Sunday, 17 February 2013

Classes, Football Games, and Birthdays

After a simultaneously relaxing and tiring retreat (sleep time was minimal), we spent a lot of time napping and lounging about the pool in the village where we live. By Saturday evening though, we were ready to go out and take part in RAG "Reach out and Give." University of Pretoria holds the event, of which the first part involves resident students making floats. They parade the floats through the town, asking for donations which will go to a charity. When the night comes around it is time to party. We joined thousands of other Pretoria students in town for music and socializing. The night was long and so we took the following Sunday morning slow. People swam and hung out; a handful of students went to mass or church. For dinner we had a braai (a barbecue) in Kaleigh's honour, since it was her birthday.

With Monday came the first day of classes and the hard reality that we aren't just in South Africa to explore and volunteer. Our classes are really interesting and I am looking forward to learning from professors who may have perspectives different than I am used to. We are all taking two of the same classes which are aimed at expanding our knowledge and understanding of South Africa, its people, and its history. They will help guide us in our service and volunteering. For my other two classes I am taking a cultural anthropology class on South Africa and a Southern Africa archaeology class. I love the archaeology class so far, which is an ideal subject to be studying in a country such as South Africa which is rich with ancient archaeological sites and ties. At the end of the day we celebrated the birthday of one of our South African mentors, Mashuping.

After classes on Tuesday, our group went to a football (soccer) game between the Kaizer Chiefs and the Mamelodi Sundowns. The stadium was huge and packed, and the exhilarating energy of the crowd pulsed in time with the sound of drums that were played the entirety of the game. The game ended in a tie, 0-0, and while the Sundowns in particular played a great game, both teams proved to be talented.

Classes continued through the week, and Thursday evening we had our first class with Father Egan. His class is one of the two core, mostly a history class. It's unique because we'll have the class at the village each week, just the 14 of us (our other classes, including the other core module, has South African students in it). Friday was chill since most of us don't have class, and Saturday, too, was chill. Some people ran a 5k or 10k race in the morning. At dinner time we celebrated the birthday of Stephen, our RD/mentor.

Sunday we'll visit Jo'burg and explore, so good night and goodbye for now,

~ The Cloud Catcher

P. S. Sorry for the lack of photos.

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