I spent the last weekend at a beachside resort in the Eastern Cape. It was absolutely gorgeous. I went to the Indian Ocean for the first time! Other than that, we unwinded, hiked, and went out a bit. It was peaceful.
Friday morning, I woke up to watch the end of the sunrise over the ocean. Then I slept a few more hours and ran along the beach. I could tell I hadn’t run in Tshabo—running in sand was rough. But it was still so peaceful and relaxing. The waves were calming, and the sky was clear. I sound like a complete cliché machine right now, but it’s all entirely true. In the afternoon, I went on a nature walk over hills, farmland, and the beach.
Saturday, we went on safari! We saw some cool animals—lions, zebra, wildebeest, elan, impala, nyala, giraffes, monkeys etc. The highlight though was PETTING A CHEETAH. Yep, I pet a cheetah!!! It was so awesome. Their fur is kind of rough and their claws don’t contract so you have to watch out if they want to roll over. Otherwise, they were really tame and adorable. Cheetahs have always been my second favorite animal so this was very, very exciting. Sunday morning, we got to play with the elephants—which was pretty much just as exciting!
The only thing to mar paradise was a tour of an NGO/tour company. They do incredible work in a village nearby, with schools, sports, microfinance businesses, and clinics. What made me so uncomfortable—and other people too—was their rhetoric and attitude towards the people of the village. All I could think, the entire time, was “white man’s burden.” They didn’t overtly belittle the villagers, but they also don’t listen to them when deciding what projects to make, they don’t have their offices in the village, and they would occasionally say small slights. Then again, how do you do it better? They are doing good things. They just aren’t perfect. I was pretty conflicted the entire time.
Tomorrow, I’m moving into homestay #3, Stellenbosch. It’s our Afrikaner homestay, and I know it will be very different from the last two. Thus far, the program just keeps getting better and better—I hope the pattern continues!