Emma and I sit down and make our morning coffee (or hot coco) with powdered milk, and instant Nescafe from packets. The maid, Binta, comes in with 2 baguettes purchased at the boutique two doors over. We gingerly sip the coco and eat the bread with nutella, or sometimes jam or La Vache Qui Rit (Laughing Cow). We always find time moving faster than it should, and we dash off to school.
The walk to school takes about 15 minutes. We walk past the Police School a corner that borders a round about that is almost always at a standstill with traffic. Every taxi that passes us honks as if to say, « White girls walking in this neighborhood? They must be lost. » We avoid eye contact with the drivers, and nod off the ones who still think we need a ride.
Saying a prayer, or disregarding ones own life, we cross the road and take a shortcut through the Teachers college. « Do these guys even go to school? » Emma remarks, as we walk past the soccer players warming up in the field. There is almost always people playing there, except in the high heat of the day. Sometimes in formalized practices, sometimes just who ever wants to play.
Now that I’ve been home a few weeks (didn’t mean to wait this long for my final post…oops), I’ve had the opportunity to reflect on my time spent in South Africa. I”m just going to respond directly to WWU’s prompts for this post because I feel like their questions address everything I want to talk about pretty well.
Totsiens means “goodbye” in Afrikaans, but I suppose “until next time” is what I’m really hoping for. These past couple of weeks have been absolutely amazing. Due to frantically finishing class assignments and then an incredible Garden Route Tour around the southern coastline (without my laptop or much wifi), I’ve neglected posting a bit. Hopefully this can sum everything up well. I finished my Philosophy and Ethics class with no trouble. It was quite interesting learning about different philosophical viewpoints like Utilitarianism and Deontology and tackling some controversial debate topics with these perspectives in mind. I’m really enjoying the open-book exams and 3-page final papers; wish my classes were always like that!
Today marks three weeks since I left Wenatchee to come study abroad, and just a couple days shy of a full three weeks in Stellenbosch. It’s a relief to say things are starting to feel somewhat comfortable and normal here. I have my close friends, I know the immediate area, and at least my weekdays have finally taken some form of routine here.
A typical day for me starts around 7:30 when I wake up for breakfast which is served in the dorms from 7:30-8:30. Breakfast is usually eggs cooked differently depending on the day, some kind of sausage or bacon, tomatoes or mushrooms, and toast. I haven’t quite gotten used to when they serve cold hotdogs as the sausage (seriously, they are absolutely hotdogs), but I think they’re growing on me. After that I walk to class which is about 10 minutes away. Sometimes the morning is a little chilly, but I like the quiet stillness of campus in the morning. The local students are finally starting to arrive since their classes start in a couple weeks. I take one class each week, and it goes from 9-10:30, tea break, 11-1:00, lunch, 2:00-4/5:00. The days are long, but I really lucked out with my Biodiversity class last week since I only had morning lecture and then excursions in the evening. I got to see beautiful coastlines, a botanical garden, a commercial protea farm, and even penguins and a zebra during the outings.
That’s right. Me. Welcome to international traveling?? TMI warning for this post – it’s going to get gross and I’m going to question why I’m even putting this on the internet. If you don’t want to read about my sick day then read the next paragraph about my little excursion in Germany, then stop and know that I am alive, I am ok, and the worst seems to be over. For the rest of you who like gross stories, are secretly upset with me and want to read about my misery, or are simply too curious to turn back now, here goes. (Sorry in advance for typos and such. I get comma happy sometimes and I didn’t have much time for editing this one)
Check out my Video!
“Together, with others”. This was a common phrase among our wise friends in Kochia, Kenya; a rural village in western Kenya that sat alongside Lake Victoria. “Together, With Others” speaks on the idea that we must go through life, hand in hand. That we must work together, and work with others. During our unforgettable International Service Learning trip in Kochia, our team of 11 students from Western continued to learn the power of working together to create lasting friendships filled with joy, laughter, and purpose. This video reflects just that. It reflects the hands we held, the friendships we fostered, and the laughter we shared. Our team was consistently immersed in the fantastic, welcoming, and heart warming culture of Kenya as we continued to build upon friendships with Abba Integrated School of Excellence and Ombogo Girls Academy, both previous education partners of Western Washington University.
Around two weeks ago is when I was getting on the plane to come to Tanzania Africa.