This past week or so I have really begun to understand the “study” aspect to study abroad. Between essays, lesson plans, presentations (and so on), it finally hit me that I am at a university. However, I have classes only three days out of the week, so I have little space to complain. My LSCE work is time consuming and the class is physically draining (I give SO much credit to teachers) but I still absolutely love it. This past Friday we went to an elderly coloured woman’s house (in South Africa you have white, black, or coloured people—meaning they are not fully black. For example, my teacher is coloured since his grandmother was white but the rest of his family is black. It is interesting to think about this aspect in relation to the apartheid era…a coloured person with white grandparents possibly could have shared the same grandmother/grandfather as a white person, but socially, political, economically (etc.) have very little rights compared to his/her supposed cousin). Anyway, the elderly lady shared her stories and thoughts on what it was like growing up as a worker on a farm during apartheid (80% of the students at Lynedoch have parents who work on a farm—they make about 33 dollars a month (350 Rands).
Following LSCE this past Friday, the AIFS students went straight to our trip at Cederberg Mountains. Cederberg is about a 3.5 hour drive from Stellenbosch. About an hour of the drive was on a rocky, dirt road which made for a very comfortable drive! We stayed in little houses surrounded by mountains, nature, many lizards, and little rivers. It was incredibly beautiful. When we arrived on Friday we had a braai (South Africa’s better version of a barbeque), and made s’mores (they don’t have graham crackers here though. Another thing they don’t have here: reeses peanut butter cups…how sad). I fell asleep pretty early in order to wake up at 6am for our 5 hour hike the next day.
The hike up was just your average hike up a mountain (except with more amazing views than I have seen on any other mountain so far—although, Lion’s Head from last weekend would be right behind it) until we made it to what was called the “cracks”. It basically means exactly what it’s called— we had to climb through many cracks to get to the top. One in particular was called the “birth canal” cause it required someone to basically pull you through a tight area…it was pretty funny. Needless to say, once we finally got to the top I felt pretty relieved. The views were endless and so peaceful. We took a less strenuous route back down the mountain. Towards the end, some of us were either extremely dehydrated, sick, etc. but we all made it (and thanks to my cousin Bethany and her camelback I felt fine except for a bunch of scratches and a few bruises here and there)! After the hike we all ran into the river with all our clothes on and then slept for a little until a wine tasting later in the day.
Later for dinner we had another braai. I underestimated how difficult it was to braai and volunteered to make the chicken. I enjoyed doing it, but it was extremely heavy—I guess the 5 hour hike wasn’t enough of a work out for me in one day. After we went to an observatory. There was no light anywhere, so we could see all the stars, planets, and the milky way. I even saw a few shooting stars! It was incredible.
On Sunday we packed up and left Cederberg and stopped to see some cave paintings on the way home. Once I got home, I had a decent amount of homework for LSCE due that day at 12 AM…but I successfully got it all done!
I had a great weekend. Like Mama H (Hestea, our resident director) said on Saturday, this is the lekker lewe. The good life.
Until next time and with love from South Africa,