This trip to South Africa has been the most memorable two weeks of my life. As a group, we have had many amazing experiences throughout the course of the trip that cannot be explained by stories or pictures.
The most eye opening part of the trip for me was seeing the townships around both Cape Town and Johannesburg. These people live in conditions that many Americans have never seen or imagined. Nevertheless, these people are very welcoming and seem to be happy and content with their lives.
Completing the service project in Varkplaas was something that brought great joy to all of us on the trip, and more importantly, to those that live in the community. One thing that I have realized is that there are, unfortunately, many communities similar to Varkplaas all across South Africa.
Most of the students in the elementary school that we visited on Friday were from extremely poor communities in the rural areas outside Cape Town. Some of these students travel over an hour each way to go to school everyday and go home to little food and poor living conditions. Like many others who live in these types of communities, these children were full of energy and seemed meet and play games with us. The trip to the school was an amazing experience for our class as well as the students in the school we visited.
Although we may have seen a lot of poverty throughout our trip, there were many other amazing experiences that were positive. From getting to experience the culture of Soweto, to meeting a Former South African president, this trip had it all. Hiking Table Mountain, one of the seven natural wonders to the world, was one of the coolest things I have ever done. Although the hike was extremely long and grueling, the view from the top was absolutely beautiful. In addition, many of us had the chance to go on a tour of South Africa Winelands, which was an awesome day which I will not forget anytime soon.
Although I am sad to leave South Africa, I will bring back stories and experiences that will stay with me forever. I am so grateful that I had the chance to go on this trip and will not forget any of the amazing people I got to share this experience with.