Friday, January 23, 2009

Port Elizabeth - So Far

Sorry for the many days of absence from my blog, but my internet access is limited to the one public computer in the bed and breakfast lobby (where I am currently, in my pajamas tired and hot). We have been spending all day every day with our host friends, out in the townships and the schools (where apparently most white people never go) and preparing for todays celebration. There are many stories to tell and photos to share, but we have been mainly spending our time with Sue's organization, MoloCare and Active Schools and seeing their progress, checking in with the group of sponsored kids (that were brought to Seattle to record an album with Eddie Vedder) and have since been sponsored and supported throughout their college education. But it is amazing to see how little we can actually do, not because it is destitute, but because they are doing it all for themselves. There is nothing they are not addressing, and they are doing so with little to no resources and astounding honesty. Schools are organizing marches against abuse, principals are listening to the needs of their children, and the pride in their communities is overflowing. And the "South African welcome" is like nothing I have ever seen. This all sounds incredibly cliche I'm sure, but it is all so real and meaningful to me, and I'm sure I will be processing it for weeks if not longer. The race and economic issues here are also very present. Race seperations are very clear (although improving) and the economy (although booming due to tourism) is still struggling. And in an exciting bit of news, the big political group here (the ANC) is being challenged by an opposition group called COPE and there is a big election coming up. This is very big for South African politics and everyone is talking about it. Its funny to have the same conversation with the people here about their concerns as we were just having in the states, about "corruption" and "jobs" and "health care" and "education". It is so cliche, but we all really do want the same things. Anyways, I don't have a way to upload pictures right now, but since I have made many many new friends here in the last few days, I will be putting up pictures and narratives as soon as I get settled into my new home in Empangeni, Kwazulu Natal.

1 comment:

Megan said...

It's been a week!
How are things?!