Shoutout to South Africa!

For my final blog I will do a list of shoutouts

Shoutout to Calvin for being the best tour guide and driver anyone could ask for. Your insight on the history of South Africa has made my experience that much more meaningful!

Shoutout to Bill for being the grandfather figure of the group. You are one of the wisest people that I have ever met!

Shoutout to the weird guy at the freedom charter monument who played the recorder with his nose!

Shoutout to Calvin’s wife, who gave me insight on student activism during apartheid!

Shoutout to Patrick the security guard for being reliable and kind to us in Melville!

Shoutout to Noor giving us the information to better understand the current social and economic problems in South Africa!

Shoutout to Allister Sparks for your wise words on the class struggles in South Africa!

Shoutout to Dennis Goldberg for sharing your experiences and story with us!

Shoutout to Bob for being the fun uncle figure of the group! You always encouraged us to explore Cape Town!

Shoutout to Frances for being a great psych coordinator!

Shoutout to Adrian for giving us the best service at the Daily Deli! Despite being a little awkward at times

Shoutout to Clemence for dealing with us coming in everyday and for laughing at Adrian!

Shoutout to Ryan at Yourstruly for being the first local friend I made in Cape Town!

Shoutout to guy at the Power and the Glory for making me laugh everyday!

Shoutout to the compliment guy outside of Truth Coffee for giving the greatest compliments!

Shoutout to Michael for always being happy in the Bed and Breakfast!

Shoutout to Annie for being the sweetest housekeeping lady!

Shoutout to Dieter the priest to talking to me and Justin everyday!

Shoutout to Mandy for a great boss! Although you were sometimes perplexing, you made my district six museum experience memorable!

Shoutout to Zahra for always being nice to the interns!

Shoutout to Nikki for helping us with the funding for the A Night at the Museum!

Shoutout to Bonita for helping us advertise for the A Night at the Museum!

Shoutout to Tina for being the eccentric lady in the office!

Shoutout to Edith for being a nice cleaning lady around the office!

Shoutout to Koe’sister lady for having the best Koe’sisters in all of Cape Town!

Shoutout to Norman for being a jolly old maintenance guy!

Shoutout to Chris for being the coolest lady in the office!

Shoutout to Ross for showing me a good time in Cape Town!

Shoutout to Lucky for showing me the Daniel Sturridge dance!

Shoutout to Levi giving me the rugby socks, and for driving me to Claremont!

Shoutout Luke for introducing me to all of your friends from RBHS, and for giving me a ride home!

Shoutout to Team D6 for always sticking together and for being the best team of DukeEngage!

Shoutout to Edgar for showing me all of those back exercises!

Shoutout to Junior! I loved our conversations in the gym!

Shoutout to Justin for being my man on this trip! These girls ain’t loyal!

Shoutout to Sab for laughing at Justin with me!

Shoutout to Charlotte for being the older sister of the group!

Shoutout to Lauren for being my go-to when we went out!

Shoutout to Corrine for being the social chair of the group! #TeamD6

Shoutout to Patty for always bringing the fire! #TeamD6

Shoutout to Rachel Z for giving me a lot of insight on women and gender equality!

Shoutout to Jenna for always being independent in your thoughts and actions!

Shoutout to Rachel H for being the mom of the group! And for being so chill!

Shoutout to Fede for being the most caring and thoughtful of the group!

Thanks to everyone who donated to A Night at the Museum! The event was awesome and the kids were great!

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Donate to “A Night at the Museum”!!!

I have been working at the District Six Museum for about five weeks now, and internship experience has been completely different from what I had expected. Prior to coming on this trip, I was under the impression that the majority of my internship would be that of a young curator. But instead, I have actually had the opportunity to work with the youth that go to school in the District Six region. For a while I was a little bit perplexed the frequent encounters I had with children. But I recently remembered that our boss, Mandy, is the Education Manger of the District Six Museum.

At the beginning of our internship, our work didn’t have a lot of direction. We began by understanding the importance of the museum, and we began to familiarize ourselves with the city of Cape Town. We were giving a few tasks, but there really wasn’t any sense of direction behind what we were doing. We finally got that direction when we were given the opportunity to run a workshop for the youth.

For our workshop we had about 15-20 students from Walmer Primary School ages 12-14. Our workshop was about Human Rights Violations and their roles as young citizens of South Africa. Although it was a mentally draining experience, it felt like I was doing something productive for the community. After running the workshop, we were given the opportunity to help put the “A Night at the Museum” event. (To donate to our event please go to the link below.) We not only have to help facilitate the event, but we also have to get students to come, fund, and organize it.

When we were first brought with the task, our first thought was that there would be many students from Walmer Primary who would be able to attend the event. Unfortunately, we hit a little bump in the road. Around the same time we were doing registration for the event, Walmer Primary School had the infamous Chalk Scandal. A group of students decided that it would be a good idea to steal talk from the teacher’s desk. They then decided it would be a better idea to smoke the chalk. Unfortunately, the majority of the kids that came to our workshop was involved in that incident.

This incident really got me thinking about why something like this could happen. What could have compelled these kids to do something like this? And the simple answer is boredom. From my observation, kids have nothing to do during the day. On top of that, the school system doesn’t really put any incentive for students to attend for the last week of their first session before winter holiday. Students take their final exams during the second to last week of school, so the last week of school is useless. Since there is no reason to come to school, and a lot of these kids come from the townships, there is no reason for them to make the journey if they weren’t going to receive any education. And even if these kids come to school, their teachers gave them no instruction.

What has surprised me the most about the South African educational system is the lack of athletic involvement in the youth. I just thought that the kids would be more active. I feel like I see more kids hanging around on the side of the streets instead of kicking around a soccer ball or tossing around a rugby ball. Maybe I’m not seeing the entire picture, but I feel that I higher emphasis on athletics would help stimulate these kids during the day. Obviously implementing school sports wouldn’t be feasible with the lack of school funding. But just giving kids a designated recess time, with some balls is a start. I’m just genuinely worried about what these kids do all day to suppress their boredom.

P.S. Shoutout to Bob for making it here safely!
P.S. Donate to our event! http://www.givengain.com/activist/122359/projects/8526/#content

One With the Locals

Our human compassion binds us the one to the other – not in pity or patronizingly, but as human beings who have learnt how to turn our common suffering into hope for the future. – Nelson Mandela

It has only been a week since we left Joburg and landed in Cape Town, but I already feel like I have a daily routine. Everyday I wake up and go to work at the District Six Museum. I come back home and then I have to pick up Justin from the bus stop so we can go to the gym, where I can count on seeing a few familiar faces. Sometimes we’ll finish off the night with a group dinner, and then I’ll then occasionally sneak off by myself and watch a World Cup game or two. But my favorite part of the day is walking up and down Long Street. Everyday I say what’s up to my friend at YoursTruly and then I give the guy outside of Rafiki’s the occasional head nod. It’s crazy how in only a week I have been able to feel at home here.

One of the great things about the people here is their sense of unity and kindness. Despite the fact that there are still many race and gender issues in the country, it almost seems as if acceptance and kindness have been engrained in the new generation. I first took notice of this back in Joburg when we visited the Albert Street School, which is home to many Zimbabwe refugees. The school manages to produce some of the most successful students in the country despite poor funding, underpaid teachers, and faulty electricity. Due to these conditions, the school is on the verge of shutting down. However, the school staff stays committed and the students continue to excel. When we visited, I was in a group that had a discussion with the 9th grade class. At first, I thought the kids wouldn’t be responsive in our discussion, but instead they were engaged. They were just as, if not more excited to see us than we were to see them. Talking to the kids, I felt that they had a consciousness of their own country’s political and social issues. They were actively paying attention to the news, and had genuine concerns about their future. It was amazing to have an enriching experience with the youth at the Albert Street School. The same can’t be said for Justin and me at the daycare, but that’s a story for a different time.

One of my best friends from Duke, Uzo, is from Cape Town. He told a few of his childhood friends to meet up with me once I made it to the city. I didn’t know what to expect from them, but we hit it off the second we met each other. Talking to them, I feel like I am hanging out with people who I have known for a long time. It’s cool to have that kind of friendship across borders. One of the best parts of my relationship with them is the insight about the country I get from them. I get a different perspective then the typical DukeEngage experience. The same cognizance of the world that I sensed in the Albert Street School is the same cognizance my friends in Cape Town have. They have a truly global view on life. Being from the US, we have a mentality of only thinking about ourselves, but talking to these kids have opened my eyes to think beyond the US, but globally. It’s more than a matter of pride, but rather of perception. I thank these kids for making me think issues in new ways.

I still have six weeks left here, and I expect to grow not only as a person but to learn more about our differences and similarities. So as I continue to grow an addiction to Malva pudding, I will continue to learn more about South Africa, the United States, and myself.

P.S Shoutout to Bill on his last week! We’re gonna miss you buddy!