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21 posts categorized "Cape Town Service"

Back at it again . . .

We have had a busy last couple of days! Yesterday, we returned to a church in Langa where we completed our painting project and rebuilt a table. We enjoyed our time working with the community there, and it was satisfying to see the finished project. We returned to the flat to refuel and gather supplies to go to the Maitland Cottage Children's Rehabilitation Center. We had visited the previous week and seeing the progress the kids had made in so little time brought smiles to all of our faces. In the boys' and girls' wards we decorated the walls using snowflakes and and paper cut outs of the children's hands. Some of us worked in the art room with the kids and did their makeup. It was such an energizing experience to work with the kids there. When we had to leave, many of us already expressed a desire to return. 

After a day of service, we had an exciting activity planned for dinner! We went to something called "Food Jam" where we were tasked with preparing our own dinner in teams. We all chose a team name out of a hat, and the names varied from "Love Triangle" to "Beer Chicken." We gathered in our teams and read over our recipes as lively music played in the background. We laughed, danced, and cooked as we discovered that our group has a variety of cooking skill levels! Overall, it was a fun way to end the day.

Today, we did not have any service activities planned, but rather we experienced some Cape Town culture! In the morning we took a beading workshop where we learned how to make beaded keychains of a variety of shapes. We then returned to Ned Dorman secondary school for a cultural exchange where we enjoyed food from both Afrikaans and Xhosa cultures while listening to the schools marimba band. We also shared what we had learned in our Afrikaans and Xhosa language classes. Then we went to the Green Square Market where we all learned how to bargain (some of us more than others!!). Afterwards, the group met for lunch at the Food Lovers market and concluded our outings for the day. 




Starting the Cycle for Recycling

Last night, we had the opportunity to go to Bo-Kaap, a section of Cape Town, and learn how to cook a traditional Cape Malay meal. Many of us said that it was the best dinner we've had on this trip, followed by the best dessert! 

Today we started quite early with a 7:00 a.m. breakfast, followed by an 8:00 a.m. departure for a local high school to complete our impact project. We split into four groups: box-building, poster-drawing, banner-painting, and powerpoint-making. Each group was comprised of CIEE students with the high school students.  We were able to interact with them while doing our respective tasks and by 2:00 p.m. the whole project was presented to around 50 class representatives and it was a success! 

Seeing how we were able to not only start and finish what seemed like a daunting task in one day, but how we were also able to leave people with a positive idea about recycling was extremely fulfilling for the group. We were sad to leave because we made friends at the school, but were also hopeful because now we had somewhere to one day return to. Knowing that we're the group that helped this school begin a recycling initiative is something that will resound with all of us for life. Lastly, we were able to see that although we are from different cultures, there are still infinite similarities (but also differences) between all of us and we built meaningful relationships on those similarities and differences. 


After that experience, we went to a soup kitchen where we served food to homeless people.  We met many nice, interesting people there and got to listen to their life stories and talk about ourselves as well.  It was nice to be able to have a mature, friendly conversation with people much older than us and live very different lives.


Until tomorrow, in the CITY OF DREAMS!!!!!!!

-Meagan and Bhrij :)


Walking and Waddling!

Yesterday was an exciting day of service and sight seeing in the community of Langa, a township and suburb of Cape Town that is ridden with many inner-community hardships. We started our day in Langa by helping repaint and reconstruct some parts of the Methodist Church of Africa, a humble community center that holds a lot of significance to the locals. With our hands still covered in paint and our sleeves still rolled, we headed towards Mzsani's where we ate tradition South African cuisine to our hearts' content. We were welcomed by incredible views of Table Mountain, lively music and opportunities to get on our feet and dance!

After lunch, we took an experiential walking tour of Langa where we were surprised to see so many diverse community initiatives, everything from new schools to graffiti competitions to a communal performing arts center. Our day ended at Groenvlei High School where we were overjoyed to see our newfound friends again and bond over some well-cooked braai, a traditional South African BBQ! We heard some moving speeches by the local high school students followed by a screening of the oscar-nominated South African film, "Call Me a Thief". It was a breathtaking feature film that was even more memorable because we had the chance to meet the movie's composer of the musical score as well the director himself!    

It's not everyday that you get to see a colony of African penguins two feet away from you! Today, we took a trip down along the Cape peninsula to visit our feathery little friends who enjoy waddling and taking swims on their private beach. When our stomachs started growling, we took a quick lunch stop at Bertha's Restaurant where we enjoyed some fish n' chips and an amazing waterfront view. To continue our adventure, we drove out to the most southwestern point of Africa, Cape Point, followed by a quick hike to enjoy the views from the Cape of Good Hope!   



A Long Walk... for Breakfast!

Yesterday, we started the day off by going to language class to learn Afrikaans and Xhosa, and we began practicing our dialects to present on Wednesday. We then followed up our class with a visit to St. Rafael's with a quick lunch in the van and we got to partake in teaching and observing some of the classes. The children had a multitude of questions for us and it was interesting engaging in such advanced conversations. They were also very inviting and warm towards us being there and made us feel welcome! It was hard to part ways, but knowing that we were able to come back to paint next week made it a little easier.

Following that experience, we embarked on a team building exercise where we had to complete a multitude of puzzles and decipher clues in order to escape the room. To continue the fun, we ended the day at the mall where we shopped until dinner at an Italian restaurant for pizza. 

Today we had a bright and early start, beginning with a hike to the top of Campus Hill where we enjoyed a nice assortment of pastries and coffee. The hike wasn't easy, but as you can see it was worth it! After breakfast, we had a debrief on sympathy and empathy followed by three activities.

After a long morning, we headed down to the UCT campus store where we purchased school wear, and had noodles back at the dorms for lunch. Then we went to  nearby high school to bond and meet the students to prepare for our brie (barbecue) with them tomorrow night. Our preparation included a dance off and sing off that featured our leaders. After a long strenuous day, we headed back to our dorms and had enchiladas for dinner. It was so yummy! Can't wait for our day tomorrow, signing off. XOXO, Alice and Siena






Flower Power

To start the day, we went out for breakfast at Coco Wah Wah. After our meal, we headed to one of our program leader's old school. The private school was called St. Joseph's and was located in Cape Town. We were given a tour of their facility, sitting through classes, hung out with the special needs students, and played with the k-7 kids during recess/lunch.

After our tour of the school we headed back to the CIEE building and started a seminar on power and privilege. The program leaders opened with several interactive activities which evolved into more in-depth conversations about what power and privilege looked within the context of the trip. We discussed how power is reflected through the school systems in the US. We talked about how different traits that we don't have control over affect our social standing in the world such as race, gender, economic class, etc.

After the seminar, we bought flowers from a local flower stand and handed them to strangers to brighten their day. We also painted sings for the flower stands to help them bring in business. To end day, we had to switch rooms around to further bond with others participants. 

Signing off




Challenges: The Physical and The Emotional

These past two days have presented many physical and emotional challenges.  On Sunday, the group hiked up Lion's Head.  It took about two hours both ways and left us all very exhausted. But, the view of Cape Town from the top of the mountain made all the hard work worth it.


Today, on Monday, we started the day in a South African school, which gave us a more classroom-oriented approach to learning the culture. In two groups, comprised of CIEE kids and local school teens our age, we learned the very basics of either Afrikaans or Xhosa.  It was a big challenge, but we had fun learning with our new friends.


After lunch, we visited a non-profit children's hospital for those in need of rehabilitation.  We bonded with the children and grew close to them through games and other interactions.  We had a debrief about this experience after dinner, in which we discussed how we felt.  In general, there were many overwhelming emotions from not only the scenes of hardships but also that of joy. DSC_0525

City from Above and Below

    Today we took a cable car to the top of Table Mountain. It's common for pretty pictures of mountains to be used as screen savers or stock images, but it's so much more exquisite seeing it in person. Stock images don't include crisp mountain air, exhilaration of looking down off of a cliff, or the motion of the ocean and city so far below. Looking down on the clouds made us feel like we were in heaven, although heaven isn't ideally so cold; luckily, there was a cafe to warm us up. After a scenic descent from the mountain and a delicious lunch at The Waterfront, we had the opportunity to go on a bike tour around Woodstock.

    The funny thing about cities is that you can look at the whole thing from above and still not truly understand it, yet once you tour a just few blocks you suddenly become immersed in it completely. Seeing graffiti portraying the struggles and values of South Africa tells a tremendous amount about the community; these pictures about the apartheid, integration, and zebras were not framed in museums but painted on the streets of the community by artists who did it not for money, but for the sole purpose of expression. We also observed the gentrification in the community such as  the 12th highest rated restaurant in the world located across the street from eight-people families living off very little. In fact, one meal at said restaurant costs as much as the impoverished family's monthly income. If one was to enter the restaurant, it would be observable that the vast majority of the customers are white. This sheds light on the "financial apartheid" that the South African constitution failed to dismantle. Although Nelson Mandela empowered South Africans to free themselves from all legal aspects of the apartheid, the socio- economic effects of it are still present today. Overall today we saw Cape Town as a tourist and as a resident and ended the day with some amazing Ethiopian food.

Cya tomorrow! 

Danica and Audrey  DSC_0054

Some Much Needed Vitamin Beach

Prior to starting an eventful day filled with cleaning up the beach, some of us decided to work out in the morning at 6:15 a.m. at Cape Town University. The views and activity made for a really exciting start to quite a sandy day! Today was the first time we had breakfast at our dorms starting at 7:30 a.m. and the food was delicious! With eggs, beans, toast, and bacon, there was a really good variety of food for everyone. 

After breakfast, we headed to the train station to embark on our beach clean-up trip. Once we arrived to the beach, we listened to Geena, a conservationist, speak about ocean conservation, how litter affects the sea animals, and how the temperatures of the water can take a toll on our planet's oxygen levels. Hearing that turtles mistake plastic bags for jellfish, resulting in choking or starvation, we felt heartbroken and that sparked a desire to make a change and clean the beach to our best abilities. Picking up trash, we made the realization that we use way more unnecessary materials than we should, that unfortunately end up on the ground or in the ocean. 

Before returning on our journey back to the CIEE Center in Rondebosch, we enjoyed a classic beach lunch at Lucky Fish and Chips. With fried hake and "chips" (our fries), we were really full and satisfied, with 30 minutes left to explore the beach and the small surrounding shops. Though we were sad to go back to our dorms, we were thrilled to finally be able to do some laundry and walk around and shop. From smoothies, to markets, we discovered the diversity of Rondebosch and are falling in love with this city more and more every day! 

Jania and Meagan  IMG_3854



Exploring Cape Town

The students started today off with breakfast at a local cafe, Cocoa Wah Wah, just down the street from where we're staying. It was raining in the morning, so instead of starting with a walking tour of Cape Town, we went back to our classroom for an interesting lesson about teamwork and your individual role within a cooperative group.

After that, we got to tour part of the University of Cape Town and the city of Cape Town itself. We visited Cape Town's own "Central Park," as well as a street market and had lunch at the Eastern Market: a lively food bazaar. Our group got to see a few very important historical landmarks for the city and the country, such as the building where Nelson Mandela made his first public speech after his release from prison at Robbens Island in 1990. We finished our trip to the city at the Fort of Good Hope before heading back home to make sandwiches, which a few members of the group then distributed at a local soup kitchen and rehab center.

The day ended with dinner in the city at Hudson's Burger Joint, where we were a little overwhelmed by the amount of food they gave us, but it was incredible; the food here has been a big part of this experience. Overall, it was a fairly relaxing day and we're looking forward to everything else this program has to offer us in the coming weeks. Seeya tomorrow.  

- Jack and Rosa


Overnight Safari

To bring our trip to a close, the students went on an overnight safari during their last weekend in South Africa. After we arrived at Fairy Glen Private Game Reserve, we sandwiched a nature walk between lunch and dinner. The following morning, we went on a safari and saw most of the animals in The Big 5. The following pictures captured by Owen Hey chronicle our experience traveling around the game reserve. Thumb_IMG_0650_1024
Caption: Unfortunately, this rhinoceros was poached a few years ago. The poacher(s) sought the animal's horn and cut too deeply into the horn's growth plate for it to ever grow back. The horn is very valuable overseas. Both rhinos survived their poaching, though they experience negative emotional reactions to their poaching. Thumb_IMG_0696_1024
Tomorrow, we begin our journey back to the United States! I hope you enjoyed keeping up with the Cape Town Service & Leadership program. Until next time, Camille CIEE "Education as a Human Right" Program Leader