Monday, March 17, 2008

Quick Update!

I apologize for neglecting my blogging responsibilities, but I have been absolutely swamped with schoolwork—I’m sure you don’t want to hear about my paper on the Human Development Index. I’m currently weathering UCT midterms as roughly about 75% of the work I have this entire semester is due within this two week period. I just have to get through to Friday…

I started tutoring a sassy little eight-year-old, Nasiphi, at the children’s home where she lives. Together we’re working on her reading skills—last week we read a traditional African story about a man who saves his marriage by planting sunflowers. To get Nasiphi to read, I have to promise her a piggyback ride at the end, which is probably just as much a reward for me as it is for her. I’m very excited to see her this afternoon because I truly felt a special bond with this child even after only one visit.

I spent this past weekend participating in a homestay with a Coloured family in Cape Town’s Ocean View community. Ocean View is a product of apartheid policy, as Coloured families once located on the beachfront area called Simons Town were forcibly relocated to less desirable properties (despite its name, Ocean View has no view of the water). My family consisted of a grandmother, her four grown daughters, and her eight grandchildren. One of her daughters and two of the grandchildren lived on the property, and the two women welcomed us in with open arms. The grandmother spoke to us about the tight-knit community of Ocean View and taught us swear words in Afrikaans. Her 12-year-old granddaughter was obsessed with American pop music and the Disney Channel and was very impressed that the three American girls staying with her had all visited Disney World. On Saturday the mother and her daughter took us shopping in a seaside area called Kalk Bay and brought us to meet some friends in Fish Hoek. Despite their Muslim faith, the mother and her sister took us out to the reopening of a bar after its renovation Saturday night. Throughout the weekend, I was constantly being fed delicious home-cooked meals and sweets. I had a fantastic weekend and I hope to get a chance to visit the family again before I leave.

I’m sorry this entry is relatively short. This will be my last post before I leave for my mid-semester break in Botswana and Zambia, so my next entry is sure to be filled with pictures and great stories.

On a separate subject: I’m trying to figure out my summer plans, but nothing has panned out so far. If you know of anything that may be available for me or if you’d like to play around with me in Africa, please let me know!

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