The start of the weekend was spent at Robben Island; the place where Nelson Mandela and many other political activists were imprisoned for decades. Our guide was an ex-prisoner himself, which made the experience all the more powerful as he told us about the horrors of living in the prison and the torture he endured. The prison made it nearly impossible for anyone to visit the prisoners; some families were unable to see each other if last names did not match that of the prisoner. We left feeling both inspired and appalled.
On Sunday July 10th a group of us gathered strength enough to do the three peak challenge. The word, “challenge” may underestimate the intensity of climbing all three mountains (Devil’s Peak, Table Mountain, then Lion’s Head) in one day. It took us 12 hours, and by the end of it we were both exhausted and cranky, but over the moon to have made that accomplishment. We were so excited to boast about our athletic endeavors once we got back to the apartments.
Another week at the clinic was spent conducting research for our projects that will be due at the end of the summer. My group spent time interviewing patients, asking them about their experiences at the clinic in order to gather information both for our own project and for a project that the doctors at the clinic asked us to do. From this we were able to put together a presentation for the clinic staff and give them some ideas on how to improve the rate of attendance to clinic appointments – one idea of which they really liked and want to implement!
At the end of the week we awoke bright and early in order to make our flight to Johannesburg. From there we drove several hours to Nelspruit, where we would stay for the next week working at the Rob Ferreira Hospital. But before we got to work, a visit to the Kruger National Park was on the schedule…
We spent the weekend touring around the park in big, open, safari cars. We began both days before the crack of dawn, bundled up in blankets, and waited expectantly for the eclectic group of animals awaiting us as we drove around the enormous park. We were incredibly lucky to spot four animals out of the big five: elephants, rhinos, buffalos, and lions. We clambered over each other to get pictures of hyenas, monkeys, birds, wildebeests, hippos, and giraffes too. Our Nelspruit experience was off to an exciting start.
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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>