday morning driving to the airport in Greenville, it had finally hit me that I would be flying to Cape Town, South Africa that day. I was feeling a mix of readiness, excitement, and nervousness all at the same time. However, when I got to check-in and discovered I somehow did not have a ticket to fly, I panicked! After a couple hours and several phone calls to our travel agency, everything was resolved and I was very thankful to be boarding the first plane to begin my travels. The next two days worth of travel were filled with sitting in cramped seats, attempting to sleep, and keeping myself busy by reading and playing Sudoku.
Even though we did not arrive to our hotel in Cape Town until midnight, we began our first day here bright and early. Our group met in the conference room of our hotel to meet our teacher of the week, Stuart Hendry. He is a professor at the University of Cape Town and has a deep concern for the people of South Africa because of the lack of leaders present. To start, he briefed us on the history and culture of South Africa, the fourth proudest nation in the world. The people do not understand each other because they come from different places and therefore are very diverse with 11 national languages. This means that since the people do not understand each other, they are not able to work together to further develop the country of South Africa. Having a history of separation between races, a quote from a video we watched described it as, “Trying to get the anti-Apartheid raids to stop is like trying to stop the sea from reaching the beach.” In South Africa, 25% of the citizens are unemployed while 60% are illiterate. What stood out to me was that the children are required to go to school starting at a young age and wear uniforms, but since the parents cannot afford to buy the uniforms, they are turned away from school. This is absurd to me since I feel that having an education is an essential part of life.
Next, we had a session on what the years ahead look like for South Africa. The leaders of the country stepped up to devise possible futures, which all required the citizens to be proactive. A good summary quotation of what I learned is, “If you want to walk fast, walk alone, if you want to walk far, walk together.”
To end our day of class, we talked about our own personal vision is. It made me think deeply of what my purpose in life is and what is what most important to me. Stuart gave us a questionnaire of tough questions that we must ask ourselves. Following the exercise, he took us up to Table Mountain, one of the Seven Wonders of the World. It was remarkable! I have never seen anything so incredible and my pictures do not do it justice. Being on top of the mountain reminded me of how great God is and made me think about the many aspects of my life.
Our first night on the town consisted on going to the waterfront to have dinner, I chose the fish and chips, followed by Mitchell’s, a local pub. Even though, I was exhausted and had extreme jet lag, I had a blast with my new friends from PC. We have truly bonded as a group thus far, and I look forward to gaining many lasting memories with some people I never imagined hanging out with.