RiTara Williams
RiTara Williams
South Africa 2014 - 2015
My name is RiTara Williams and I will be working at an internship in Cape Town, South Africa. I will be working with African Impact and The Happy Africa Foundation. Read More About RiTara →

Blink of the Eye

In an exciting twist, this post is brought to you from Germany!

For my birthday on the 2nd, my parents brought me a plane ticket to go visit my brother and his family in Germany for two weeks! Despite the cold weather, I am enjoying my time to relax and get caught up on things (mostly TV shows).

While I have been here I have been able to reflect on my time in Cape Town so far and really appreciate everything I have learned in the past months. I can also appreciate that warmth Cape Town provides me with because it is FREEZING here in Germany.

The feeling I felt flying away from South Africa was a feeling of nostalgia. Even though I knew I would be back in a few days, it still felt strange and uneasy to leave.

I didn’t come to Africa with the notion that I could save the world with simply my presence. I came with the notion that it could save me. I don’t want to live a life that I feel like I am doing what I am supposed to do. I want to live a life that I am meant to live.

Growing up an American tells me that I need to go to school to get good grades so I can get a good job. I am tired of that mentality. I feel like I missed so many opportunities to really find out what I am meant to do just trying to get good grades. But that doesn’t mean that I will not have several more opportunities to find out what  my purpose looks like.

I want to use every life experience to learn and absorb knowledge, not just memorize. I wasted years of my life trying to just get good grades and I am done with that, the rest of my life will be different. I will be different.

Coming to Africa I did not know what to expect but I have found something amazing here. I know that I do not want to work in the corporate world. I know that I want to do something meaningful and work somewhere where I am doing something to help others. I do not know what that looks like in my life but I know that African Impact and The Happy Africa Foundation set a great example of a place I would like to work.

Thinking about my future gives me butterflies in my stomach but not that anxiety it did in my senior year of college. I am looking forward to where my journey brings me. I know that I will have to figure things pretty soon but I know that I am closer to doing that than I would be if I didn’t have this experience. This next 6 months will be a time to make plans and put them to action.


Different Country. Same Questions.

I honestly wasn’t thinking about doing this post a few seconds ago but a lovely friend in Nashville sparked this thought process!

As most you guys have probably noticed, there are a LOT of racial debates going on in the US and being on the outside looking in makes my situation unique. My heart hurts for the pain I see in communities back home (I will not say black communities exclusively because this is a hurt felt by many). I have been on the verge of tears reading some of the insensitive comments made by all types of people and ethnicity.

To be real, I’ve written this post about ten different times in ten different ways because it is hard to grasp exactly what I’ve been feeling and my exact thoughts. The truth is every feeling I have boils down to confusion. I am confused as to how one person can shoot another person that many times in “self-defense”. I am confused as to how anybody can feel like the case was clear cut in any way. I do not understand how the case was not even able to reach trial in court. I do not understand how any of this is justified. I do not understand how people could be so insensitive to this. I just do not understand.

But the most interesting thing to me in all of this is the response from the community I am in right now. They are just as confused as I am. In some ways, they are more outraged than most Americans! I have had some of the most constructive and empathetic conversations with local South Africans and housemates from all over the world. They do not understand how the US can have such a disregard for people and their lives. They are disgusted by some of the comments I have shared with them. They just cannot believe the whole situation.

I wrote this to point out how connected our world is today. Something that is going on in the US is making headline news in South Africa! People are having conversations about world issues and talking about this case in their communities. This makes me so happy in all of this confusion.

These pass few weeks have been full of so many activities to the point that I do not remember half of them!


So not that it matters but this is now my third time writing this. You would think that I would learn my lesson the first time when my computer dies and nothing is saved but would you believe me if I said that it happened to me twice?

Anyways, I held off on writing this post until the end of this past weekend for two reasons. One, I wanted to include this past weekend’s festivities in my blog. And two, I literally had no time before now (and my two previous attempts) to write this blog and there is an amazing reason why!

This past weekend was the two biggest event for me since I have been in Cape Town. First, The Happy Africa Foundation held their charity dinner at a quaint restaurant in the middle of the city. Even though that whole day I was running around getting things ready for the second event of the weekend, I wanted the fundraiser to be such a success that I didn’t let my fatigue slow me down.

The evening started with campaign and mingling on the front patio of the restaurant with light music in the background. The evening felt like one of those event that you imagine going to once you get a fancy job with some big office but it was so much more intimate and cozy than that. Once the majority of the guest arrived, everybody made their ways into the dinning area to be seated for dinner. At the tables guest were greeted by touching stories of THAF’s impact over the years and pamphlets about the organization. There may have been a bottle or five of wine there to get the guest in the charitable spirit as well.

As people ate their starters and main course some of THAF’s and African Impact’s staff went table to table with fun games and a raffle. To add to the entertainment, there was an amazing illusionist bending forks and coins and flipping glasses and watches all without touching them. I have to say that I am still trying to figure out how he did all of that!

Dinner was followed by an auction that included some amazing prizes! There was this painting of elephants that would go wonderfully in my old living room back in Nashville. There were three trips to amazing locations. But the one I had my eye on was a balloon ride over the wine lands of Cape Town to include a campaign toast during the ride. I would have loved to win that prize but I just do not have enough money to bid on things like that. I’ll just imagine that I won and dream about the balloon ride lol.

To finish the evening we drew the winners of the raffle and said our goodbyes and thank yous to everybody that attended. Even though I didn’t get to eat or see the illusionist properly, I had an amazing time!

The next morning I had to be up bright and early (for me at least) to begin event number two of the weekend! This involved ushering 140ish children around Cape Town Stadium and Green Point Biodiversity Park.

Words cannot describe how much joy this day gave me. As you can guess, I was knackered (one of my newly found words meaning tired) from the already busy weekend but nothing could stop me from having an unbelievable day. The children were just absolutely amazing and well behaved the whole day! Things went as smooth as taking 140 children on a field trip can go. The nicely printed schedule I made was out of the window before the children even arrive (Africa time) but that did not take away from the joy and excitement the kids had for the day.

While half of the children toured the stadium, the other half played games in the park. All of the children were put into teams and given a country (of course I enjoyed hearing USA being cheered throughout the park). Honestly, I could have come up with twenty different ways that things could have gone wrong but there was an overwhelming sense of control and order over the whole day (for me).

The highlight of the day was when the children were in the stadium jail and started singing a old apartheid freedom song about the late Nelson Mandela (please go to my Facebook to see the video). This was the most beautiful moment in my eyes! I am so thankful to be experiencing what I have so far.

With this being my midway mark of my journey here in Cape Town, I am excited to see what the next six months will have in store for me!


Great kids. Great cause!


I did some face painting! I’m so creative lol


All lined up ready to go in!


Which team do you cheer for?


Part of my group two team! It is always a fun day with these three!


Some of the children in the stadium jail. Don’t forget to watch the video on my Facebook page!


Making plays in the locker room!


Running out of the player’s tunnel!


They ran a bit too far...


The whole of team two! Great people to work with!


Relaxing the day after listening to live music with my roomie!


Comfort Zone

Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.

I thought I knew what that meant but it has come to my realization that I have been living in my comfort zone my whole life. I thought that just because I was doing things that others wouldn’t dare do (like live in Cape Town away from my family for a year) I was living up to that statement; but I wasn’t.

The reality is my comfort zone is in doing the amazing, moving around constantly, and going on adventures that some would only dream of going on. I have been moving and going on adventures all of my life; that is the way I was raised. My parents have always pushed me to be independent and make my own path in this world. So I have actually been living and breathing the life I was raised to have. That doesn’t sound too much out of my comfort zone now does it?

It wasn’t until recently when I received some difficult constructive criticism that I realized it was time for me to truly step out of this zone I have been in since I arrived in Cape Town. Honestly, I had gotten so into the routine of waking up and going to work everyday that I didn’t realize I haven’t been challenging myself to do the uncomfortable. What is uncomfortable to me is what normal working adults do everyday.

I HATE making phone calls! It isn’t the just sitting and chatting with friends on the phone, phone calls that make me cringe. It is the call up a company or organization and book something or get sponsorship, etc. that makes me want to run to the hills and hide. I don’t know where my anxiety in that comes from but when I tell you that I will avoid making a phone call at all costs, I’m not joking.

But you know that God has a big sense of humor and he has sent me to a country that if you don’t call, you wont receive. Yes I can get away with sending some companies emails and they will respond in a timely manner. But the majority of people need that extra nudge of a phone call to get anything out of them. As you can probably gather, I have been doing a horrible job at this and my managers decided it was time to steer me into the right direction.

At first it was easy for me to get in a huff about it and feel defeated but then the voices of my parents came into my head and I knew what I had to do. This week I am proud to say that I have been a lean, mean calling machine. Yes I have sent emails out, but they were follow up emails to calls I had already made. Sitting here typing this brings me a great sense of accomplishment just thinking about it. I still get a bit nervous making calls (Rome wasn’t built in one day) but I have defiantly gotten better in the confidence department.

Sometimes you need a little constructive criticism to get mad about and then change (or at least I do). There were definitely other things they said I can work on and you bes’ believe I have been working to be better in those areas as well. The last thing I would want to do is be a burden as an intern rather than an asset. Moving forward, I feel like I can be more effective as an intern knowing what I can improve on!

When looking for an internship or volunteering program abroad, it is so important to look for an organization that will take the time with you to help you see improvement in areas you may not see yourself. African Impact sits down with volunteer half-way through their stay to get their feedback on how things are going. This not only helps African Impact improve their daily operations through volunteer feedback but it also allows volunteers to ask questions and be an active participant in the organization. To me, this is one of the most important things you can do as a volunteer organization.

Since I wrote my last blog so late, it encompassed most of the excitement of the past few weeks. Reaching two fundraising goals was a huge accomplishment and it drives me to want to do more. I may not seem outwardly excited about everything, all of the time (that’s not me) but I love the feeling of accomplishment when finishing a goal and that’s what drives me. When I see the kids on the next GAPA field trip and the children play street cricket, I will feel overwhelming bliss.

Until next time... Here are some (much needed) pictures!

Color Run

Before the Color Run started


The Aftermath

Color RUN 2

The Walking Team


Selfie Time!


My Master Piece!


Franky is having a great beginning to his police training!



Not so graceful attempt to take a artistic picture

no no no

Still not graceful!

I made it

Taking a minute to breath!




Looking at the rock I struggled to get on



She likes to steal my glasses and give me her hair


She loves hugs! Lion’s Head in the background


FRANS! My brother here in the Cape!

farris wheel

So many fun times with ZOE!


SnapChat selfie!


I suck at jumping pictures!

jump 2

But I look happy trying


Stopped on the way from work to take in the view


Baboon! He posed for me


Camps Bay


Christmas in October!


My humble abode... aka my room


Somehow ended up in a wedding...

Lifetime Learner

I will start off apologizing for taking so long to post a new blog. Two weeks come way too fast and I simply lost track of time this time around.

Over the past few weeks I have experienced so many unexpected emotions that I thought I would make a list of things I never expected to gain from my internship.

  1. An appreciation for office life. I knew that working in South Africa would be an experience like no other (some may even say life changing). I knew that there would be experiences that I would not be able experience in USA. What I did not expect is to love every minute of working in an office. I am not a business suite type of person nor do I want to wear a dress everyday. The thought of staying in my own little section of the office day after day only to mingle with my co-workers at the water cooler made me want to vomit.  So you can imagine the relief I felt when I realized I would not be working in an environment anywhere close to that. I am not sure that I will ever experience an office environment quite like this one ever again in my life. The people are super relaxed and easy going. There is no stuffy dress code other than the implied “don’t come to work looking like a hooker”. We do have a water cooler but that is not the main meeting place as you are welcome to chat with people wherever you deem suitable. This is my ideal work environment and I will not be happy anywhere that doesn’t have the same standards.
  2. Random connections will all types of people. With my upbringing, I have always had a diverse group of friends. That may actually be the best quality about my friendships. But even with the diverse group of friends I have, I was never prepared to make so many connections with so many different people in this short period of time. Just thinking about all of the people that have made a lasting impact on my life, it is a bit overwhelming. I am so thankful for every person that has come through this volunteer house and I am excited to meet everybody who is still on their way here.
  3. A new appreciation for nature. Living in a house that is constantly changing, sometimes you need an escape. There is no cable for our television and the internet leaves a lot to be desired. But if that wasn’t the case, I would have never noticed the beauty I am surrounded by everyday. I often find myself saying, “I am in Cape Town, South Africa” because it is easy for me to get into the everyday routine of the day and not stop to be amazed by the views. Cape Town is the most beautiful place I have ever been to. Looking at the beautiful landscape and diverse geography, I am left speechless at times. You can see the beauty that God meant for this place in everyday life. I can also see how fortunate I am to have the opportunity to appreciate this beauty. It is very healing to just sit and be consumed by Cape Town’s beauty.
  4. I never thought I would push myself in the ways that I have. This past weekend I faced my hardest challenge thus far. The charity that I intern for held its first Three-Peak Challenge as a group. The planning phase of this challenge stressed me out so much but the end goal is what kept me going. But let me back up, the Three-Peak Challenge is where a group of volunteers and staff hike all three of Cape Town’s three major peaks in one day. Devil’s Peak is 1,001 meters, Table Mountain is (via Platteklip Gorge) is 3 km, and Lion’s Head is 2 km (1 mile=1.6km=1609.34m).  I knew that I was in no shape to hike all three peaks but I had goals on what I could do. We started with Devil’s Peak which is just as pleasant as its name. I wanted to make it at least halfway up the mountain but about 1/4 of the way up I was almost in tears because I didn’t think I could make it. In the moment I was about to give up, I stopped and prayed and convinced myself that I wouldn’t let anything stand in between me and my goal. The rest of the way up I sang in my head, “Just take one step at a time, there’s no need to rush. It’s like learning to fly or falling in love...”. No matter how the rest of the day went I was going to be proud because before I knew it, I was at the spot I wanted to make it to. I hiked up half of the last peak of the day but I was so proud when I saw the group of remaining hikers coming around the corner to complete the hike. That has been my favorite day here so far.

I have been having the time of my life and I am excited to see what else I will gain from this experience.

Working Through Circumstances

Y’all two weeks really fly by! I mean it feels like I just wrote on here yesterday!

Anywho... Even though these past two weeks have flown by, they have been packed with so many things that I can’t even remember what has been going on. I have spent most of my time at work planning my first fundraising event but due to circumstances out of my control, part of the event had to be cancelled. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed but hopefully we will still be able to raise the money we need.

The organization that we (The Happy Africa Foundation) is fundraising for is a  partner of African Impact called Sporting Chance. African Impact helps with their sports programming in the local schools and different clinics during the year. Sporting Chance also runs different programs during the year to get the kids in disadvantaged communities active and off of the streets. One such program is the Street Cricket program that is run in ten of the communities in and around Cape Town. The last time the program ran in 2010 it involved 15 communities in the Western Cape with 3500 children participating in the event. Since then, Sporting Chance’s funding has been cut and they have not been able to hold this event for the communities. The goal of our fundraising event was to raise enough funds to co-sponsor at least one community to be able to participate in this program.

So far our fundraising efforts have not produce a lot of revenue but the event would have made up for that. We are still able to hold the charity cricket match that will bring in some money and I was able to collect some really good raffle prizes that will generate some funds as well. I have faith that we will be able to reach our fundraising goals and all of the stress will be worth it when I see the children playing street cricket.

If you are able to help in any way, you can follow this link to donate:  (http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiser-web/fundraiser/showFundraiserPage.action?userUrl=CapeTownHappyAfricaFoundation&faId=491403&isTeam=false)

This has been a really good couple of weeks. I got lost on the trains with one of my really good friends (We took the wrong train out of the station). We had a fun adventure trying to get on the correct line and getting home before dark (taking the train after dark is a BIG no no). I attended my first (not really the first but the first one didn’t count lol) soccer match in Cape Town. It was Cape Town vs Nigeria and even though the game was not good, just experiencing the culture and people in the stadium was worth the ticket. We were also able to collect a lot of abandoned beer cups as resources for the focal projects we work on everyday. Another exciting event was the opening of the FIRST Forever 21 in South Africa! Zoe and I woke up early on a Saturday (for once) to be some of the first ones in the store.

This past weekend was a bitter sweet weekend because it was Zoe’s last one here. On Saturday, I went on a road trip to Hermanus to see the whales in the bay. You are able to kayak into the sea with the whales but I don’t want to end up like Jonah so I passed on that adventure. The trip was very peaceful and exactly what I needed because I knew I would have to say goodbye to Zoe the next day. Sunday I went to breakfast with some of my housemates and then hung out with Zoe the rest of the day. I finally road the Cape Wheel at the waterfront which produced the most amazing views. Zoe is one person who has been there for me no matter what and she will be missed dearly. I know that we will meet up in the States and travel up to Canada to go see Naz.

I will post picture the moment the internet allows me to do so!


Existing to Live

Sometimes it is easy to forget just how blessed we are to be on this earth. We get caught up in your complaints about what is going on around us and we forget to enjoy the rainbows in the clouds.

Life is precious and meant to be lived. We weren’t created to just exists on this earth and go about our days on autopilot. We were given life to live to our fullest potential. Before I arrived in Cape Town I had a conversation with someone that challenged me to live in my purpose and have faith that God wouldn’t put me somewhere I wasn’t meant to be. He had no idea about where my life has taken me and what I’ve experienced but he saw that when I talked about my plans to come here, that was what was in my heart and purposed for me. If you think about all of the people who didn’t make it into this world or were taken from the earth or aren’t given the opportunities you are, you don’t owe anybody else but yourself to Live. Life can get you down but remember there is always sunshine after the storm.

With that being said, Cape Town is beginning to be nice to me! She isn’t trying to freeze me anymore even though one of the worst cold fronts came through last week. I have some great things I am working on at work and I am loving every minute of it.

This is a shorter blog but I don’t really have much else to say about the last two weeks. Cheers!


Lessons Learned

I have learned so much in the short amount of time I have been here so far. For example, I learned that it is very easy to be deported from South Africa and banned for five year if you overstay your Visa (No this hasn’t happened to me but I do know of plenty of people it has happened to). I have also learned that it is not a good thing to call a English girl ‘thick’. Apparently that means you are stupid not voluptuous (Oops). I have learned that no matter how far away from home you are, you will still hear about all of the craziness that goes on. If I went off of what I heard from the internet and news I would think that the US is falling apart right now. But I know better than to believe that there is no good going on in the US because the bad news will always reach you before the good does. In relation to that, I have learned that no amount of time can go by to make people less ignorant (and I use the word ignorant purely in the fact that people just don’t know what is going on in the world around them). In relation to that, I learned that many people joke about Americans thinking that Africa is one country but the reality is that many people do (it is actually ridiculous). I have also learned a lot about myself.  I learned that I have to make lists to make my life feel less hectic (I actually did that in school so I do not know why I figured I wouldn’t have to do that once I left school). I have learned to make genuine connections with people no matter how long they are here because you can get to know some amazing people. I learned that no matter how much you may think you won’t like someone, it is fairly easy to find the good in everybody no matter what (I thank Kristin for that because she had an amazing heart). I have learned so much more but the point of this post is that you will never stop discovering new things about yourself because situations will always change and your environment affects who you are and what you think. It is okay to grow into a new person and learn from the people who surround you, that doesn’t change who you are it just elevates your understanding of people.

Now for my bi-weekly update! I think I have officially found the most relaxing and beautiful place on earth (well except for the fact that there are huge birds that like to run down hills and scare the living daylights out of me). But Kirstenbosh Gardens are literally a oasis for me. I could go there every weekend and never get bored of going. The air there smells different, the trees look majestic, and the food there is amazing (the air may seem fresher to me because my room is very stuffy). I had the loveliest time laying out on the grass and chatting with my housemates. I also went on a wine tour that takes you to two different wine regions here in Cape Town. South Africa is the 8th largest distributor of wine in the world but they have some of the most unique wines I have ever tasted. I learned how to sample and drink wine to optimize the taste so I can look fancy the next time I have wine in public (remember the 5 ‘S’: sight, swirl, sniff, sip, savor). I’ve had the best two weekends with weather which gets me excited about summertime here!

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This is a sign in Kirstenbosch Gardens

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These are some of the views in the garden. I didn’t get many pictures

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This is Freddy the goat. He lives on a vineyard where he provides the cheese to compliment the wines.

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These are the vineyards, dogs, and wine I saw on my tour.


Now for some pictures of my ride to work on a late day... The views are incredible!

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Beauty in the work

Whoa! Where has this week gone? Actually the past two weeks have been a blur to me. When you love what you are doing, it is easy to let time fly by! But these last two weeks have flown by for many reason in addition to that!

For one week straight I was in bed sick (No it has nothing to do with Ebola. That outbreak is in West Africa which is nowhere near where I am). I started the week with a really annoying sinus infection and an equally annoying stomach ulcer. Somehow I managed to upset two areas of my body at the same time. That had me in bed and highly medicated for Monday-Thursday. Thursday night/Friday Morning took a turn for the worse. I managed to pick up a stomach virus that had me up all night and crying to go to the doctor’s office in the morning. At one point it felt like someone had a death grip on my stomach and was squeezing everything out of me at once (that is the pretty way to describe what was happening). To settle my stomach enough for me to hold my medicine down, the doctor had to give me a shot in my butt. I have no idea what he shot into me but I know that I felt ten times better (which was still bad) about a hour later. I slept the whole weekend trying to get better enough to come back to work on Monday. I wasn’t feeling 100% by Monday but at least I had enough energy to get out of bed so off to work I went! It felt good to get out of the house because everybody else is slowly catching the stomach bug I had so there are too many germs here for me.

The amazing thing about all of that is the cost of me getting better. My doctor’s appointment on Monday cost me R380 which is roughly $38. The bag of medicine I received to treat everything cost me R368 which is roughly $36. My second visit to the doctor, including the injection into my behind, cost me R393 which is roughly $39. Finally, my second round of medicine cost me R130 which is roughly $13. Thinking about that in the context of ZAR (South Africa’s currency), those trips to the doctor would have been expensive. But I still see things in USD and I would have paid ten times more for everything I had to pay for last week! Health care is extremely affordable here so far.

This week back at work has been smooth. There is something that was said to me yesterday that made me think more about the impact the organizations I work for make. Yesterday, I was doing the finances and putting everything into the spreadsheet as it needs to be done every month. While in the process of entering everything in, it is easy to just see numbers and a process that is taking up your time. But if you look a bit deeper into what you are doing, you can see every fundraiser, every donor, every event, and everything the organization has done that month to affect change  in the communities we work in. You get to see the action behind what we are asking people to donate to and that is the coolest thing to me! After looking at the spreadsheet that way, my day began to feel a lot less like work.

Over all, that weather is slowly getting better here but it is still freezing to me most days. I am back healthy again and I have picked up plenty of vitamin C and different things to fight off sickness. This wouldn’t be my blog if something hasn’t happened to an electronic of mine but my local phone (not my expensive Samsung that I protect with my life) was knocked out of my hand while I was texting and never to be see again. But I bought a really cheap phone so it is not a problem to get another one at some point. I just need to get a bungee cord connected to all of my electronics so if someone tries to take them I can just snatch it back up to me. I am determined to have an incident  free life/blog soon!

Oh and this is the first August in YEARS that I will not be heading back to school! This is weird and also means I have to start paying my student loans soon, Yikes!

Sorry, no pictures this time but the new initiative I am fundraising for could use your help so please follow this link to learn all about it: http://www.happyafricafoundation.org/project-detailed.html?pcode=30


Constant Change

Let’s begin today with some GREAT news! My Computer is FIXED! I finally got in contact with my brother who informed me that my computer had a virus on it! Naturally I panicked because I have no idea how to get rid of a virus nor did I want to pay for someone knowledgeable in this area to fix it. My brother gave me the easiest solution to end my problem... wipe the computer and start over! That would be fine if I had an external hard drive to save all of my files but I did not so I needed a plan B.  Plan B turned out to be a lot less destructive, I refreshed my computer to before I was having my server connection issues and everything is working perfectly again! I was praying extra hard throughout the whole process because I would have been devastated if I lost any of my documents.

I would love to say that all of my electronics are in good shape and in my possession but that would be too easy! Of course as I am fixing my computer I manage to drop my phone and crack the screen severely! But do not worry (mom and dad), there are plenty of places I can get the screen fixed here and I will stay there with my phone as it is getting fixed so I will not have another store of how my phone got stolen (*insert reassuring smile*).

On to more eventful news, last week was #beyondtheroots!!! This was an exciting time for me because I was finally able to return to the place that made me fall in love with Cape Town, Red Hill! Red Hill is a unique township because it is an informal settlement built on private land. This means that there are no permanent structures in the whole community. The government is renting the land off of the owner until a more permanent solution is found but the community has been located there for several years. In addition to uncertainty about where they live, Red Hill’s location makes it a difficult place to live. As the name would suggest, Red Hill is remotely located on top of a hill/mountain. If you do not own a car or have a way to get up and down the hill it can prove difficult to find a job or get to school. I fell in love with this community because I met some of the most cheerful people living there. Not that people are not just as happy in the other townships but I just felt something different up there.

African Impact’s Beyond the Roots initiative not only celebrated Mandela Day this past Friday but also its 10th birthday! Across our many projects, 10 gardens were built to promoted sustainable food sources and healthy eating habits. Each project’s garden was impressive within itself but we had a unique challenge with Red Hill being an informal settlement. The government can choose to move the whole township at anytime so anything built there must be able to move with the community. With the smart thinking of some of our incredible staff we were able to build a hanging garden at Red Hill Preschool. We partnered with Can Grow to plant bean sprouts in hanging cans and we also built a hanging herb garden made out of recycled soda bottles (that myself and Sarah cut and drilled holes in most of Thursday). The preschool is also in need of a new stove to cook lunch for the children during the day so I organized bake sale to cover some of the costs. To make the bake sale fun to the volunteers in the house, we made it into a cooking competition putting four teams against each other in the kitchen. The baked goods ranged from cookies to teddy bear cupcakes and I also baked up a batch of carrot cake cupcakes. All of the treats were sold at the Beyond The Roots celebration and all of the proceeds are going towards the purchase of a new stove! I could go on about Beyond The Roots but I will not make you read an essay right now. In the end it was a great day! Oh and I got to see the little girl that stole my heart! Pinky!

I am having such an amazing time here in Cape Town and I wouldn’t change this experience for the world! It has been hard living in a house that I am constantly getting close to new friends and then seeing them leave a few weeks later but I have to say that this wouldn’t feel the same if I wasn’t getting to know people who live all over the globe. I do know that I will be making a trip up to Canada to see Naznin when I get back to the states! And I have so many houses to crash in if I ever go to Holland I cannot count! After Holland I can hop on over to Ireland or England to see some people. Oh and I cannot forget about Singapore, I have to go visit my (new) brother there at some point! And then I will head down to Alabama to visit some friends close to home! I know that so many adventures will come out of this one trip that I am excited to see who else I will meet! There is so much beauty in change that I can’t help but to be excited about everything! I will just miss all of my friends dearly as they leave!

I ended up writing you a essay anyways but I have so much to tell you guys about! But I will leave you with some picture to look at (FINALLY)!

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This was the sunrise one morning on the way to work (yes mom I am up before the sun most days)

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I went sightseeing one weekend and had a blast!

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I thought these were cool! They sit outside of the courthouse to remind people of where the country has come from.



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Here are some of my kids from the aquarium trip striking a STARFISH pose! Oh I had to show that one of the girl’s name is Beyonce!

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This is Thuva my Singapore brother! We had a group session to remind him about why he is awesome!

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These were some cookies from the bake off!