Thursday, March 12, 2009

Leaving the bosom of Mama Africa

Well that was a quick six months. Jenna and I are leaving tomorrow. I'm planning on writing a much better summary/wrap-up/cathartic statement on the plane. Too much to think about and pack-up at the moment.

Specifically, I want to show some more pictures of the neighborhood I've been living in and downtown. I realized I put up a ton of nature pics and could give the false impression that that's what it all looks like here.

There's a bunch of things I wanted to blog about, but will do after I get home. I'm too much of a perfectionist and want to get the photos and layout just so and it takes freakin' forever. So keep checking back over the next couple weeks and I'll put some up in between securing my dream job.

It's been challenging here, but I feel like I passed. There's a lot to process and being here for six months, I've settled into a comfortable little routine so it'll be interesting to see this place from a different perspective (Portland, Oregon). I've done some pretty amazing things here and have met people from all over Africa and the world (especially Germans!) South Africa really is Africa, many people have this misconception that it's not because people don't live in huts and trade goats. Actually, there are a bunch of people that still do that in the North.

This is my last full day in Cape Town, I'm going to go take some pictures and get off this computer. I'm planning on having a get together at North Bar (for those of you in Portland) and having a slide show in the background. I'll let you know the specifics but probably next week. Anyone have a digital projector I could borrow?

Okay, more soon.

African National Congress Rally in a township

We went to an ANC rally in a township called Khayelitsha, one of the largest informal settlements in Cape Town. It's pretty much many square miles of shacks like the ones in these photos where millions of people live without running water and other basic services. The crime, drug/alchohol use, abuse, violence is also abundantly present for the (literally) millions of people that live here.

The ANC is the political organization that Nelson Mandela was a part of and that was responsible for ending Apartheid. This rally was for the presidental candidate Jacob Zuma (called Jay Zee, ha ha). He's a less than savory character to say the least but since I'm still here maybe I'll withhold any critique till I get back home. He's the guy on the T-shirts (which is a big draw for people living in destitute.)

The rally itself was amazing. The road leading to the stadium was lined with people singing and cheering the buses and cars going through. We were some of the only white people. While walking to the rally, someone said, "you are welcome here comrades." There are white supporters of the ANC and even some that hold positions. People were very welcoming of us and even did some translating when some of the talks were in Xhosa or Afrikans.

I can't wait to share some videos I took of the singing and dancing, it's unlike any political rally I've ever been to. It also felt like a very African experience.

It's also a little sad too, because all of these people from the township put so much energy and emotion into this political party that has let them down very badly and continues to do so. If this energy could be channeled into something more productive the people would be much better off.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Saturday, January 31, 2009

oh yeah, and there's baboons!

Coast Trip

Last week Jenna and I went to stay at one of her co-worker's beach house in Hermanus about 2 hours from Cape Town. We also got a chance to go hiking finally.
Anyway, here are some photos.

Lion's Head

I hiked part of Table Mountain called Lion's Head. The big, flat mountain in the middle is Table Mountain. The peak to the far left is Devil's Peak which I live behind and can see all the time from the neighborhood (Check out post on that.) Lion's Head is the peak to the far right.

Towards the top, the trail was really gnarly. Here is my boss who took me on the hike early in the morning. You can see some chains that you hold onto so you don't fall off the cliff. There would be nothing like this in the states! Can you imagine? Other parts of the "trail" require climbing up steel ladders and boulders.

Here I am climbing up some of the chains. There is an alternate route for babies that doesn't require chains.

A view from the top looking out over Cape Town and the Bay. You can see Robben Island where Nelson Mandela and other political prisoners were held for over 20 years.

We Are More Alike Than Different... or, "What I Saw on a Train"