Sunday, October 16, 2011

On Table Mountain and Other Adventures

Table Mountain looms over Cape Town as one of the first things you see upon arrival and the last thing to disappear as you wave goodbye to the city. It is often covered by a table cloth of ominous clouds that drape over the vast, flat summit. However, when TTS18 set off for the top last weekend, the weather shined down on us with hot sunshine and clear skies all around. The girls chose whether to hike to the top or enjoy a mellower ride up the scenic cable car. No matter the transport method, all girls had a fantastic day. The hikers were a bit weary after a three hour hike, but they played games and cheered one another up the steep sections. It was a true sign of teamwork and sisterhood. Their other half greeted them eagerly at the top and all spent time recording their surroundings in their science journals. The group joyfully drifted back down to the city below via the cable car, taking pictures and ogling over the ocean views the whole way down. This was a great adventure to gain perspective of the city's layout, the surrounding Cape Flats, and the waterline. The girls had a bird's eye view of Robben Island from the top of the mountain – a great precursor to the following day’s adventure out to the infamous prison which held Nelson Mandela for over 20 years.


More Academic Activities in Cape Town
Thursday was a day filled with cultural and academic opportunities. We started by visiting a class at the the University of the Western Cape (UWC). It was a class for prospective teachers in South Africa, where the Freshman students discussed the educational difficulties facing the area. At the college we also had a chance to view the university's Robben Island Museum and Mayibuye Archives from Apartheid times. These archives included photographs never viewed by the public as well as letters written to political prisoners at Robben Island. After our tour back in time, we headed to a secondary school in a colored township with our guide, University professor and longtime TTS friend, Toni Sylvestor. The girls were met by enthusiastic faces eager to learn about us and we them. The day ended with a tour of a black township. Here the girls saw firsthand how the living conditions vary from township to township and the continued poverty and extremes in living conditions in the Cape Town metropolitan area. Though it was a full day the girls were able to obtain insight into different ways of life in South Africa and the history it has yet to overcome.


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