Getting Acclimated

I’ve made it!!!

I have now been in Africa for 16 days, and it has been 16 of the most amazing days of my life.

It started out in Johannesburg last Saturday. We stayed at a place called Life on 3rd, which is a little Bnb in Melville, a town 15-20 minutes away from downtown Johannesburg. It was lead by a woman named Lydia and her crew, who were fantastic all week long. We spent most of our days in Joburg making day trips to different museums, old Apartheid jails, and different neighborhoods and cities nearby. Johannesburg is very historic; many different key events and places of the Apartheid movement took place here. We went to Constitutional Hill, which holds an old jail that Nelson and Winnie Mandela were both imprisoned at one point. Another day we went to the Voortrekker monument, which explained the history of the Dutch people and their settlement in South Africa. Another memorable stop was the Cradle of Human Kind, which for a long time was said to be the place where the first humans lived. I also had an eye-opening moment when we went to Soweto, which is another town surrounding Johannesburg. We drove through the township to get to our stop, which was the Kliptown School. This area was nothing like I had ever seen before: No trash pick up, houses that looks to be made of scrap metal, people fighting and gambling in the streets, and all around just severe poverty. It truly amazed me. I had always heard that there was extreme poverty in parts of Africa, but I had never seen it for myself until now. It was something I will never forget, and it showed me how fortunate I really am.  Although we only spent 5 days here, it was an awesome city with great history, and I look forward to visiting again someday.

We left Joburg to arrive in Capetown. I could already tell how different it would be. It was near the beach, and also had really big mountains. I had been to the beach, and I had been to the mountains before, but this is the first place in the world I have been where they were together in the same city. I knew right there that it was going to be an amazing month! We are staying at the Protea hotel, which is owned by Mariott, and it is a beautiful building with an amazing view of the city and the famous Table Mountain. The city right now is going through the worst water crisis it has had in 100 years. Although it can be difficult at times, I am really proud of the city for being able to compensate, conserve, and keep moving forward. For us, it means things like no tap water, 90 second showers, and even hand washing clothes. It takes some getting used to, but it really is not that bad. Also, you realize that you are helping the city and the people of South Africa conserve.

So far, it has lived up to every expectation I could have set. Although I have only been here for 10 days, and still have over half of my trip left, I feel like I have seen so much, but still have so much left to do. We have taken a tour of the Cape Peninsula, which is without a doubt the most beautiful scenery I have been able to experience in my life, highlighted by sightings and funny confrontations with Baboons and Ostrich. We have taken tours of the U.S. Consulate building, a tour of the South African Parliament building, and got to spend time on the Cape Town beaches. While we have done so much, there is still so much to do. We have to hike Table Mountain and Lions Head, go play with the monkeys at the Bird and Monkey Sanctuary, go to a Rugby match, go surfing, do community service, and still much more! I am really excited to tell more about my adventure as it continues.

Thanks for Reading!

Mark

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