Updates from South Africa!

From Erin Sio, science teacher:

March 7: It’s 12:45am here.  Kids are all checked into their hotel rooms, and god willing, they will go to bed.  It’ll be an early morning tomorrow–breakfast at 8:15 and then up to Table Mountain followed by the District 6 museum downtown in the city.  After that we’re having a welcome dinner with our host families.  I’ll try to post some photos tomorrow.  I am off to bed.  The groups traveled beautifully.  I feel lucky.

March 8: newly opened, it’s designated as the Greenest Hotel in Africa.  There were living walls, green roofs, geothermal heating and cooling, and sustainable grounds.  After getting to bed late, the kids were up, packed and ready to roll at 9am.  We headed to Karen’s house (she’s our logistical coordinator and a host parent) to drop off luggage and pick up lunch.  Then we drove up to …Table Mountain and took the cable car to the top.  The floor of the car rotates so everyone gets a 360 view.  As I am sure you can tell from the photos, the cloud cover was low.  At times we couldn’t see a thing, then seconds later the clouds would lift and there would be a spectacular view.  We picnicked up top, then came down where it was sunnier and warmer.

After Table Mountain we visited the District Six museum.  It’s a museum dedicated to remembering a vibrant and diverse neighborhood at the base of Table Mountain that the apartheid government claimed they wanted using a law similar to eminent domain.  Families were forced to sell valuable land below value and if they didn’t concede, the government forcibly removed families from their homes.  People were relocated to a desolate area 30km north of the city where there were no jobs and no public transportation.  Our museum guide lived there and spoke of his experience.  Elsie River, where the kids are living, is one of those areas in the Cape Flats.

We drove back to Karen’s for a welcome dinner with all the host families. The last of the photos shows the kids waiting in Karen’s back patio for dinner to be ready and host families to arrive.  They were SOOO TIRED!  They will certainly sleep well tonight.

Tomorrow is a big church day that the kids will spend with families.  Afterward will be a traditional Sunday dinner.  We adults will take a tour a bit outside the city as there is a world-class bike race in town, the Cape Argus race from Cape Town to Cape Point and back, and the last place to be in a car is anywhere near that bike route.
That’s it for now.  We’ll have another update on Monday.  I’ll try to have one of the kids write.

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