The past five weeks in South Africa were amazing. Our host mom, Sindi, worked as a clerk in the town clinic in Plett. It was really cool to talk to her about her role in the healthcare system, especially since my roommate Erin and I each spent a week doing similar organizational work in the clinic in our township. All the patients have physical files in the clinic’s office, but they get misplaced or disorganized very easily, which causes the bureaucratic systems in the clinics to be even less efficient than beyond just the understaffed doctors and lack of proper medication. Our host sister Iphe (Ip-eh) was four years old and spoke perfect English and Xhosa (thanks to her private English immersion school in Plett), and loved to Whip and Nae Nae. She also watched Sesame Street every morning, which repeated episodes and was in a new language everyday (English, Afrikaans and Xhosa) and had a pink puppet character named Zuzu.
Like most places we’ve lived this year, there were cows, chickens, goats and many many dogs that lived in the streets of our township, but unlike India the cows ate grass and were very plump. On a public taxi it was super easy to go into Plett from Kwano—for 9 rand (60 cents) and 15 minutes in a VW van with 15 others plus groceries/chickens.
We went to Cape Town for one weekend, and took the eight hour drive along the Garden Route to get there. We went to Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for 27 years, and got a tour of the prison from another former prisoner. The tour was super moving and I’m also so impressed by that man and the fact that after 12 years of abuse and being held captive on the island, he now comes back every day to give tours to visitors. We also hiked the three hour climb up Table Mountain, and could see the entire city and the Atlantic ocean from the top, which was pretty great. That night we went to the Ultra Music Festival South Africa, which was a super fun concert 30 kilometers outside of the city on an ostrich farm.