Wednesday, February 25, 2009
This weekend I went to the Two Oceans Aquarium in Cape Town on the Waterfront. It was pretty great... turtles, sharks, giant crabs, penguins, and some of the weirdest fish I have ever seen. Lots of whale shout outs too. This weekend I'm hoping to either shark dive or do a homestay/ lunch thing in a township.
LAWCO is going to be interesting. As I said before, it's a pilot program so nobody really knows what to expect. We are going to be presenting workshops to high school kids about the South African legal system, including human rights, family law, etc. I'm skipping a lecture every week to do it, but I know it will be worth it. We start learning the curriculum on Monday.
On that topic, I went to an intro meeting for this group called the Social Justice Coalition. Everyone there was South African, and people seemed really inspired. I felt a little out of place because I don't have the knowledge or passion necessary to contribute to this group, but I did learn a lot. They talked a lot about the corruption that darkens all of South African politics, and how this election (in April) is one of the most important in SA's history. It's pretty exciting. They spoke about many of the injustices that persist in this country, the enormous social divide, the racism, the massive inequalities in education between townships and urban areas, the fact that a 'spirit of volunteerism' has been lost. It was certainly motivating, but the fact that I am here for such a short time left me feeling pretty powerless when it comes to these issues. It's nice to know, though, that there are people who care, who are demanding accountability and responsibility in government.
I am joining a social squash league that plays every Thursday. We play in teams (mine, Team America, has three Americans and a couple South Africans) and dress up in crazy outfits and drink/ play squash. It seems incredible.
I also signed up for a camping trip mid April to Botswana (where we will see a massive quantity of elephants) and to Victoria Falls, one of the Seven Wonders of the World. It's going to be amazing.
Classes are very, very different here, and I'm trying to adjust. This university is just so BIG. It really makes you appreciate Bowdoin, where you can email and meet with your teachers whenever you want, where you know everybody you walk by. It's nice though to do something different, to be anonymous for once.
Anyways, I'm off to class.