!Gai tses! (Good Day!) Week three in
In an effort to try and create a team with the students and staff members, we ventured outside of the city to a beautiful camp for a day long retreat. We began the day by playing team building exercises, which included a trust walk, egg relay race and the communication web (which is shown in the picture). These brought us together because at one time each individual was vulnerable and had to trust other members of the group. It was a really fun way to bond. Every person presented a roadmap to the group, explaining the reasons behind their values, religion and experiences with race, prejudices and class. This activity was very helpful in preventing any misconceived notions that could have potentially created problems within the group. There were many tears shed and comforting hugs. Many people shared a lot more emotion than expected, proving how close we have already become. It was clear that we all had a lot in common, but had come from different backgrounds to make us into who are today. As the sun set on the mountains, the fantastic day drew to a close with great a braai (African equivalent of a BBQ), made even better with the deeper connections made. The landscape was amazing as well as the food; nothing compared to the lasting relationships that were formed.
For those who don’t have our schedules memorized from front to back: First of all shame on you! What could be more important? Secondly, we began our internships and volunteer work. Now the range of the work we find ourselves in proves to be all over the spectrum. Internships include working with low-income housing, women, the environment, refugees, HIV/AIDS, child development, and
But which is the right approach? Surely there is no shame in needing to separate yourself from what would otherwise weigh on your mind all day. Even the strongest of people would go mad right? But to feel it all, is, if nothing else, simply bearing witness to the tragedy of the plight of others. Even if it hurts you and sits on your shoulders maybe you are bearing a little of it all with them. Maybe by doing so, I can enjoy the happiness and liveliness of the children a little more. I wonder if it’s just a balance of those two approaches. It’s something that could apply all over, do we allow ourselves to become too jaded by the sad things we hear, or do we allow ourselves to feel it, even if it’s just for a little bit? It seems like a disservice to those we are all working with to not sit with these troubles as much as we can. I guess we’ll see as time goes on.
Time for the academic, semi-conventional studying part of this adventure; classes started this week. Thursday was the start of Racism and Resistance in Southern Africa and the
To end a busy and already exciting week, we began our home stays on Friday. Being away from the house and our peers was a bit frightening at first but after being embraced by my (Latrease) family those preconceived notions soon vanished. Conversations have sparked many interesting topics, liked life before
My host family speaks English, Afrikaans and Nama. The only time my family speaks English is when they are talking to me. At times it can be annoying but I have definitely gotten used to it. I asked why they did that, and she simply stated that it is easier to get the point across in their native tongue. During my stay, I have been trying to disprove some of the stereotypes of black women in
Needless to say it has been a packed week. But thanks to the bonds we have formed we have already set the foundations to take advantage of our time here.
1. Brittany being lifted by the "web of support" (made from yarn!) during the team building day.
2. Melissa with children from her internship.
3. Students walking to class.
4. Latrease and her homestay Mom in the kitchen.
5. Sunset just outside of Windhoek.