Reflections by Margot, Daphne and Ellen
WHAT A WEEK! We landed Sunday the 4th of February in Cape Town. After we received our suitcases we went to the exit where Marie was waiting for us. She welcomed us to Cape Town. She and her husband Chris drove us to the apartments where we were going to stay. There was not much time to unpack and relax because there was a meeting with all the students of the project at Bossa, a nice restaurant nearby the apartments. We talked a lot with each other as we started to get to know each other. We went to bed early because we were tired of the long flight and we had a busy week ahead of us.
The day started typically on African time. The bus was one and a half hour too late, but after the little delay, we arrived at the University of the Western Cape (UWC). In a classroom, we met the South African students. They are all very nice, and we introduced ourselves. Today we also started our first lessons for the project. We learned about Digital Storytelling, Inter-professional Collaboration and Community Development. All very interesting topics. After our first real day, we went to the supermarket, bought some food, went straight home to cook and after that we all went to bed to get a good night sleep.
Today we had a lesson about protect management, Marie taught us about how projects and working in groups are based on the same steps. We will use some of these steps on Monday to make the project planning easier. After the lesson, it was time for our own presentations of our group plan about what we are going to teach the children. All plans were very interesting to listen to and we got some ideas from the other groups. In the afternoon we were playing some typical South-African games. It was really hard because it was very hot outside, but it was a very pleasant afternoon. After the school day, a group of the Belgian and Dutch students went to the Waterfront. It was such a beautiful place with a lot of street artists. It was also an exhausting day and after we got some dinner, we went home.
This day started with a lesson about empowerment. Mrs Louw tried to give us some insight in three subjects: self-empowerment, self-confidence and emotional intelligence. We first did an exercise with quotes; there were five quotes on the wall and you had to choose one that you connected with on a personal level. After we chose our quotes we were then told to turn around the page with the quote on it. At the back of the paper, there was the person who said the quote. Some people were happy with the person behind the quote because they had people they could look up to like Nelson Mandela. Others weren’t happy when they saw that their quote came from Hitler. With that, she tried to teach us the value of who the person behind the quote is. Actions matter. During the next workshop, we talked about cultural diversity. This session focused on values and norms of different cultures and how we experience our own culture. The session also focused on different languages and how to overcome the gaps you could have with foreigners. We all thought it was very useful and we had fun comparing values with each other. That evening we went to signal hill to view the sunset. It was a very beautiful and relaxing experience after a full day. After that, we went home and slept.
This day started with some delay. One of the girls in our project got sick so some of us had to go down to be the “nurse”. The others had to wait for the bus which had an accident. Instead of leaving at 7 a.m. we left at 9.10 a.m. Then a miscommunication led to a bus full of students standing in front of the wrong school. After a few hours of driving, we finally arrived, at 11.15 a.m. at the right school (Harold Cressy High School). We spent 20 minutes at the school to experience the area where we are going to give our PE class. After that, we left with a group of people to the Heart of Cape Town Museum. This is a museum in memory of Christian Barnard and all the who played a role in the surgical feat that pushed the boundaries of science into the dawn of a new medical era. An era in which it became possible to transplant the symbol of the essence of life, our human heart. It was so nice to see where they did the first heart transplantation and honoured the donors and the receivers who gave the project a chance.
Today we started at school, we arrived early because our bus was finally on time! At school, we got a lesson about Pedagogy of Physical Activity at schools. He first showed us what big of a difference there really is between Europe and South Africa. This he did by showing maps where the countries expand. This was interesting to see. We also learned about the project plan of the government for physical education at schools. After this we went to Le Bonheur Crocodile farm, where we could choose 3 different things to do: diving with crocodiles, watching people dive with the crocodiles or do a tour to see crocodiles. We all did the crocodile diving. We were all scared and excited at the same time, but we did it and it was an amazing experience! After this, we went to the Drakenstein Lion Park. This is a sanctuary for lions that came from all over the world, all from different kind of bad situations. The lions were beautifully taken care of and we took some nice pictures to send home. The next stop for a few of us was Stellenbosch. Chris first drove us to a little bar next to his property where we learned to drink the amazing apple ciders Hunters and flying fish. After making a turn at Chris’s place, we were ready to go to Stellenbosch. With 5 people in the back of his Range Rover and 2 at the back seat, we drove there. We went to some local souvenir shops and had a delicious dinner. We drank some cocktails and took an Uber home. The rest of the group had already been at home and were at that time also in Stellenbosch to have some late-night fun. They took an Uber back around 2 a.m. Saturday morning.
Since a few students were out late the previous night, we had to be on the bus at 9 o’clock. We visited two wine farms. At the first wine farm, we got to taste some chocolate, gin, beer, wine and we could view some glassblowers. We did the chocolate tasting and it was very good! After the tasting, we bought some chocolate. We also had some lunch on this farm with a nice view. In the afternoon we went to the second wine farm where we have a cheese and wine tasting. After the tasting, some of us felt a little bit drunk. So we went to chill on the grass outside. When we were home in the evening we had a game night with the group. We play some games like Werewolves and juffen. It was lots of fun.
On Sunday we all sat down to do some homework and some studying for the classes that we’re missing in Belgium. In the evening we went to Bossa again and we ate some delicious food with our friends who returned from their visit to Table Mountain.