This Time For Africa: South Africa, Day 1 Part 1
I was so excited for South Africa. I woke up with most of the ship before sunrise and watched us pull into Cape Town, with Table Mountain looming dark and ominous behind the twinkling city. As the sun rose, the light hit the mountain and softened its slopes, breathing that specific early-morning life into the city.
I got myself ready and went through immigration, not sure I should disembark the ship because I had an FDP at 10 AM, but so excited about this port that I did it anyway. I took the SAS-provided shuttle with Sean, Lexi, Will and Perri to the Victoria and Albert Waterfront, where cruise ships usually dock. I had my face pressed up against the window and was like a kid in a candy store with the knowledge that my parent had promised me the biggest lollipop in the store. The waterfront was larger than life, with a huge mall, huge marina, and a huge sense of European culture. It no longer felt like Africa, but somehow is still was.
By the time we got there, all I had time to do was get my bearings. We walked quickly through the mall and found a place where we could book our shark diving adventure. After we had that figured out, it was time for me to go back to the ship. Having already been late when I left my friends, I arrived back at the ship and was 45 minutes late for my FDP. I listened to the South African poets talk about their poetry and read some aloud, as I sat there fighting off the heavy hand of sleep. The presentation ended about 45 minutes early, so I headed back to my cabin. I discovered that I picked up an internet signal from the port and uploaded some photos to Facebook and did some internet business for a while, before I could fight it no longer and fell asleep. When I woke up, I had some lunch on the ship and set off for my second FDP.
I boarded the bus and we headed to Khayelitsha Township. A township can be compared to the favelas of Brazil, they are vast “shantytowns” made up of an entirely black population that live in poverty in very small shacks, often made of corrugated metal. We went to Vicky’s B&B, a very small hotel in the middle of the township. Vicky is a prominent member of the community, and explained to us how the townships govern themselves and take care of their own. The community requires a letter of recommendation to move to the township, and the B&B itself often collects school supplies so the local children can stay in school. After that, we headed to a nutrition center that teaches mothers how to properly feed their babies as well as employing these women. We bought crafts and were lucky enough to watch some of the women weave the beautiful rugs that were found in the store.
On walking back to the bus, I was greeted by several children that lived in the area. They ranged from about 3 years old to 10 years old, and were as curious as children back in the States, as you would expect them to be. All they wanted to do what touch us and play with us, and they really got a kick out of taking photos of us and each other with our cameras, and I’m really happy that I got to spend that short time with those children, who were just so happy to be around us. I can’t say for sure whether they were happy, but I do know that us being there and giving them the attention we did make them happy for a second at least.
To Be Continued…