Our Second Weekend in Chintsa – Bulungula Lodge

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After our overnight stay at the Mbolompo Home stay, we began the next day with a tour by Roger Galloway, who is coordinating the building of home stays in the of the rural village of Zithulele; located in the Eastern … Continue reading

Our Second Weekend in Chintsa – Mbolompo Home Stay

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For our second weekend we traveled to Mbolompo, on the Southern Wild Coast, for a cultural experience in a traditional Xhosa village with a Xhosa family.  We spent our first night at the Mbolompo Home Stay. The homestead belongs to … Continue reading

Our First Weekend in Chintsa East

Though we were some hard workers in Chintsa East, our weekends were planned to be fun!  We spent our first weekend in Chintsa East and most of the time studying.

We did take time to enjoy the beach!  Because our house was beach front, we only lived a short walk to the beach.

While we were at the beach, we saw people beach horse riding.

We thought about trying it, but we never got the chance.  Though, it was fun just watching other people do it.

GREAT time at the beach!

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African Angels Independent School

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As Volunteer Interns, we worked in two different projects: African Angels Independent School in Chintsa Gwegwesha Day Care Center in Mzwini African Angels is a non-profit organization based in Chintsa in the Eastern Cape of South Africa that provides quality … Continue reading

Our 3rd Destination – Chintsa, South Africa

We arrived at our third destination, Chintsa (formerly known as Cintsa) on October 05 2013.

Chintsa is a village in the Wild Coast region of the Eastern Cape province.  It is situated 38 km north-east from East London, at the mouth of the Cintsa river.  The village is in Xhosa country.  It has a laid-back atmosphere with low-cost accommodation and unspoiled white sand beaches, backed by forested dunes, lagoons and rivers.

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Port Elizabeth Reflection

Our venture in Port Elizabeth took us into three (3) major townships:

  1. New Brighton – W. B. Tshume and Charles Duna Primary Schools;
  2. Kwanoxolo – Emmanuel Advice Care Center;
  3. Kwazakhele – Jerusalem Home and the Shebeen.

During these experiences, there were a great number of life lessons that surfaced for me.

Studying abroad is one of the biggest steps you can take outside of your comfort zone.  I have traveled abroad in a diverse group from different cultures and we have been challenged with culture shock.  Although culture is variously defined, it is an integrated system of learned behavior patterns, which includes ways of living together, value systems, traditions, behaviors and beliefs.  The group’s adjustment process intensified during our transition and our social space clashed with each other.  Our study abroad experience should have been empirically observed as an opportunity to develop ways of managing and building social relationships, especially among ourselves.

As we became connected in South Africa, multi-cultural collaboration was increasingly needed.  The cultural differences among our group existed and became part of our relationships, became barriers to working together and challenged the collaboration.  As people from different cultures working together, values conflicted and individuals sometimes reacted in ways that made the partnership ineffective.

In order to promote a unified effort, we needed to overcome differences and understand one person was not going to know everything.  It was important that everyone understood and agreed to the purpose of the collaboration, the degree of commitment required and the expectation of the people involved in the effort.  An effective multicultural collaboration would have allowed us to learn from each other, inspires a sense of community, to greater productivity and a happier environment.

Culture can be different for each individual and therefore affected by it differently.  In order to work with people from different cultural groups effectively, I personally feel it necessary to build sturdy and caring relationships based on trust, understanding, and shared goals.  Because trusting relationships are the glue that holds people together as they work on a common problem, they will need to support each other in order to stay with the effort, even when it feels discouraging.  People need to resist the efforts of those who use divide-and-conquer techniques–pitting one group against another.

Each situation is different and may require a different solution.  Part of the process of becoming culturally aware is knowing that you don’t know everything, situations may not make sense and that your assumptions may be wrong.  Assume differences, not similarities.  It is important to take the appropriate amount of time to evaluate situations, for the unique situation it is, before you act.

The more complicated and uncertain life is, the more we tend to seek control.  Sometimes good intentions to solve problems can get out of control.  Planting seeds has power.  The growth of the seeds is out of our control and we should avoid the temptation to check on them.  When we have sown the seeds, we have done all we can do.  We should go about our business and leave the seeds to do what they do.  We tend to want to help the seeds grow.   The seed will sprout; it may take a minute, an hour, a month or maybe even years.

Ultimately, this experience has shown me the value of the Golden Rule; “Do unto others as you will have them do unto you.”  Though, this rule is widely stated and used, I think it is interpreted in many ways.  My interpretation of this rule means, “Don’t expect what you are unwilling or unable to give.”  For example, don’t expect kindness, if you cannot be kind; don’t expect friendliness, if you cannot be friendly; don’t expect trust, if you cannot be trusting; don’t expect to be respected, if you cannot give respect.  When you expect what you are unable or unwilling to give, you are a user who takes advantage of givers in life.

In order to gain insight into a different culture, you must be able to understand the state of mind, beliefs, desires and particularly emotions of others.  In order to understand another person, we need to try standing in their shoes. Through empathy we learn of how other people would like to be treated by us.

This journey and hopefully more life lessons continue as we move to Cinsta East…

Us packed up to move to Cinsta East…

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My Favorite Place in Port Elizabeth – King’s Beach

While we were engrossed in working in the townships, I found my most favorite place in Port Elizabeth.

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It was right across the street from where we were living.

Where we lived

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The street I had to cross to get to Kings Beach

King’s Beach, a 1.6km stretch of golden sand between the harbor wall and the neighboring Humewood Beach, is the perfect family beach, with plenty of space and well-maintained change rooms and ablution facilities.

Scenes I shot during my visits to King’s Beach

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One afternoon, I had lunch at Angelo’s, Afritalian Cafe and enjoyed a tasty pasta and a slice of Red Velvet cake that was to die for, while enjoying the stunning view on the Beach.

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Where I sat for lunch

I took time every morning before we were picked up to go to King’s Beach for a MUCH NEEDED Morning Meditation; to relieve stress and help me relax.  As any person with a Morning Routine knows, if you are consistent with your days and times, you will begin to meet friends that will miss you, when you don’t show.  And I did.  This is one of my Morning Friends I met.  During Spring break, I showed up for Morning Meditation late, because our pick up was later and on the first day he said, “You’re Late!”

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I am definitely going to miss the luxury of walking across the street to engage in Morning Meditation on the Beach.

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September 02 – First Day in Port Elizabeth

We arrived in Port Elizabeth on the evening of Sunday, September 01.  Beginning today and every day, we will be picked up by Calabash Tours, which is a small company that started as an entrepreneurial dream and became a reality through dedication, vision and commitment. Started in 1997 by local Port Elizabeth couple, Paul and Thandi Miedema, the company has grown from strength to strength.

 

Paul Miedema

We were picked up by Nelson Sebezela who was born and raised in Kwazakhele Township, Port Elizabeth. Nelson is a remarkable young man who has been studying towards his law degree while working with Calabash Tours. From a typical township family, Nelson has been instrumental in developing the tourist experience in the township.

 

Nelson Sebezela

 

First Nelson took us on a tour of Port Elizabeth, which is one of the largest cities in South Africa, situated in the Eastern Cape Province and nicknamed “The Friendly City” or “The Windy City.”  Port Elizabeth was founded as a town in 1820 to house British settlers as a way of strengthening the border region between the Cape Colony and the Xhosa. It now forms part of the Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Municipality which has a population of over 1.3 million.

The effects of the apartheid regime were not lost within Port Elizabeth. Forced relocation of the non-white population under the Group Areas Act began in 1962, causing various townships to be built. The whole of the South End district, being a prime real estate location, was forcibly depopulated and flattened in 1965; relocations continued until 1975.  Since the multiracial elections of 1994, Port Elizabeth has faced the same problems as the rest of South Africa, more especially lack of foreign and government investment, HIV/AIDS and a general increase in crime.

 

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Next, he took us to tour the two primary school for which we all would be doing internships;  W. B. Tshume and Charles Duna Primary Schools.

W. B. Tshume looks run down and is lacking in resources, but the staff appeared to be an incredible team of positive and pro-active individuals with hearts of gold.

Buyile C. Sali – Principal

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Charles Duna Primary School specializes in Ordinary, where a little over 1,000 children go each day to learn.

Nombulelo Sume, Principal

The school’s garden

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Below are pictures of the community in which the children that attend these two schools reside.

The community water pump; where everyone gets their water

Two little girls coming from fetching water at the pump. I kept help but thinking, “Why aren’t these cute little girls in school?”

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