Stand UP South Africa: Update #5

Stand UP South Africa
Update #5Dear Friends and Families,

On Monday we had breakfast then we went to Boulder Beach where we saw penguins and baby penguins. After that we went to a mall which had a port, and we took a ferry to Robben Island.  Robben Island is where we saw the jail that held Nelson Mandela and a lot of political speakers during the apartheid times. We learned about the background of the jail and the reasons people where sent there. After the tour we went back to the mall and shopped for a bit. After shopping we had dinner with Lionel Davis, a political activist from the apartheid era. We got to hear his story and learn about his life. He was very engaging and interesting!

On Tuesday we woke up early, had breakfast and then met up with a man who worked for African Impact, a volunteer organization. He explained to us the different projects that African Impact offers. We learned that it takes many people and many moving parts to make an impact on the world and we were so excited to get started! After that we went to a preschool. The ceiling of the preschool was ripped off during a recent storm, so we got to paint the new ceiling for the classroom. We painted animals and shapes. After that we went to a market where we bought souvenirs and then we went to a beading shop known for their beaded animals, bowls, and more. The local artists come to the shop and bead their crafts to sell. It was so cool watching people work on the items that we were buying. When we finished, we came back to our team house and we had a game night with the entire group. We shared lots of laughs together that nigh!

We had a 1/2 day of community service on Wednesday. Some of us went inside classrooms to educate the kids about nutrition and the five food groups. The rest of us assisted with teaching and playing different sports with the kids in order promote an active lifestyle. Such sports included soccer, rugby, net ball and cricket. After volunteering, we went to the District Six Museum and heard from a resident of the area about what happened to the neighbourhood during the apartheid years. Then, we had the option to see the Jewish museum, walk around Cape Town Gardens, or view the art exhibit of Lionel Davis, the ex- prisoner of Robben Island with whom we had an opportunity to talk with just days before. Later, we went on a walking tour through Bo Kaap and saw all colorful houses in the neighborhood. Following the walking tour, we attended a cooking class at the home of a local resident who taught us about Cape Malay cuisine. We made samosas, roti, chile balls, and salsa. When we sat down to enjoy the food, which also included vegetable curry, we learned that the cultural experience would also include eating with only our hands – no utensils allowed! While some of us had a difficult time adjusting to new ways, others found it insightful and cool to enjoy the food in this manner.

On Thursday, we had our last day of volunteering at the school. This day was very similar to the day before except those who played with the children switched to teaching nutrition, and those who taught nutrition, now played sports. After, we went on a bicycle tour around Langa, one of the townships in Cape Town. We were able to go inside one of the shacks and talk to the residents. We also witnessed the different social class levels in such a community. We met with different community members and learned about their different living styles. We headed back to our house for a relaxing evening.  Some of us decided to walk along the beach while others decided to stay at the house and hang out. We enjoyed a nice last dinner and sang Happy Birthday to Zoe Mirvis who turned 16! We ended the night reviewing and debriefing on our whole trip and the impact we made through our service projects. We are excited to come home and make an impact on our local communities!

With love from South Africa,
Julia B. & Shoshi B.
Stand UP South Africa Participants

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