Alternative Spring Break South Africa Post 2

 Cape Town is such a beautiful city. According to our tour guide, it’s among the top 10 coastal cities in the world. I have not independently verified this, but it is certainly a splendid city. The view of Cape Town from Table Mountain is breathtaking. From the mountain, you can also see the both the Atlantic Ocean to the West and the Indian Ocean to the east.

 

We also visited Langa, the first Black township in Cape Town. About seven eighths of the people in South Africa live in impoverished townships and rural areas. Put another way, the Black majority does not reside in the beautiful city centers of Cape Town, Johannesburg or Durban (This is where White South Africans reside). In contrast, the Black majority lives in areas where what most people would call “Third World” (of course there is only one world). This was the nature of Apartheid, the legal separation of Whites, Blacks, Indians, and so-called “Coloreds”.  Unfortunately, the end of political apartheid has not yet translated into the demise of its economic sister.

 

The students experienced a stark contrast between the cities and the townships. Many expressed sadness in witnessing the disparity between the largely wealthy White population and the predominately poor Black population. It’s hard for some of them to understand how apartheid could have ended almost fifteen years ago, yet the segregation and wealth disparity still exists. We’ve only been here a couple of days and have only spent limited time in the townships. It will be interesting to see how the students respond to their experiences in South Africa’s largest Black township, Soweto. In Soweto, we will engage in several community service projects. But first, we will visit the Apartheid Museum and Constitution Hill. These museums will broaden their understanding of the apartheid and the strides South African society is making to move beyond it. Stay tuned!

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Alternative Spring Break South Africa

The delegation from San Diego State University has safely arrived in Cape Town, South Africa. I am Adisa A. Alkebulan, associate professor in the Department of Africana Studies and co-director of the program. This is our seventh trip to South Africa! For the first three of our trip (there are 21 of us) we are in Cape Town. The next 6 will be in Johannesburg.

On our first day, we caught a ferry to Robben Island where Nelson Mandela spent 18 of his 27 years of political imprisonment. It’s amazing to learn about the what he and the other political prisoners had to endure all in the name of freedom. The tour of the prison, and the visit to Mandela’s cell had a profound impact on our students. It can be hard to understand how some one can be thrown in jail for so long, jut for speaking out against injustice. This was South Africa.

Tomorrow, we are visiting Cape Town’s largest Black township, Langa. In Langa, we’ll be doing some volunteer work at a local school. This should be very exciting. Stay tuned!

Honduras here we come…

It’s Thursday and Spring Break has officially begun.   A group of 36 students from SDSU are packing their bags and collecting donations in the last few days we have before we make our trip to LAX for our 2:00 A.M. flight.   We fly to El Salvador and then to Honduras on a six to seven hour flight.  

Upon arrival we will be picked up by a variety of vehicles (buses, trucks, and SUVs) considering the size of the group and transported two to three hours outside of Tegucigalpa, the capital of Honduras and home to over 1.25  million people (Wikipedia).  We will be taken to our home away from home while in Honduras, Nuevo Paraiso.  

Nuevo Paraiso is a community that functions as a orphanage, school, small scale employment sector, and host community.  While there we will have open access to interact with all of the children!  The median age of Honduras is 20 in comparison to 37 in the U.S.  (CIA World Factbook).  After we receive a tour of the gated community we will head to our rooms that consists of several bunk beds, lights, and power outlets.  By no means is this a luxurious vacation.  We are strictly there to work, learn, and accomplish our goals.

Below, you’ll find a thumbnail photo of my living quarters in Honduras.

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Aztecs Abroad

While some college students indulge in a week of leisure during spring break, an increasing number of students are using their time off to make a difference and help those in need. At San Diego State University, students will participate in nearly a dozen alternative spring break programs that provide an extraordinary experience both at home and abroad. SDSU’s spring break is the week of March 30.

Hundreds of SDSU students will be participating in programs, including trips to a Honduran village to provide clean water, rebuilding homes in New Orleans, working with AIDS patients in South Africa and providing medical services in La Gloria, Mexico.

Follow some of our Aztecs as they go abroad and get involved in community service projects around the world. In the coming days, each of our bloggers will introduce themselves and share their experiences.