I realized I am a little off with the weeks on my blog… I am about to start week 8 of being in South Africa (I am not too sure how I am THAT off but oh well). Next week will mark two months of being here…how crazy! This week has not been too exciting, I have decided to hang around Cape Town and Stellenbosch until all the craziness of spring break comes up. But, South Africa is always a fun time no matter where you go and what you are doing.
This past weekend some friends and I went to Cape Town for the Cape Town Pride Festival. It was really fun! The festival and parade were similar to Americas (at least compared to the ones in Philadelphia), but it was interesting seeing a South African twist to it. Many of the participants in the parade had signs focused on African gay right issues (which impelled me to do some research on my own. I found it crazy to learn that in Nigeria you can not only receive a 14 year jail sentence for being gay but also are sentenced to a certain number of “lashes”…it is extremely barbaric). There were even some participants in the parade who were refugees from their countries because of their sexuality.
Also on a similar note (and back to the fact that I find it extremely hard to do homework here), I finally began researching topics for my essay in Gender and Identity in Africa. After a while, I decided to focus on the psychological effects of child marriage in South Sudan. Through my research of trying to figure out a topic, I read about some of the most disturbing human rights violations in Africa. The list really goes on and on.
But, this all made me wonder: why am I choosing to learn so much about what is going on in Africa, but (when I am at home) I don’t chose to deeply research the problems in America. So many people feel (I too) that in order to really do serious (for lack of better word) “volunteering”, it should be internationally. However, now that I am here, I really don’t understand that idea. It is almost hypocritical that I would go around preaching the injustices of human rights in Africa, but not even really understand the true problems in America. For example (in a South African perspective), I saw 12 Years of Slave about a week ago (as disturbing as it was, everyone should see it). At the end, a lot of people were crying and of course since I am in South Africa, it was mostly South African’s crying. The whole concept is pretty crazy since in a daily South African’s day, they will have seen people begging for food, money, houses built of medal, etc.. So if they are so sad about treatment of slaves, why are they not sad/ doing much about the treatment of the black/coloured population here? However, don’t get me wrong (this is not a generalization of the whole population), there are many people in South Africa who are the most accepting and awesome people I have ever met.
Anyway, I just went off on a little bit of a tangent. And just so I don’t bore you all too much, I am not going to go into what I have learned this past week on the global water/food crisis. But, if you have time, check out this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=raSHAqV8K9c
Back to what I have been doing in South Africa. This past Sunday I just did some homework and made a pretty extensive Day of the Dead alter since we were teaching Mexico in to our LSCE class on Monday. The Day of the Dead alter turned out well. The class ended up turning into a giant dance party. The kids really enjoyed it!
This past week I just hung around Stellenbosch and explored. On Wednesday I went to a wine bar with some Norwegians, Swedish people, and South Africans. Yesterday (Saturday), I went to the Stellenbosch market about 2 miles away from my dorm. There was so much food, desserts, and a lot of free samples (awesome). I also found Mexican food (they don’t have Mexican food here…very sad). In the evening I went to a house party. The house parties here are a little more intense than the ones back at Pitt: they all have djs, bands, security, etc. It was fun but I didn’t stay to long since I woke up early today to go to Cape Town. In Cape Town I just walked around with some friends and ate A LOT of food. We went to the Cape Town market on the waterfront where they had some really awesome food. We hung around the waterfront and just enjoyed the view. It is extremely windy today and the temperature is finally dropping (thank god). Also, when I was in Cape Town I saw someone with a Pitt sweater on! (SO COOL)! I of course had to go up to him and ask if he went to Pitt. It turned out that his brother goes there and is the captain of the swim team. He said he was going to Pitt next year. It was really awesome/made me feel at home for a little. Tonight I am finally going to see the infamous movie, Frozen.
Also, Random fact: I tried Ostrich for the first time and it was so good!
Until next week,