A group of South Central College students recently returned from their trip to South Africa. Share their journey in these photos and the following post-trip reflections from SCC English & humanities instructor Becky Davis....
The 2015 South Central College student trip to South Africa has come to an end. At least, the students and I have returned to Minnesota. An experience like we had doesn't really end. I think I can safely say that each and every one of us feels as if we made a journey though South Africa. This was far more than a sight-seeing trip, and certainly not just a vacation. We lived in Africa. We were immersed in the culture, we met people, and we experienced South African life. (And no, thank you for asking, none of us got mauled by lions).
We barely unloaded our luggage before we plunged right into Soweto (Southwest Townships of Johannesburg) with a bike tour, including bouncing through township dirt roads over ruts and rocks, and through standing water (and whatever else was in the streets). We stopped at Nelson and Winnie Mandela’s former house, and at the Hektor Pietersen Museum, the site of the Soweto Uprising and Massacre of school children who were protesting being taught in Afrikaans. We sipped home-brewed beer from a calabash gourd in a shebeen. I'd call that cultural immersion before sundown on our first day.
That set the tone for the entire trip. We saw heart-breaking beauty and heart-wrenching poverty. We met beautiful, open-hearted people. We fell in love with South Africa.
This was not an easy trip. The pace was fast, and our emotional roller coaster was intense. We went...from an impoverished township where all shops and beauty salons were housed in shipping containers, to a township preschool bubbling with hope and music, to a lion reserve, to a safari, to a self-sustaining artist colony in a township, to two vibrant backpacker hostels on the coast, to a drumming circle where we sat alongside South African college students who grew up in poverty and welcomed us as new and dear friends, to Mandela's home village, to Steve Biko's grave, to a penguin colony, to the southern point of Africa where we stood with one foot in each of the Indian and Atlantic Oceans, to the spectacular view from Table Mountain above Cape Town, to the prison on Robben Island where Mandela was held for eighteen of his twenty-seven-year incarceration. This we did our last afternoon in South Africa, and it was truly a finale in every way. Suffice it to say that each of us is changed from living for two weeks immersed in South Africa.
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