The end of Africa...

Trip Start Oct 15, 2013
Trip End Jan 09, 2014

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What I did
Table Mountain Cape Town
Read my review - 5/5 stars
Table Mountain Aerial Cableway Cape Town
Read my review - 4/5 stars

Flag of South Africa  , Western Cape,
Saturday, December 7, 2013

              Last week of Africa DONE. I know these entries have been so sporadic, but I barely have any WiFi ever, and sometimes no power as well! I'll make this brief, because intense details aren’t fun for anyone.

                This week has basically been full of preparation for our final presentations for SHAWCO and for our work placement. Because we’ve spent the last three weeks evaluating and implementing new strategies for these businesses, we had to present that information to our boss… and to the community partners we were evaluating. Talk about intimidating. However, our partners were very understanding of the constructive criticism we had prepared; Tag Changers (the organization) has come a long way, and it’s only the beginning. With a formal mission statement and more of a groundwork in place, I think they’ll do a great job at helping the youth of South Africa.

                We also got to make a farewell luncheon for our work placement, full of American food like gourmet grilled cheese, chili fries and Coke floats. If I have nothing else to be proud of on this trip, I have that meal to remember. Afterwards, we danced, including some African dancing styles, along with the good old-fashioned twerk and dougee. We sang, I danced on the company table, and I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

                This week also marked the unfortunate passing of Nelson Mandela. We were concerned, given the massive support surrounding Mabida, what would happen at this crucial time. However, the South African people have been remarkably strong and resilient, coming together rather than creating further divides. There has been talk of white genocide, but nothing could be further from the truth at this point. They inspire me with their sense of Ubuntu, what the refer to as "the spirit of humanity". It’s all about sharing one another and learning from each other’s experiences and souls. Good stuff.

                Definitely nervous to head off to the next leg of our journey… South Africa has been a great experience, especially as our house has gotten closer. It will be hard to be apart from the family we’ve created. They’re heading back to their own families, after all! It’s harder and harder to realize that I won’t be home for the holidays, but I am lucky to have an understanding family. I had to do this, right?

                Tonight, we leave for London, where I’ll disembark. We rode the cable car up Table Mountain today, one of the seven new wonders of the world. Pictures attached! It was overwhelmingly beautiful; you can see all of the expansive Cape Town from up there, including both the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. That, combined with our visit to Kirstenbosch yesterday, makes up my favorite nature visits on this trip. At Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, I encountered a magical tortoise who led me to a waterfall. He happened across my path and began walking towards a bridge I hadn’t seen before, which eventually led to the waterfall! Call me crazy, but I would term that one magical adventure. 

                That’s a pretty succinct week in review! Other highlights include dancing with strangers, stealing my professor’s hat and a water park visit with our staff. South Africans know how to do roller coasters, and I’ll leave it at that. Great times for all. Can’t wait for London, but also can’t imagine leaving. Who knows what’s in store next?

                Cheers! J
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