After another great week in South Africa I have many more photos to share! From hiking Table Mountain, to attending rugby matches, shopping in the markets, diving with Great Whites, and hanging out in the townships, we have done it all! It is bittersweet to think that we are already halfway through our adventures in Cape Town…
Last weekend we hiked Table Mountain— which was quite the feat. It turns out that the hiking is a lot more like climbing really steep stairs for two hours. By the time we made it to the top of the mountain we were certainly ready for the lovely scenery and antiquated rock formations. (One of my roommates and I have already sworn to spend our final day on top of the mountain, as a last farewell to this beautiful city!)
Enough with the sentimentality though! After hiking Table Mountain in the morning we attended a rugby match between the Cape Town Stormers and the Free State Cheetahs. Needless to say, the crowd was quite enthusiastic, and certainly supportive of the home team! Though I knew nothing about the sport we were lucky enough to sit next to an old timer who taught us everything! (Understanding rugby moves me one step closer towards being a Capetonian!)
The next morning eight of us stumbled out of bed at 4 AM…. to go cage diving with the infamous South African Great Whites! It was a phenomenal experience! Certainly one that I will never forget! The sharks were ENORMOUS! (Much bigger than I had ever dreamed, and yet according to the crew they were not even the biggest ones?) I would not trade that experience for anything that I have done here in South Africa, and would definitely recommend that anyone who is remotely interested, do it while they are here. It is a unique experience that allows you to get within an arms length from one of the most dangerous animals in the world!
The last pictures are from this weekend! Our group split up into pairs and spent the night with families in Gugulethu, one of the local townships. It was an amazing experience—one that gave us even further insight into the lives of the people of this country. (Not to mention the fact that we got to have delicious homemade meals and play with adorable children for hours on end!)
Although I have thoroughly enjoyed all of our side excursions, they hardly compare to the experiences that we have gained by being in the hospitals! Because it is not appropriate to be snapping pictures there I cannot truly relay that experience to you… I will not go into all of the details of the things that we have seen, but know that it is unlike anything that you have ever seen or experienced if you have not been in a healthcare facility outside of the United States. There are hundreds of people lined up to see the doctor, the vast majority of whom will wait more than 8 hours, if they see him at all. We are there to observe, but have found that because the shortages of healthcare providers are so severe we have been thrown into all sorts of odd jobs, trying to pick up just a little bit of the slack. I have been introduced into the world of HIV, TB, and rampant infectious diseases. It is a heartbreaking world, but the more time that I have spent in it, the more that I have realized I want to devote my life to helping people who do not have the same opportunities and care that we do in The States.
Enjoy the pictures!
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<div><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29); font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgb(237, 237, 237);">Emily Glasscock is a sophomore who is studying nursing at Auburn University. She loves to participate in a variety of activities, from backpacking, kayaking, and mountain biking to photography and designing handmade jewelry. In the time that she spends in South Africa, she hopes to soak in a lot of first-hand knowledge that will give her experience and insight into the difficulties developing nations face in the field of healthcare. She knows that her time abroad will be invaluable and thus she cannot wait to share a bit of her experiences with you!</span></div>