It is incredible how the kindness, generosity, and support of one person can truly make a difference.
So many people in South Africa have made my experience here absolutely unforgettable.
So many people have done so much to help me with my project; welcome me into their homes, lives, and families; and spend time showing me all the wonderful sights and experiences that Cape Town has to offer.
With the help of Natasha, a clerk in the Children’s Court, and with the help of several Magistrates I was able to observe and participate in a variety of different domestic violence and child protection court proceedings where I learned so much about how the law functions to help children and families.
With the help of social workers and staff I spent the past two weeks in three different townships in Cape Town (which are similar to slums or ghettos) to see an NGO’s unique approach of child abuse prevention through advocacy programs and support groups.
I spent time with a group of young pregnant women in an ante-natal support group focused on preventing child abuse, maltreatment, and neglect by teaching pregnant women about motherhood and caring for children while offering them the support of NGO staff and community members.
I observed a parent support group in a township school that had about twenty young teen parents who were learning how to overcome the challenges of being a parent at such a young age.
I also participated in a support group for mothers where women shared their stories, learned positive parenting practices, and had a truly safe and open space to share their concerns and seek advice.
I have learned so much from these experiences in the past few weeks and I believe that without the magistrates, clerks, support workers, and social workers going out of their way to accommodate me and welcome me these experiences would not have been possible.
My last two weeks in Cape Town have also been filled with incredible new memories as I explored the area and spent time with so many wonderful people. My Cape Town family and friends have gone out of their way to make my last moments in Cape Town absolutely amazing!
I went hiking around the Constantia area…
I hiked up Lion’s Head Mountain..
I took a Cable Car ride to the top of Table Mountain..
I visited Robin Island, an apartheid era prison where Nelson Mandela spent several years incarcerated.
I visited Moyo’s restaurant for a lovely “South African meal experience” complete with face painting, dancing, and ostrich filet.
I explored food markets and shops.
I visited the Bo-Kaap area to see the historical and colorful buildings.
I shared many delicious meals and wonderful conversations.
I explored my favorite beaches on both the Indian and Atlantic Ocean side of the Cape peninsula.
And I saw sunset at Signal Hill.
In all, I am so lucky and so blessed to have met such amazing people during my time in Cape Town.
Alvina, Ricky, Johann, Ruth, Jenna, Joy, Darren, Chloe, Natasha, Tatum, Merit, Time, Liam, Chloe, Daphne, Jane, Rodman, Little Boo, and Boo-bette, I cannot explain how thankful I am to have you in my life! You have become like family to me and I cannot thank you for everything you have done for me during my journey!
I will miss all of you so much! I will miss my nights and weekends with my host family, Ricky calling me “Russian” and “Uruguayan”, rocking out to Whitney Houston on Sunday mornings with Alvina while we cook, talking to Alvina about everything and anything and how she would laugh at all of my ridiculous jokes, playing with Little Boo and Boo-bette and hearing them laugh when I call them their nicknames, and making my family brownies and seeing them disappear within minutes. I will miss going on day adventures with Ruth, Johann, and Jenna; Jenna’s stories and jamming out to music in the car; chatting to Johann and Ruth while having tea; Johann’s sense of humor; and Ruth’s kind heart. I will miss all of my adventures with Joy and Darren, exploring mountains and markets, Darren laughing at almost everything that I said, and Joy’s never-ending kindness and generosity. I will miss my adventures with Chloe and Daphne, learning french words and phrases, and supporting each other while we missed our loved ones and our lives back home.
The relationships and memories I have formed in the past three months here have made my experience here truly unforgettable.
We have laughed together, explored and adventured together, and I will always treasure our memories! You welcomed me with open arms and embraced me for who I am. You supported me when I felt down, celebrated with me, and offered me unconditional encouragement and support. I am incredibly thankful andI feel privileged to have you as my family and friends.
This is not goodbye; this is “see you again”. 🙂