Camps Bay, Stellenbosch, and Phillipi

Never in my life have I ever been as constantly full as I have been in Cape Town. And yes, I am talking about food! The Southern Sun hotel has the greatest hotel breakfast and I have been able to feast on smoked salmon, olives, and feta every morning. South Africans are also very fond of “tea time”- a break during the day to enjoy coffee, tea, muffins, or fruit. It is a perfect time for rejuvenation that PC should definitely adopt during the school year.

Since my last update, I have been able to explore Cape Town and the surrounding and have seen some of the most beautiful sights. Once I find my way to a proper computer, I will upload all of my pictures to Facebook. On Sunday, Ashton and I took a solo trip to Camps Bay which is also known as the Malibu of Cape Town. The bay had unbelievable views and contained its very own Blue Flag beach-which means it is denoted as one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. From the beach we were able to see the unbelievable mountains that overlook all of Cape Town. Just as the rest of Cape Town, Camps Bay was full of Mercedes, Ferraris, Maseratis, and other ridiculously expensive cars.

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The following day, we ventured to the wine country outside of Cape Town called Stellenbosch. We were able to tour the quant town and learn about its history while stopping at small wine and tea shops to taste their selections. We also got to taste authentic beef jerky called biltonge. At the conclusion of the tour of the down town of Stellenbosch, we got the have local South African cuisine, dessert tastings and more wine! Andrew Kocis was kind enough to set up a meeting with a branch of his uncle’s company outside of Stellenbosch. We were able to learn about the financial analyst business with a unique competitive edge on its other competitors around the world since they technically are able to have a 16 hour work day with its home office in New Jersey. Dornier was our final wine tasting stop at a large wine farm and breathtaking views of the mountains and vineyards. The highlight of my evening was our dinner. We were able to enjoy an authentic South African buffet style dinner with face paintings and African songs and dancing. For one of the first times on the trip so far, I felt like I was actually in Africa.

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Today our class was able to make a very special trip to the town ship of Phillipi. Townships are an interesting concept that I never fully understand or even knew about until I was able to experience them for myself. They are somewhat impoverished communities that form their own “town” of sorts within themselves. The houses can range from tin shacks to larger and wealthier homes. These towns can be separated by only a small dividing line and the pride within the townships runs very high. In Phillipi we visited a small youth center that as being renovated and rebuilt by SASDI for children under the age of six. SASDI is the South African Sustainable Development Initiative that strives to build South Africa through its children-starting with education for children in their earliest years-the most important building years in a child’s life. At the site we were all assigned jobs to help in the construction of the job site. I was automatically nominated to paint since I am a girl-a job that I would later be very glad to have after seeing the guy’s tough manual labor. The children at the site were ecstatic to see us and eager to play at any chance they were given. They all wanted to be held and were starving for attention all from all of us strange American visitors. It was actually quite amusing. I quickly noticed that the African workers that we were assisting did not seem very enthused to have volunteers. Dr. Turner put it well when he pointed out that our volunteering may have been keeping some of their brothers or friends out of work. But on the flip side, our volunteering was going to get the job done in the most efficient and effective way. It was very humbling to see how much our contributions meant to the school and its principal and teachers as well as the SASDI people. During my long hot shower after our hard days of work, it was hard to imagine that all those children and teachers from the township were probably not about going to home and take a hot shower as well. I quickly realized I may take things like that for granted.

Hope you enjoy the update with the new pictures! More to come soon!
-KS

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