South Africa – Week 1
Based on my experience today I learned about the history of the country that heavily involved slavery and the apartheid government. This is interesting to me because based on previous knowledge I wasn’t aware of the hardship and the lasting effects on the races involved. It surprised me how openly they discussed the issue of slavery which is very different from how we talk about it. We seem to be more conservative but from today I learned that if we talk about the issue more openly we could come up with ways to prevent slavery to be a reoccurring issue in the future. In addition to that on our second day here we also visited BoKaap which means “above cape”. It was a beautiful touristic neighborhood with many different colors. It was very different from the houses we see at home these houses had vibrant colors of yellow,green, red and etc. the agricultural style of the neighborhood was very unique and honeslty have not seen before. The history behind these houses are also truly inspiring and it was nice to learn that they want to preserve this place and keep the rich history there. These are only some of the few amazing these we saw on our trip today. I am really excited for what’s to come!!!
Although it might only be my third day in Cape Town, South Africa, it really feels like I have been here for longer. There is just something about the community that is welcoming but also makes me want to learn more about the people and their culture. And with every new thing we have learned, it brings us closer to the community. I honestly do not feel like a tourist, I feel like I am being welcomed into the community, but it’s a feeling that I can’t explain. I have thought of all these words I could possibly use but none of them come close to explaining this feeling that I received when I first got here. With each day the more I know, the more that I also connect it with my own culture. Today we went into one of the townships, Langa, which reminded me of the shanty towns in America during the great depression. It is a little sad to think about that because those were the hardest times for the people in America but here it is something that is just sadly common. It makes you really think about the different things and ways of dealing with problems in different places. I found it comforting that as we went through this township the people were still smiling and sharing laughs, even in the conditions they were in. I loved that they were able to find the best of a bad situation. Not only was this experience eye-opening but it also reminded me of my own culture. The Mexican culture might not be bright and shiny but there is a lot of history and stories behind it which was what I saw as we went through Langa. This township reminded me of my culture since the experience shared with us were similar. The gangs were something that caught my attention because not only is my culture heavily involved in these but also because I was shocked to find out that there was a gang known as the “Ugly Americans” in South Africa. As a Mexican-American, I found this to really identify with my culture identity, since sometimes I feel that within the culture, I might not feel accepted in either of the groups. It was really interesting to me, to see my own culture in a completely different one. Not only could I connect with it but in a sense, it also made me feel at home to find that my culture isn’t the only one that has been able to overcome these types of problems, such as poverty. And although this might not be my home, I have felt the welcoming of my own home here and the experience so far has made me want to be a better person. I appreciate this program for helping and supporting me in doing that.