Friday, March 13, 2009

Considering that this was the first workshop LAWCO has ever done, it went surprisingly well. We traveled to a school in Mitchel's Plain, a township about twenty minutes from Cape Town. There were a few glitches here and there, but the students seemed really interested. The tried to answer questions, laughed at all the skits, and were really enthusiastic about the auction at the end (we put on a fake auction to discuss the importance of various human rights in South African society). My role was pretty small...I only have a couple lines in one skit. I am also responsible for leading discussion in groups when different rights are being auctioned off. Again, it was amazing to see how much students were engaged, and I really do think that they learned something. Will it change their lives? Probably not. But it's a start, of course.

I haven't been doing too much this week because I have been pretty sick (with what, I'm not sure). But I have been noticing somethings when talking to foreign students and observing things around campus. It is just amazing to see the influence that American culture and politics has here. Everywhere there are posters advertising lectures on Obama and American foreign policy. American music is played, people watch American movies and TV shows, dress in American clothes. Our culture has also invaded; despite the fact that you gain nothing legally, 21st birthdays are consist of huge themed celebrations that usually take over an entire weekend. One girl was talking about Halloween, and how she had no idea why South Africans celebrated it. She told me about a time when she was a kid she tried to go trick-or-treating at an old white man's house, and he came to the door with a shotgun thinking he was being robbed! This is all new to me. You don't realize until you travel outside the States just how much our society influences others.

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