From Highlands to Green Lands

blog-les.jpgblog-green.jpg


Cape Town is probably the most beautiful city I have ever seen in my life.  The most breathtaking sight for me was the Cape of Good Hope, which is supposed to be the south-western most point of Africa (almost the southern-most point) and also where the Indian and Atlantic Oceans meet.  We hiked up the mountain to be rewarded with one of the most spectacular and incredibly serene sights I have ever seen.  It was one of those things where you feel like you can’t fully appreciate the beauty in front of you because it is too much for your eyes to handle.  I could have stayed up at the top of the mountain for hours and have been completely content.blog-web.jpgblog-2.jpg

We also went to the top of the majestic Table Mountain.  The view from up top was nothing short of amazing as well.  However, we got scared at the end of our visit since the call for the last cable car down for the day was blaring (via loud tornado sirens) while we were still very far away from the departure point.  The sun was setting and it would have been dangerous to hike down the rocky mountain in the dark.  So we bolted across the top of the mountain to the departure point and I tried to take a few pictures while I was running.  Thankfully, we made it in time to take the cable car down the mountain.   It was quite an experience, but I  laughed and smiled as we ran all the way back to the cable-car station. blog-table-run.jpg

The trip was inspiring as well.  On the plane ride to Cape Town, I sat next to a woman named Tracy who is a schoolteacher in Belhar, which is considered to be one of the worse neighborhoods in Cape Town.  She described that the area is crime-ravaged and that many of her students don’t have food to eat.  She also told me of how the use of crystal methamphetamines was tearing many lives apart.  She had her students do a school project on the harmful effects of crystal meth, and it is so easily accessible in Belhar that some of the children even taped bags of it to their posterboards.  She had a visible passion for helping her students.  I have been thinking of possibly teaching for some time in underprivileged areas. Tracy truly inspired me towards this endeavor.

Slums of Capetown:

blog-slum.jpg
Tracy is also of mixed racial descent and has a rich family history.  Her grandmother was a British missionary who had come to South Africa and fell in love with the chief of a local South African tribe (Tracy’s grandfather).  When her grandfather’s family found out that he was determined to marry a white woman, they disowned him, and he was forced to give up his role as chief.  The couple then moved down to Cape Town, where they were unable to be seen in public together.  Some of their children were dark-skinned, while others were light-skinned.  The mother could not be seen in public with her darker children and the father could not be seen with the lighter ones.  The story was heartbreaking, but I was in awe of Tracy’s faith and hope for the future of South Africa.  She was encouraged by the movement towards equality in the U.S. and at how far the
U.S. has come in resolving issues of prejudice. 

Our visit to Robben Island was another moving part of our trip.  It was very emotional to tour the island and hear the stories of all the political prisoners who sacrificed so much to fight injustice.  It is mind-boggling to know that apartheid just recently ended in South Africa– it’s like a fresh wound in their history.  I was in awe of Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu and other post-apartheid leaders’ commitment to reconciliation between the white and black communities of South Africa.  I found the story of Nelson Mandela to be almost like a fairy-tale.  It brought me to tears when I first heard about his life and imprisonment and then saw footage of him rejoicing with dancing and laughter after finding out he won his first presidential election. 

blog-dog-kennel.jpg

Limestone quarry where Mandela and many other political prisoners were forced to do hard labor cutting stones.  It was also a space to impart knowledge, such as reading, writing, and math skills.  Mandela preached a message of reconciliation to the other prisoners here.blog-robben.jpg

Comments are closed.