Settling In

Well, I've officially been in Africa for almost 3 weeks (19 days, if you want to be technical), and it feels both like an incredibly long amount of time and no time at all. I'm learning new things every day, about human rights, different cultures, and myself. Some things are good, some things are bad (more good though :). The pace of life here seems slower than my life back in the States.
They call it "Africa" time. Every time something frustrates me (generally how slowly things are moving, because I'm a very impatient person-- something I am working on), I'm told T.I.A.-- This is Africa.

This picture is of me with a little girl on our caretaker walk in Bushbuckridge. She was moving my sweatshirt to see if the rest of my skin is white (fact: it is).

This picture is of our host mother and home-based caregiver taking us for the walk to give aid and support. Our group consisted of 2 Americans, 1 Kenyan, and 4 South Africans (plus the host mother and home-based caregiver, who were clearly South Africa). It was a big experience for all of us.

We stopped at several places on our way back from Bushbuckridge, and this waterfall/ river was one of many scenic stops.

We started class this week, and I enjoyed my classes for the most part. The two classes I can already tell I'm going to love are my Gender and Human Rights class and my Human Rights in the Media class. Both classes have really great teachers (at Wits, you only call the most senior teachers professors, otherwise they're doctors or lecturers), and my classmates and I have already had some excellent (heated) discussions.

I'm starting to learn my way around campus, which is good because on my first day I had to ask about 6 people where to go, and finally I started crying and a very nice student walked me to my classroom (not even to the building, to the actual classroom...that's dedication). The size of this campus stresses me out a little bit, but I'm getting more used to it every day. It's just strange coming from a 1,200 student campus to be on a 25,000+ student campus (okay, I actually don't know how many students go to Wits, sorry).

This week we were featured on a South African TV show called "African Views" (I think, I actually already forgot the name of it), and although I wanted to talk I didn't get a chance...by the time I thought of something insightful to say, everyone else did, too. Ah, well. The next day we saw a play/musical called "AMANDLA!" which means "Power!" in Xhosa and Zulu. When someone says that, the people around are supposed to reply, "Awethu!" which means "To us" our "is ours!" It was a big thing during apartheid. Anyway, the play was very well done, but I felt really out of place because they mentioned people I had never heard of, sang songs I didn't know, and spoke languages I didn't understand. My friend Lesedi explained a lot of it during the show, but I don't speak Afrikaans (basically Dutch) or Zulu so it was still a little lost on me. The people around me seemed really into it. It was a good show, just not my personal cup of tea.

Speaking of tea, I drink so much of if here. Rooibos is fantastic, I'm going to have to buy so much of it when I get home. I figure it's healthy, so why not?

This weekend I took it easy, played mini golf on Friday, had a Mexican dinner and "Little Miss Sunshine"-watching party with the other Americans on Saturday, and then had a braai (barbeque) today.

Anyway, I should start doing homework now. I hope you all are doing well...please email me and tell me about what's going on in your lives! I know I'm in Africa but that doesn't mean I don't care about you. :)

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