Hello friends and family! Here is your life update from Cape Town, South Africa! Life here has been full of adventure lately! I have enjoyed the warmth, or should I say HEAT! It’s a battle to stay out of the sun because the UV index is getting up to 10! This week I started with a Cape Town FC soccer game at the DHL stadium! They WON, so it was a crazy environment! The locals say the Cape Town FC fans go “APE IN THE CAPE” because they are crazy!
We now have two new members at the school! Mr. Anthony brought two female geese to the school. The children love the geese and have learned a lot about coexisting with other animals. I also started working in one of the gardens because I couldn’t hold myself back any longer. I cleaned up the dead leaves and trash, as well as propagated some leaves to make more plants. I even brought three plants home to grow in my room. I am a crazy plant mom at home, and I miss all my plants! It is so fun to get my hands dirty and help Mr. Anthony out in the garden in my free time. I truly cherish the relationships I have built with the staff at school. Every morning I say hi to the staff, specifically using their names to remember who they are. I realized that I really appreciated Dawn greeting me with, “Good morning Rachel” as I walk into school. Because she uses my name, it makes me feel loved; I didn’t realize the power of remembering someone’s name. Having a relationship with the staff makes me look forward to going to school for not only the children, but also the staff.
Another fun thing I did was visited several art galleries on Nov 5th. On the first Thursday of every month, local art galleries hold a late-night event from 5-9 pm to let people come through and enjoy the artwork. Then we went to the SALT factory, which had a local pop-up thrift shop.
Friday, Nov 4th, the school celebrated Halloween. The staff and students dressed up and had snacks and sweets to purchase. So no school, just sugar rushes! The costumes were so cute! (There were a lot of Spiderman, witches, and princesses). Although I did not dress up, my hat made me look like a tourist, so I said I dressed up as a tourist!
Lastly, this weekend was event packed! I went to the Beach Pro Volleyball Tour. I watched 3 US women’s teams compete. I even met Sarah Sponcil (who competed in the Olympics in Tokyo) and Terese Cannon, the team took silver in the tournament! I also won a signed US jersey because of my epic dance moves!
Then Sunday, Nov 6th, I went to Red Bull’s box cart racing in Bo-Kaap. 57 teams competed and built engine-less cars that were less than 80kg (176 lbs). It was such a fun day! I also went to the University of Cape Town on Monday. It was beautiful and reminded me of California because of the red clay roofing.
I have felt emotionally sound, but I am already dreading the bittersweet feeling of going home. Auntie V has said, “your goodbye will be harder than the others because you’ve been here so much longer and are a part of our family.” This trip will always have such a huge place in my heart. I cannot believe that I will be in the states in less than 75 days! I am very emotionally attached to my host family. I even get to bathe and dress Sophia in the evenings to give Jade a break.
Mrs. Jacobs is a new member in the picture. She comes in and helps with behavioral issues at the school. I have spoken with her a handful of times and enjoyed sitting in on her lessons. One lesson was about inappropriate behavior. These children often touch and speak inappropriately to others and staff. I learned a lot of these children are abused at home. It is so hard to imagine what their home life is like. I also learned that some of the children carry forks, kitchen knives, or scissors with them at all times. Although weapons are not allowed at school, they carry these items because where they live is not safe, and need something to defend themselves. It is so hard to imagine what all these kids have gone through. It is our responsibility at school to help teach them boundaries and respect for authority and peers. I told the kids that I was setting a loving boundary and didn’t want hugs anymore because I had a bunch of bites on my back. We assume they are flea bites from the children’s clothes. I had one student who asked, “Are you still doing that loving boundary thing?” I laughed a little and said, “yes, thank you so much for remembering.”
Something I have learned is how South Africans speak to each other is much harsher than I am used to. In addition to louder voices, even shouting across the house to get someone’s attention, they speak more bluntly. Knowing my host family’s hearts makes me feel better when they say something in a blunt tone. For example, the janitor, Mr. Davids, said “you didn’t close the door to the storage room again, why did you leave it open even after I told you to close it?” WOW! I felt terrible and immediately apologized. The next morning I said, “good morning,” not sure how he would take it after yelling at me. But he was like, “hi, how’r (how are) you?” It made me realize not to take things personally.
As this term wraps up and the students take finals, I welcomed a visitor! Hudson comes to town and I get to show him my new home! Also, please to check out my video that I made of the first 3 months here! https://youtu.be/gbtOcbvPMmU
Tune in next time!