The third week was a mixture of emersing ourselves in the diverse culture of Cape Town as well as learn about the complexities of the health care system in South Africa and how the country is working to improve and expand upon this system that faces major difficulties with accomodating to the vast amount of illnesses and diseases.
At the end of the week, the group headed to Hermanus - a prime spot for whale watching. Unfortunately, no whales were to be seen on this cloudy and slightly rainy day, but beautiful sea views and walking around made up for the lack of whales!
The weekend began with a visit to the popular Old Biscuit Mill - a very hipster location where I could spend hours upon hours at the delicious food market, or perusing the various stores selling leather hand bags, jewelry, stationary, clothes, and more.
The market was also the perfect place to buy last-minute host gifts for the families that would be housing us for the homestay that afternoon and evening. We arrived in Guguletu, greeted warmly by our assigned Mama. Then we got to spend time talking to our respective families, playing with the kids, learning to dance, talk, eat, and even sing like the locals. The food was delicious; the company welcoming and entertaining. Once my out-of-place feelings subsided, learning about the lives of the families we stayed with was eye-opening and inspiring, leaving me feeling happy yet humbled once it was time to go to bed.
In the morning, the group met up once again to attend church at the Khanyisa Community Church. We sang songs together, and listened to a sermon about the power of overcoming an impoverished mind that will prevent you from carrying on through times of hardship. The service was then followed by an incredibly fun meal spent at the Mzansi restaurant with dancing and great food.
As we waited for our bus to take us home, kids from around Guguletu came to the front steps to hang out with us. We had so much fun teaching them games we had learned growing up, wrestling and chasing them around, and embarassing ourselves as they laughed at our inability to pronounce their names properly. And before we knew it, it was time to go home. We were exhausted but content.
As much as we needed a nap after a full weekend of activity, we decided to make the most of a free evening and go watch the sunset from Signal Hill. Once again, I sat silently in awe, watching the sun dip below the clean line distringuising the ocean and sky, taking in my surroundings and good company, preparing myself for another week in this amazing place.
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<p>My name is Evie and I am currently finishing up my freshman year at Princeton University. I am thinking about studying public and international policy, and have a special interest in health policy and public health. When I'm not studying, I like exploring new restaurants with my friends, singing with my a cappella group, going on runs, taking pictures, and napping. I love to travel, and am so excited to explore Cape Town and its surroundings and experience a summer I won't forget!</p>