Today, the class toured Robben Island the boat ride was beautiful. Listening to a prisoner tell his story was very insightful and powerful. It was interesting to learn about political imprisonment due to disagreement with the government, as a black person. I never really understood why people were imprisoned for this reason. Hearing the story of our tour guide was very fascinating. He described empowerment among the inmates, and how they built each other up, rather than tearing each other apart while in prison. This made me really think about the importance of empowerment and a sense of community that these people had.
The township was so powerful. Being able to see first hand what these townships looked like, and how differently poverty looks in a different country was mind blowing. It was hard to wrap my mind around people building shacks, and not having running water or bathrooms. The government funded housing was not great either, most people do not have electricity in their informal housing/shacks. The women cooking sheep heads(smileys) outside, was definitely something I was not accustomed to. It made great pictures and I cannot wait to take more, but watching the women work with fire in the heat and no shade was difficult for me to understand.
The hostels people lived in, were also very interesting. There were up to three families per hostel and several people in one room, which was so small. I could not imagine sharing a room with my own kids, let alone a home with several other families. This gave me a new perspective. Seeing tiny kids running in the streets was something so different for me also. I am from a small community, and it is normal for children to be playing outside, but seeing so many children with very few adults around was different. I saw children getting ready to go into the road and one grabbed another when a car was coming, this was something that sat with me, as typically in the U.S. parents are the ones to be out doing the same thing, but here, these children looked out for one another.
Nauti talked about how children respected their elders and other adults could discipline kids and punish them. If their parents found out about another adult punishing them, they would get another punishment. Nauti said that growing up in a hostel was the best experience for him, because he had to live with other people, and he learned to communicate and get along with other people. He said he is able to strike up a conversation with anyone. I thought that was interesting, and how so many people in the U.S. get social anxiety, and are afraid to talk to new people.
One thing I struggled with on this day was coming back to the hostel and listening to a professor talk. We were so exhausted it had been such a long day. I thought it was ridiculous that we had to cram that much in a day or the whole trip for that matter. We get one day off for ourselves. I cannot even process anything because it is too fast. There definitely needs to be more time in between big emotional days to give ourselves time to think about what we experienced.