Thursday, May 30, 2013

Cape Town! And we have internet...

We have internet!
We are in Cape Town!

We went today to the most southern point of Africa, where the Indian Ocean and the Atlantic meet.
The coast there is rocky-rugged, and the waves crash and pound cracks in the rocks. We walked around the rocks, took pictures, and marveled that the closest landmass beyond us was Antarctica. Since my internet crashes whenever I try to load a picture here, go to Flickr.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

May 28

I have internet as the eveing progresses at Afro Vibe, Myoli Beach, Sedgefield, ZA (South Africa).

I wanted to catch up the blog from the first day onward, but today was too important, so I am starting here.

We met Genevieve Keene from TSiBA Education, Eden Campus this morning. She and Clifford, a student from  TSiBA,  met us at a bus stop, and then we ventured into a township called Smutsville. At first, we were all a tad bit leary. Then, we picked up on the vibe of the place. It was welcoming, very much a community, and safe. We all felt at home.

We were invited to visit Clifford's home. His mother Sophie is a community activist and artist in her own right. From her home, she  sold scarves and jewelry.  I brought home a beautiful beaded necklace and matching bracelet. Other students bough scarves. She was thrilled.

Masathabane is an non-profit  (NGO--non-governmental organization) artist cooperative in Sedgefield. An amazing woman named Patricia heads up this enterprise to fund people too sick to re-enter the workplace due to TB or AIDS or other disabling diseases.

Each person expresses his or her own experience in art.

Patricia has a dream to make Sedgefield into Africa's Barcelona! The Mosaic capital of Africa, and it is fast becoming known as such. Check out some of the photos of this phenom on page

This in itself would be enough emotional interaction with the universe, but that was only the beginning.

Then...we went to Sedgefield Primer School, where the students sang and danced for us (also see the flicker page), and fed us lunch. The harmony and tone these little kids attained move many of us to tears.

At the end of their program, they mobbed us after lunch. You can also see this on flickr. 
After that, we went to TSiBA Eden campus, where we had spent the dday before

THEN, we went back to TSiBA Eden Campus, the school Scott Fee helped found. Check Flickr for more pictures. The students and our students bonded so deeply that nobody wanted to part. We sang the Star Spangled Banner, which amazingly sound pretty good. Then the TSiBA students sang the South African national anthem, which of course, blew us out of the water. We are humbled and thrilled.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

We arrived in Cape Town!

Internet has been sketchy and none have my posts have worked, but we are inSouth Africa!
This is out breakfast, view in Somerset West.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

South Africa or Bust!

It's almost four a.m. and what am  I doing up? I'm leaving for South Africa!  Our flight at 3:10  p.m. which means in twelve hours, we will in the air heading for Amsterdam, and then to Cape Town!  (Maybe I need a few more exclamation points there).
In case you're interested: the flight from Minneapolis to Amsterdam is eight hours. After a three-hour layover in Amsterdam, our flight to Cape Town is twelve more hours.

I've received quite a few messages in the last twenty-four hours from excited students. After all this time, all this reading, all this discussion...we are FINALLY GOING! 

All the prep time, all the hours Scott Fee and I sat together at the Coffee Hag or Wine Cafe, hammering out details, transportation, lodging, budget, proposals, plans, writing emails, answering the phone, getting paperwork all comes down to today. We are truly going to South Africa.

A year ago in the spring, I was at Joe Tougas's 50th birthday party when Scott (Construction Management, MSU,M, who has traveled to South Africa about ten times) asked me if I would ever consider taking SCC students to South Africa. Four days later, we were in my dean's office, sketching out possibilities and asking permission to pursue this interdisciplinary trip. Chris Black-Hughes from MSU,M Social Work program joined in, and we are doing this collaboratively.

I've wanted to see South Africa since I read The Power of One  nearly twenty years ago.

There have been so many added responsibilities and a few surprises this week, that my grading did NOT get done on time. I'm done now, though. I just have to enter grades. Good grief. Finally. Then I'm headed to bed for a few hours. We'll take some photos at the airport. In nine hours!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Blogging about South Africa

I'm planning to blog our trip from this stay tuned for pictures and updates on our trip to South Africa.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Big George Hincapie and South Africa to boot

Two weeks from TODAY we leave for South Africa. My stomach does funny things when I say that out loud. I am so excited. I'm not scared; it just makes me a little nervous to be responsible for a dozen people in a country I've never visited before.

After all we've studied this semester, I think we all feel it: we are just ready to BE THERE.

In the meantime, there are finals to write and grade, a few feet-high stacks of papers to grade, and I'd like to sqeeze in a bike ride here and there to stay sane.

Speaking of biking, my friend Danielle Mitchell is a sports medicine physician in Chattanooga, Tennessee (how many double letters can you get in one place? This even beats the Mississippi). The area is hosting a big pro bike race, and guess who showed up? My idol and yeah, okay, if I have a crush on a celebrity, it's on George Hincapie. So look what Danielle got for me.