The Head of the Lion: South Africa, Day 1 Part 2
Our next stop was the Ubuntu AIDS Clinic, which serves the Khayelitsha Township. This small clinic provides treatment for HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis for about a million people. They are overwrought and exhausted, but the doctors and nurses there are dedicated to their cause. The South African government provides AIDS patients with free antiretroviral drugs, so the clinic is always busy. We heard from a doctor that worked there, and how they incorporated TB treatment with AIDS treatment, and how they organize everyone in order to effectively treat them. We also heard from a couple of women who were HIV positive, and they described how sick they had been and how the clinic had saved their lives and how they are now dedicated to saving others. One of the biggest challenges the clinic faces is making sure the patients take their medication correctly and religiously. They also aim to educate the population about how to prevent the transmission of the disease, although as of right now they’re not allowed to go into schools to educate the children. It was a touching visit and made me fully aware of the epidemic and how dedicated the South African government is to combating this deadly disease.
After the clinic we headed back to the ship. Sean and I had very little time to change and collect our hiking supplies before we had to meet up with the rest of our friends so we could hike Lion’s Head mountain in order to see the sunset. We hired a couple of cabs to take us to the trailhead, and after a particularly aggravating argument with one of the taxi drivers, we were able to set out up the trail. After a short time, it was very evident that some of us wanted to hike faster than others. After some brief annoyances with each other, we split up. Some hiked up the mountain at a fast pace, but I stayed back with a few people to leisurely stroll up. I hate being ditched when I’ve gone somewhere with a group, but that’s neither here nor there. Bailee, Alyssa, Cassie and I had a great time going up the mountain. It soon got dark, so we thought it was too dangerous to continue to the top in the dark. It didn’t matter though, the view of Cape Town and Table Mountain was breathtaking either way.
The girls and I then made our way down the mountain and took a cab to the V&A Waterfront, itching for some good food. We found the Harbor House, a swanky seafood place near the marina. We drank South African wine and had excellent food, but most of all, we had good company. Our waiter was incredibly cute, but unfortunately he batted for the other team. When we figured out that we had to be up in a mere 4 hours for shark diving, we decided to call it a night.
Photo courtesy of Alyssa Wenzel