Summer 2012 in Progress
Summer adventures started off in South Africa three weeks ago with the Off-Shore course Babson offered to teach high school students entrepreneurship at the University of Stellenbosch. It was on the plane heading to Cape Town that I was watching the movie The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, which I found really funny and applicable since I was going to India right after my South Africa course. As I finished the movie I reached for the magazine in the seat pocket and found an article related to the movie, since I had enjoyed it I decided to read it. The last sentence is still branded in my memory: “The problem for people choosing to retire in India is that India only offers visas for up to 6 months.” VISA!? I had been planning my India trip for about a month with my roommate and never thought about visas…As I landed in South Africa I researched the internet and found an Indian consulate in Johannesburg that processed visas and quickly filled out the online application, the next day I took my passport photos and arranged for DHL to pick up my passport. Once that was over it was a waiting game, intertwined with visiting South African landmarks and teaching a small version of FME. We first met the students from the University of Stellenbosch to plan the curriculum for the next two weeks, they were incredibly helpful when teaching the students as they translated and gave some insight into the lifestyles of the learners. Nolo was my co-teacher, she works at the university radio and can talk for hours! Our group of learners consisted of three girls and one boy: Zolani, Zandile, Tersia, and Jonathan. Zolani’s business was avolunteer program to clean the streets of Kayamandi, one of the oldest townships near Stellenbosch. Zandile was a knitter with amazing public speaking skills and knitted armbands that sold-out on market day. Tersia was a quiet yet sweet girl whose business was to teach children music as an afterschool program. Finally, Jonathan a not-so-shy break-dancer came up with the idea of his own t-shirt design shop. Teaching for two weeks was certainly not enough, however seeing the progress and how they came out of their shell made Nolo and I proud. The day of final presentations Tersia came third and Zandile came first and got seed-money to start their business. This was by far the most exciting day in South Africa, but not only because my learners had done so well, but also because it was our last day in Stellenbosch and my visa arrived through the mail at lunch time, despite the fact that I had called the day before and the consulate had said it wouldn’t be ready until 5 more days. Thankfully I got my passport back in time to travel to Johannesburg and then take a 6 hour bus ride to Honeyguide. We stayed 4 nights at Honeyguide for the Safari, I had never been camping and staying 2 feet away from lions and elephants was quite an experience. I stayed with Lizzie throughout the trip and on the first night while we took pictures of our tent the flash highlighted a “giant” spider and we later found another spider in our tent. We were able to see lions breastfeeding, and a cheetah eating an impala, baby zebras, giraffes, buffalos, waterbucks, baboons, and rhinos. Even before our bus ride to the airport we took one last safari! And now that I have left South Africa behind, I am in India with my roommate and so the adventure continues.