It’s been three days since I departed from South Africa and I’ve been thinking about my experience a lot. I’ve had some pretty wild dreams about South Africa and while I’m not sure what they are trying to tell me, I feel they are dreams of reminiscence because the experience was so rich. Overall, I had a pleasing experience in South Africa. I am still in awe about how friendly the people are there. I went into this experience with an open mind and I feel privileged to have witnessed the ethnic and cultural diversity of the beautiful people in South Africa. There is a struggle for social justice in all parts of the world and there are countless ways to tackle this issue, but just seeing how happy and free the South Africans are after apartheid is priceless. While there is still plenty of work to be done by the government as far as access to housing, education, utilities, and health care, just being able to cross borders, various communities, and having that autonomy is what South Africans enjoy the most.
Being an Indigenous person myself, I was able to go into this experience with some firsthand life experiences from growing up on the Navajo Nation reservation. I saw many similarities with the townships in South Africa and some of the communities on the reservation. There was also that forced relocation piece I got to hear about and witness with both groups of people. But with that, it brought a lot of mixed emotions during parts of the course, however, it made me smile to know that the Indigenous peoples of South Africa and America show great resilience and are working towards change for the betterment of the people. I will forever remember this wonderful experience… Ahe’hee’ and Aho’!!!