Wednesday, June 18, 2008

South Africa Part 3

9 June 2008 Monday

After our placements today 4 of us were able to hike up Table Mountain. We took the Platteklip Gorge trail to the 1000m top point. We had fantastic weather and therefore had beautiful views up and down. It is winter here so the sun sets around 6:00. We were still hiking down close to the sun set which made for great night views of the city, but I was about to pull out my headlamp.. We got down and picked up one of the last cabs back to town and had a great dinner at Mojo's.

10 June 2008 Tuesday

Today at Blossom Street I was able to talk more with Teacher Adams and we picked out a subject area that I could teach. We decided a phonics lesson would helpful for the learners. I went home that evening and planned for the lesson, trying to keep in mind a stellar teaching point for the kids, but also something that could help hold the kids accountable for their own learning. It was strange to plan for a lesson with my trusty Fountas and Pinnell books close by!

11 June 2008 Wednesday

I was excited to get ready for school knowing I was going to teach a lesson. The lesson went well and I used an ice cream cone rubric to help the learners gauge their level of working.
The ice cream cone rubric went over so well, the next day Teacher Adams came to school with her very own ice cream cone rubric that she called the, "Katie Cone." That afternoon three of us from the house went on a ride to see some sights south of Cape Town.

We started out of Cape Town and headed south down the M6. Our first stop was Sandy Bay Beach, which is where the picture of Bec, Erin and I was taken. We then continued to Hout Bay and over the Chapman's Peak drive, which has been closed in the past due to rock falls.

The weather started to clear and we went to Boulders Beach, which is home to many African penguins. Then it was back North through Simon's Town, Fish Hoek, Kalk Bay and we stopped for a drink in St. James.

12 June 2008 Thursday

We had a great lunch at Biesmiellah. It was in the Bo-Kaap neighborhood and served Cape Malay and Indian food. We had delicious pienang curry, a beef cutlet stew prepared with bay leaves. The Bo-Kaap neighborhood was home to the city's Muslim population in the late 17th and early 18th centuries. The streets have cobbled lanes and there are many colorful flat roof houses.
We then loaded the buses to head up to Noon Gun. It is a cannon fired from the lower slopes of Signal Hill. People still set their watch to the cannon fire.

Our final stop of the day was at the Slave Lodge, where we saw the Mayor of New Orleans, Ray Nagin. The Slave Lodge is one of the oldest buildings in South Africa, dating back to 1660. The lodge was home to as many as 1000 slaves until 1811.

13 June 2008 Friday

The last full weekend here in Cape Town. Bec, Amanda, Jack, Neil and I headed out of town for the Garden Route. The Garden Route is a 208km (130 mile) stretch from Mossel Bay to Port Elizabeth. We loaded up the Nissan Tida and headed east toward our first stop, Plattenberg Bay. We spent the night at a fantastic bed and breakfast called South Cross Beach House. It was right on the water and great waking up to hear and see the ocean!

14 June 2008 Saturday
After eating breakfast leisurely we planned our activities for the day. We decided to try sea kayaking, but not before we took a cool, quick dip into the Indian Ocean!

While kayaking we were able to see lots of dolphins that swam just a couple feet from our boats.

That afternoon we went for a hike down to the Robberg Nature and Marine Protected Area. It was then time to drive to our next stop for the night, Knysna. We stayed at the Inyathi Guest Lodge which was a very different experience, it is supposed to represent a traditional African village. That evening we went out to an interesting bar called Zanzibar, which seemed to be the place for just about anyone in town regardless of age to spend their Saturday night.

15 June 2008 Sunday

Today we went for a nice 7km hike called Elephant Walk. Unfortunately there were no elephants, but we did get some exercise which was nice. After the hike it was time for the 5 hour drive home, it was my turn to drive and it took a little while to get used to driving on the "wrong" side of the road.

16 June 2008 Monday

Today was a National Holiday called Youth Day. It is a day to remember the youth killed while protesting the unfair school system set up by the apartheid government in 1976. In addition to the day off we also had the Tida rental car for one more day so Bec, Amanda and I decided to make the most of it. We got up pretty early and went to Stellenbosch for some wine tasting. After a great breakfast at Mugg and Bean, we went to our first winery, Blaauwklippen. For about 30 Rand, or $4 USD you can taste 5 wines and keep the glass. Our next stop was Kleine Zalze followed by Avontuur. Blaawklippen was our favorite by far and before we left for Cape Town, we drove back to purchase a couple bottles to bring home!

17 June 2008 Tuesday
It was back to school today, as well as the start of the final week of volunteering in Cape Town. We went to the District 6 museum after our placements. This museum was built to teach others about a multicultural neighborhood that was destroyed during the apartheid Nationalist government. Later that evening, Themba came to perform at our house. He is part of an organization called, Institute for Healing of Memories, which is a trust which, "seeks to contribute to the healing journey of individuals, communities and nations. " We were able to hear some great music which he played from a traditional African instrument made out of a gourd.

18 June 2008 Wednesday
very Wednesday at school a couple of the teachers bring food for everyone to share during the first interval, or break. We had a great meal of tuna casserole and yogurt bread.

After school, we had a great South African barbecue, or braai, at Mzoli's Meat. There was plenty of food and an African rendition of Amazing Grace!

We also made a quick trip up to the University of Cape Town this afternoon. The school is set on the base of Table Mountain and has great views. The school was pretty quite because the students are on break, but it was fun to look around.
Time goes by so fast... I am in Cape Town until early Saturday morning and then I head off for some traveling on my own, it will be quite a change after living with 17 people for the past 3 weeks. Hope you are doing well, and I love reading your comments!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

South Africa Part 2

04 June 2008 Wednesday
Today we had our placements in the morning and then had an HIV/AIDS workshop in the afternoon. South Africa has a population of approximately 40 million people and there are 6.5 million people living with AIDS. There are also 2 million orphans due to AIDS.

05 June 2008 Thursday
After our placements in the morning 14 of us took the boat tour out to Robben Island. It was a beautiful day and thankfully the seas were calm. Robben Island has help many high ranking political prisoners. Nelson Mandela, and Pan-African Congress leader Robert Sobuke were prisoners here. The last prisoners left in May 1991.

06 June 2008 Friday
The first weekend here, without having to deal with jet lag! The kids get out of school at 12:30, and as part of a school fundraiser the grade 7 students sell homemade donuts and hamburgers. The learners, as they call them, get their treats and get to eat them on the carpet while the rest of the learners are doing their work. That afternoon we went to a local coffee shop and wrote out some postcards and tried to get to bed early for the safari the next day.

07 June 2008 Saturday
Our alarm went off at 4 am. We were picked up and headed northeast toward the Breede River Valley. We arrived at the Aquila Reserve in about 2 hours time. There was a lot of sleeping on the trip there. We had a terrific breakfast with steamed milk for our coffee, and loads of great fruit. Then off in a jeep for our safari.

The "big five" animals to see are the lion, elephant, rhino, buffalo, and leopard. We spotted 4 out of the 5 even with rainy weather. We were able to see a family of hippos, elephants, springbok, rhinoceros, lions, wildebeest, buffalo and giraffes. It was a fantastic time and was followed up with a delicious lunch. It was then time to head back to Cape Town with our driver Moses.

We took a different route home and went over Helshoogte Pass which gave us beautiful views of the valley. We were also able to see baboons on the side of the road looking for food. We got home in the later afternoon and went out to Long Street for a great dinner at Mama Africa and caught some great live music.

08 June 2008 Sunday

After sleeping in a bit today we got a cab and headed to the Green Point Market. It is held every Sunday and Bec and I found some great things to bring home. We went went down to the Waterfront to continue our day of shopping and picked up a couple more things. Eric this is where I found something for you... We then grabbed a bite to eat and headed back home.

That is it for now, I hope you are all doing well and I love reading your comments! Love~Katie

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

The Trip to Cape Town and the First Couple Days in Cape Town

29 May 2008

The flight to Cape Town included an 8 hour layover in London. Thanks to Christine's Mom I was able to get myself around London and on the Underground. I got off to see Big Ben and grab a coffee near Buckingham Palace.
It was an 8 hour flight from Denver to London and then an additional 12 hours from London to Cape Town.

31 May 2008 Saturday

I arrived in Cape Town at 8:00am on Saturday morning. We were able to go to our new home for the month in a town called Rondebosch, a suburb in Cape Town. I was able to meet my roommate, Rebecca and we unpacked and had lunch. Then in taking Eric's advise we decided to push through the day and save sleep for that night. We went down to the Waterfront, an area in downtown Cape Town where there are shops and restaurants and where you can catch the fairy to travel to Robben Island. We did some walking and sightseeing and then stopped and had a beer by the water. The day ended with dinner at home and a much needed good night rest.

Sunday 01 June 2008

We had our orientation in the morning followed by a drive up Signal Hill and a trip down to Camp's Bay. We were able to see the soccer stadium they are building for the World Cup 2010. We were also to see some wetsuit dressed surfers down by Camp's Bay.

Monday 02 June 2008

In the morning we went on a township tour. We were able to hear about the history of a couple of the townships including District 6. Also, we were able to walk through a bed and breakfast run by a local woman in the township of Khyelisha. Then it was an afternoon of orientation about some of the history of South Africa.

Tuesday 03 June 2008

The first day of placements. I am at a primary school working in a first grade classroom. I am not quite sure what I will be doing yet, but it was an interesting day of observation. I guess that's about it for now. Hope you all are doing really well and hope to hear from you all soon! Love~Katie