Sunday, May 22, 2016

Week 2 Wrap Up

Hey all,

Sorry for the lack of updates. It's been a really trying week here, with just enough energy to read the chapters for the next day's class before passing out at the end of the day.

We had a great day last Sunday. It was a free day so we went wine and chocolate tasting I the Constantia wine lands around the back of table mountains. I'm not a wine person but it was pretty fun to hang out under the mountains with sweeping views of the vineyards and the bay with good company and good wine.

The travel Gods apparently stopped shining on us on Monday when someone found out the Megan's were in their own room. Long and unfortunate story short, they moved two girls into our room who made sure we knew that they were not only unhappy with being moved and now being on the top bunk, but that they perceived us as the reason. Not to have our trip ruined, and after many discussions with the director and her boss Megan and I were given a different room, with the thought that the class would be given the option to move into the now four empty beds if they wanted to spread out. So far no one has taken up the offer and we are back to a semi-peaceful and less threatening room.

This week was also exam week. Let's just say taking an exam in the TV room in a hostel as popular as ours after 5 pm is not an environment conducive to... well... thought in general. But fortunately it wasn't too hard of a test and we have one down and one to go.

Part of the exhaustion, actually probably most of it, was because we spent this week at an after school program for kids in the township area of Philipi this week. The kids were great and the program leader was amazing. I wow'd them all with my siSwati, which is essentially Zulu which is essentially Xosa which is what they spoke. Somethings were vastly different "Molo vs Sawubona" for hello but many were the same "unjani?" for how are you? They put on a wonderful little program for us at the end of the week and we brought them pizza (and then had to teach them how to eat it).

We spent Monday morning at the Heart of Cape Town Museum. Cape Town is where the first heart transplant was successfully done. Our tour guide was amazing, very charismatic and knowledgeable, and she lead us through the hospital into the old operating rooms that they have preserved and staged with wax figurines to replicate the procedure. It was a fascinating museum. It's so fun to come here for the fourth time and still do new things.

Wednesday we toured and spoke with a doctor of the Emavundleni HIV Research Center. It's a part of the Desmond Tutu HIV Research Foundation. This particular center focused on HIV vaccine research. They're currently studying the form of contraception that most women prefer, and which is the most effective against HIV. The idea is that they will combine your HIV vaccine and your birth control, to reduce stigma and to make it more manageable. It was a wonderful place with many people doing amazing things. It really was one of the highlights of the trip.

Unfortunately, with only three weeks and lots to do and see, the body wears down and it seems most of the group has been hit with a nasty cold - myself included. So today is catch up day: on the blog, on homework, and on sleep. Our last week in Cape Town begins tomorrow. We will spend most of tomorrow on a Professor P surprise exclusion. Let's hope this surprise is better than her last one. Then lots of class to catch up on before our final exam on Wednesday. Then, it'll be off to Swaziland! 🇸🇿

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