It has been too long since my last update, and it is time to fill you in on the happenings of my five days in
Anyway, before I get too serious, let me tell you about what I got up to. We steamed into
Thankfully, the morning we arrived – the sea was calm. I awoke at to witness the truly spectacular sight of seeing the sunrise up over
The following morning we went on a 4-mile hike up to some ancient cliff dwellings where the San people used to live, and observed some San paintings. I was extremely reluctant to leave on the five-hour journey back to
Back at the ship, I had the advantage of hearing all of the stories from other students who had already been exploring the past two days. Some of them had gone cage diving to get close to some Great White Sharks! One of them told me they’d even been lucky enough to view a right whale swim right under their boat and then breach the water, not 10 feet away. I wish I could have seen that. Unfortunately, there is only ever so much time in each of these ports, and each begs a return visit to sample the deeper experience. The following day, I booked a tour of the
That night I went to the Theatre to see a play written and performed by Greg Coetzee about the South African male psyche. It was titled Breasts. I really didn’t go in with any expectations, but I laughed so long and so loud, that I think I developed three new sets of eye wrinkles. One of my favorite lines was during a monologue where the character is talking to his dead mothers’ grave, about a hippie girl who had just left him, ‘Save the whales, shoot a hippie!’ – I know, you really had to be there to get a little context. Anyway, the performance was so compelling that I returned the following evening.
The following day I took it upon myself to climb the treacherous
My last day in
The last township, Crossroads, was more like a shantytown. Homes were built from bits of cardboard or corrugated tin and iron. I spoke with several people who mostly expressed an increased sense of satisfaction with their circumstances, (as compared to the residents of the 1st community) mostly derived from the fact that their homes were their own (they purchased them), and that ownership at least afforded them some privacy. Most of them were fully aware of the cycle of poverty they were living in, one woman I spoke with in her mid-sixties, was the sole income-earner for her family of 11, including children, their partners and their children. She explained how, someone has to earn enough money in order for them to be able to send their children to school (to pay for transport was the main issue – education is free to minimum level), in order that they possibly might learn English, or some other skill, which might increase their chances of finding employment some day. Even so, among the skilled, unemployment was roughly 80%. And despite the official end to Apartheid, the whites still control the labor market, and the opportunities for blacks are simply not there – with work consisting of minimum wage manual labor of some form.
I am still processing my feelings from that day. I do know, however, that if I were living in
So I should end this letter soon. I apologize again for its length, but I hope you found it interesting. We shall be arriving in
Yesterday we held the Semester at Sea Olympic Games. They were a lot of fun, and you could really feel a great community spirit on board. I had the honor of singing the Olympic anthem before the awards ceremony in front of the whole ship. I sang a song called “World in
So long for now. I will write again from