I’ve never gone backpacking before and let alone go backpacking in the wilderness. I was definitely not ready for this experience. But I must say that in the end it was rewarding. It had its ups and downs. I can’t post any pictures yet, because they are on my camera and I’m using my phone to write this. I wasn’t sure I was going to make it through. The heat was unbearable and I was worried that the water we were drinking would upset my stomach.
On the first day of getting ready and backing for the mountains I was ready in a sense that I was trying to tell myself that I would survive this experience and love it. I had to keep telling myself that. As we finished pack our backpacks and divided the individual foods each person would carry and we were ready to start hiking to our campsite. It was an amazing feeling to feel the evening breeze (I love the weather in the evenings here) and hiking while Ayabonga, one of the South African social workers, started leading the group with singing. As the sunset went down, I took a deep breath and fell in love with the moment. The scenery, the sunset, the singing, the people I was with, it was a wonderful feeling.
It was the start of a difficult and yet beautiful journey. I’m a quiet introverted person, so it was difficult for me to be “on socialize mode” all the time that I was overwhelmed for the most part. I tend to get tired and stay silent which made it hard for me to talk during the mountain trip. At times I felt like I was not 100% at all that I was completely exhausted from the whole trip. During the backpacking trip, I was able to talk with Asanda one of the social workers from Goodwood DSD, and learned about the history of South Africa, Robben Island, and human trafficking. I learned about the hardships of families having to sell their children for labor trafficking/sex trafficking and the struggle of the education system. We shared similarities and differences between Cape Town and the U.S. And how social work looks like for each other. It was a great learning experience and definitely enjoyed learning about his family and his experiences in South Africa.
My favorite part during the backpack trip was the cave we visited that was about 7 minutes away from our campsite. It was a place where bushman people lived for so many years. There was still an artifact of art painted on the wall of the cave. During my solo time I decided to climb a rock and get as tall as I could to get a better view of the meadow. The sun was going down and the breeze started. I took this time to pray and reflect on the trip. There was so much to take in that it has taken me a little longer to process. I feel that once you’re in a field that fights for social justice and fight for human rights, that it’s difficult to enjoy a trip or even a vacation because I realize every time of how privileged I am in so many ways. I’m constantly thinking about how I may come across to others.